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Letters to the Editor

Votes to approve car wash are running on empty

On behalf of the Canyon Mesa community in Big Canyon, we would like to express our gratitude to Mayor Avery, Councilpersons Muldoon and Duffy, Councilpersons Dixon and Brenner for the courageous stance they took at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, in listening to the people and voting No on the proposed General Plan Amendment to allow a car wash to be added to the already over-utilized Shell Station at 1600 Jamboree Road. 

Mr. O’Neill tried his best three different times to intimidate the other members of the Council, by saying there was no basis to deny the application and that it complied with all zoning ordinances and that the applicant’s sound study proved there would be no noise impact from the car wash. 

The project doesn’t comply with all city ordinances in that it cannot fit on the property without a reduction of 50 percent in the required setback, which would mean building it 15 feet closer to our properties, which didn’t seem to even register with Mr. O’Neill or our newly elected Councilman in District 5, Mr. Blom. 

While I understand Councilperson Blom represents both the residents and businesses in his District, he did not serve the residents of Big Canyon well on his first vote in his district. 

Contrary to what Mr. Blom indicated in his comments Tuesday night, this project does not comply with all the City ordinances. Perhaps over time he will better learn the rules? 

I trust that in the future Councilperson Blom will be able to review the needs of the residents in his District with a greater perspective. 

Gerald A. Giannini 

Treasurer, Director

Big Canyon Community Association

Treasurer, Director 

Canyon Mesa Community Association

Shell site is overbuilt and not deserving of variance

For the past five years the owner of the Shell gas station on Jamboree and San Joaquin has fought to build a car wash on an already overbuilt site. This owner of 14 gas stations has sought variance after variance to expand his gas bays and mini market on an already overdeveloped corner. Now he wants a car wash.

Tuesday night, the majority of the City Council sided with the adversely impacted residents of a neighborhood 500 feet away. Kudos and thanks to Duffield, Brenner, Dixon, Avery and Muldoon who clearly understand the impact on our community.

As for O’Neill…he might as well have been carrying Rosansky’s jacket. Three separate times he informed the council that there was no basis for denial. Really? 

The gas station owner was requiring a 50 percent reduction in the setback and a change to the General Plan!

And Mr. Blom, new to the Council, met with the homeowners and was very sympathetic to their plight and then voted FOR the variance. Nice going Blom, but not a good way to impress your new constituents. 

O’Neill and Blom forget they are in Newport Beach and not in the swamp of D.C. Thanks to the Fab 5 on the City Council, residents are still heard in Newport.

Assemblywoman Marilyn Brewer, ret.

Newport Beach

With patience, and some understanding, the Othena vaccination experience worked

We first heard about Othena several weeks ago. This was before we had heard (anything) about the app. We tried setting up accounts from separate iPads using Safari but were not able to. We then tried creating accounts on separate PCs by going to the Othena website using Microsoft Edge and were able to create accounts easily. However, we did not receive any confirmation email from this action.

A week or more later, I read about the Othena app on social media. We both downloaded the app to separate iPhones and iPads. Using a different email address for both of us, we created new accounts on the app. We each received confirmation emails to the second email addresses. 

More time went by with fruitless logins trying to set up an appointment without any luck. I was at a city meeting where Second District staff person Tim Whitacre spoke representing the County and he gave out a phone number to call for help. I called the number and got a person fairly quickly. The person said I would receive an email when my place in line was ready. They also suggested that I watch my junk email and if the app or online login asked to change the password that I do it. 

About 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 22, Charles, my partner, received an email to the first email address from Othena. It said he could log on and make an appointment. I was furious (ha, ha) with him for getting the email first. He logged in successfully from a PC and was given the choice of Disneyland or Soka University. He chose Disneyland at 10:30 a.m. the next day (Saturday, Jan. 23).

For the next 15 minutes his life was hell because I was fuming about being left out of the vaccination experience! Fifteen minutes later, at 8:45 p.m., I, too, received the same Othena email notification. I logged in and I was given the same venue choices and the first available time of 10:45 a.m., also for the next day. The household returned to normal.

Following that, our experience arriving, standing in the rain, and the procedure was great. By the time we left the waiting area, post vaccination, we both had email on our phones from Othena for a follow-up appointment for the second dose. 

If I were to guess I would say that the app took qualified folks in the order they signed up. 

I hope this helps give folks some hope. Othena seems to be a frustrating experience, but in our case, it worked out with a little patience, which is not easy to come by these days, at least for me. 

Nancy Scarbrough

Newport Beach