Back to Top

Letter to the Editor:

Stop Playing Games at Taxpayer Expense

Once again, Mayor Duffield and Mayor Pro-Tem O’Neill, in a desperate attempt to find something, anything, to serve as a record to run on, have proposed an unnecessary and foolish prohibition to using city resources to advocate for city and county ballot measures. This of course is already prohibited by state law and has been so for many years.

Much like the misguided effort to refuse our gas tax funds, this proposal is fraught with unintended consequences.

For example, when our local transportation tax measure, Measure M, was reauthorized in 2006, Newport Beach, like every other city in Orange County, was represented by elected officials and staff in working groups leading up to the drafting of the ballot measure to ensure that local priorities were considered and included in the measure. This policy would preclude the representation of Newport Beach in the preparation of any extension of our local transportation funding source and likely result in our city losing valuable street and road improvement funds. Measure M has been used to improve our traffic signals, repair our roads, provide a needed bridge over Superior at Sunset Ridge Park and even fund our summer bus service on the Peninsula.

Secondly, we all know that any tax increase must be voted on and none is projected to be submitted to the voters. Where this policy may come into play, however, is in the case of a natural disaster. Laguna Beach was required to go to the voters to seek special tax funding to make emergency repairs to Bluebird Canyon after a catastrophic landslide. This policy would prohibit the city from even explaining the need for special funding to the voters and would delay emergency improvements. Consider what would happen if we had a Tsunami, canyon fire or earthquake.

Third, the city spent millions in the 1990s in indirect support of the three ballot measures related to moving the airport to El Toro. Since taxes are part of any airport plan, this policy could have prevented advocacy on one of the most important issues to city residents.

Ironically, the only recent use of city resources to advocate on tax issues was the August 31, 2017 council meeting hastily called by Team Newport to reverse themselves on their misguided refusal to accept our own gas tax funds. The resolution included a statement of city opposition to SB1, the state gas tax bill and thus engaged in advocacy.  

Let’s stop playing political games and wasting tax dollars on empty gestures such as this.

Keith Curry, Former Mayor 

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

“Lucky us” because we spent our youth in CdM

Nancy Gardner’s article brought back wonderful memories of my youth in Corona del Mar. My younger sister and I, seven and ten, lived in a duplex apartment at 514 Avocado in 1950 with our mother. Dad was in the army in Korea, and Mother worked at the iconic Merle’s Drive In as a car hop to make ends meet.

Mom and Dad at Merles Drive In

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Gayle Jones

Gayle Jones’ Mom and Dad at Merle’s Drive In, where her mother worked as a car hop

Merle’s site is now Corona del Mar Plaza, with magnificent Fashion Island on a hill to the north. (As chance would have it, my company built the Plaza for The Irvine Company in 1999.)

Merles Drive In

Click on photo for a larger image

The iconic Merle’s Drive In, where Corona del Mar Plaza is now situated

Besides jumping off rocks into Newport Bay in China Cove, our playground was a field across from our Avocado duplex. We ran up and down the ravines in summer and made Christmas tree forts in winter. We also rented horses by the hour from the stables in the middle of the field. Mother was working, and we were on our own, always feeling safe. Lucky us. The stables moved to the south of Cameo Shores when the residential community, Irvine Terrace, was developed. Remarkably, our duplex still stands; it’s even the same color.   

514 Avocado home

The 514 Avocado Avenue duplex in Corona del Mar, where Gayle Jones grew up, still stands today and is the same color

On Saturdays, my sister and I would have lunch at our favorite coffee shop before we made our way to the Port Theater for a matinee. A nice lady behind the counter took our melted cheese sandwich and chocolate shake order, and her husband cooked our delicious lunch. Of course, this was Audrey and John McIntosh’s Snack Shop. Lucky us.

The Snack Shop Group was a restaurant empire in Orange County when my husband and I moved to Shore Cliffs in 1976. The McIntoshes were neighbors and it was fun sharing stories of “old” Corona del Mar with Audrey. My husband, Roy, shared the love of fishing with John. We also visited with Nancy’s father, Judge Gardner, on our walks around Shore Cliffs. Lucky us. 

Thank you, Nancy Gardner and the talented folks at StuNews, for keeping Newport Beach residents entertained and informed. I never miss an issue.


Gayle (Willinger) Jones

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Opposed to any large development

I totally oppose your view regarding the Koll Residences. I totally oppose your view regarding developer fees making this or any large development OK.

I’ve been a resident of Newport Beach for 47+ years. I’m not against more houses, more buildings, more development. But I am against large developments. In the case of the three 15-story Koll Residences, this is too large of a project. It doesn’t fit the General Plan. It is too tall and too dense.

To read your article in StuNews that Developer Fees are needed, then this large development is fine. A grin and bear it.

I totally disagree.

This project will generate several million dollars in developer fees. But we’ll have this project for maybe a hundred years…we’ll have this project’s traffic and the imprint that its residents make on our city.

My friends and I feel you are incorrect and you do a disservice to your paper in taking a stand that is so unrepresentative of the citizens of Newport Beach.

Thanks for listening,

Jo Carol Hunter

Newport Beach

Reader shares “wanted” sour cream recipe

Several issues ago, we published one of Nancy Gardner’s always entertaining columns. One reader, Jamie McGrew, wrote afterwards saying, “Your mention of the Sour Cream salad dressing, nearly brought tears to my eyes; and it sure as heck re-ignited my taste buds just recalling its great flavor. I can’t even recall the countless times I’ve tried to re-create it at home. If you have any clues about that sour cream dressing recipe, please advise.”

Well Jamie, today’s your lucky day. “I saw this letter (Jamie’s) and after I resolved a few reservations, I decided to send it. Hope it makes a few people happy,” Leslie Betz.

I worked for the Snack Shop/Far West Services between 1962 and 1966. I started as a dishwasher in the Huntington Beach restaurant, No. 8. I was also a bus boy, host, and eventually a cook. I worked in the Coco’s on 17th Street and Harbor at Adams. I also worked at the Reuben E. Lee as a kitchen steward. 

While at Coco’s, one of my duties was making the sour cream and house dressing. The dressing was made in five-gallon buckets. I reduced the recipe down to about a quart.

There is a small group of former Snack Shop employees who get together here in OC at least twice a year. At one of our dinners, I whipped up a batch and put the dressing in Mason jars to give everyone a sample. Everybody remembered the dressing and said it was a great replica.  

Snack Shop sour cream salad dressing

1 1/4 cup good mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup butter milk

2/3 cup milk

1 T garlic salt

1/4 t pepper

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

3T white wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients and put in refrigerator for 24 hours. The next day, it will be thicker and may need thinning with more buttermilk. 

Enjoy this great recipe. I feel okay to share it with those who remember a great company. It was a great place to work while going to college.

Leslie Betz 

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Help in the name of sour cream salad dressing

Nancy Gardner: Thank you for the great Snack Shop/John McIntosh article.

It certainly brought back cherished memories. 

Your mention of the sour cream salad dressing nearly brought tears to my eyes; and, it sure as heck reignited my taste buds just recalling its great flavor. I can’t even recall the countless times I’ve tried to recreate it at home, all with good but not GREAT results.

I would give big bucks (at least $10!) to know how to make that dressing. And, who could forget the Nui-Nui Burger, though I think that came later; Hurley Bell, the Arches, we’re great too, Bob Batchelor at the Arches, just superb; and don’t forget the Chef’s Inn, now Banderas.

B-t-w, my father David McGrew, was quite a fan of your father; he always remarked well about him at the dinner table, after he had spent a day in Santa Ana going through court house records.

If you have any clues about that sour cream dressing recipe, please advise. Thanks again.

Best regards.

Jamie McGrew

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Investigation should be handled by DA’s office

I agree with the opinion of Lynn Swain expressed in her letter about the Newport Beach City Council approving of the expenditure of staff time and taxpayer funds to investigate the recall effort of Scott Peotter. The Orange County District Attorney’s office is the agency best suited for the job. A duplicate of the DA’s investigation would not only be costly and time-consuming but could appear by many to be politically motivated. I would think also that citizens might feel that such an investigation is a thinly veiled attempt by council members to discourage future recall efforts, thus depriving them of one of their constitutional rights.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach 

Letter to the Editor:

Protecting integrity of elections is foundation of democracy

Mr. McCaffrey’s enthusiasm for retaliation against the committee who sought to recall “his” councilman Scott Peotter is clouding his logic. He appears to be suggesting that we knew that a paid professional circulator had forged signatures and encouraged this practice. May I point out that the recall failed by a miniscule number of signatures (106) and that the forged signatures clearly contributed to that failure? If we had known about it, we would have stopped it AND submitted 107 more signatures to qualify the recall. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous. 

We encourage the District Attorney’s investigation and will assist in any way we can. On the other hand, the City Council’s desire to see our private emails and confidential invoices is nothing more than political payback by Peotter, who clearly is orchestrating this witch-hunt. The District Attorney is the appropriate person to conduct this investigation and we look forward to supporting his results.

Lynn Swain

Newport Beach

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.