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Letters to the Editor

Establishment candidates. Are they really entitled to win?

If you’re like most of the nation, you can’t wait till this election year is over and you can get back to your pleasurable routines and civil discussions. Until then, both the national and local elections will continue to be like no other in our lifetime.   

You would have to be living under a rock not to notice that the local election between the City of Newport Beach Council incumbent Jeff Herdman and Newport Beach native Noah Blom has been one of the most heated elections our City has witnessed in a while. Herdman, who has been part of the public establishment for some time, working as a school administrator for most of his life and then City Councilman over the last 4 years, has certainly had an advantage over small business owner Noah Blom. Incumbents enjoy an overwhelming advantage in elections. They get to spend their term campaigning year-round, not just at election time. Incumbents get the honored place in the parade, the prime speaking position, the upper hand when it comes to raising money, usually ahead of time. 

Challengers have to fight for visibility and money. In fact, challengers are at a disadvantage at almost every point in a campaign. From building name recognition, to arranging meetings, to building credibility with editorial boards, donors and opinion leaders, they’re always trudging uphill. 

It’s not surprising that incumbents have a sense of entitlement when running for re-election, but incumbent Jeff Herdman has taken it to a whole new level. In recent encounters, Herdman has publicly chastised and scolded numerous residents in his district that chose to support someone else, as witnessed from a Balboa Island resident testimonial on Nextdoor who posted her more-than-uncomfortable encounter with Herdman in front of her own home. He has also been (accused of) ripping out his competitor’s campaign signs more than once, and dropping red colored notes off to neighbors while listing scandalous claims about his competitor, liken to the Scarlet Letter. 

Herdman’s establishment friends are all on board as well, such ex-councilmen turned re-development consultants/supporters Keith Curry, Ed Selich, John Noyes and Don Webb. They are casting unsubstantiated dark and mysterious stories about how Noah Blom, the restaurateur and small business owner, if elected, will change the character of Newport Beach forever. All the while these same individuals have been the architects of exactly this kind of change over the last decade! After all, Herdman promised Ed Selich he would re-develop Marine Ave. on Balboa Island, after Ed helped Herdman get elected, replacing Selich’s District 5 council seat in 2016. Even Lynn Lorenz, someone who claims not to be part of Herdman’s campaign, has helped Herdman by writing almost 50 letters to various editors this election cycle purporting, “Give Democracy a Chance!” 

Council members shouldn’t be elected just because they feel entitled to the position. Newport Beach city residents should look at the incumbent’s record and see exactly how they voted. Did they vote for issues and resolutions that residents deemed important and that they campaigned on? Voters should ask themselves, has significant progress been made in critical quality of life issues such as the John Wayne Airport expansion, traffic and the trend of “mansionizing” our City? And, finally, does the incumbent treat their constituents with respect and professionalism? If the answer is no, then maybe it’s time to elect a new voice and a new leader for District 5 Council. 

Jodi P. Bole,

Newport Beach

Weigand brings skill set to the forefront

Krista Weigand is the candidate in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) Area 6 that will move the district forward. As a former NMUSD parent, I’ve watched the local races closely. It’s a contentious time, filled with many challenges. In the school board landscape, many are spending a great deal of time complaining, but very few have stepped up with a fresh and constructive approach to leadership. We need new Board members who can assess what’s working and what’s not, who are bright and creative, and who truly understand healthy and effective governance.

Krista has the skills to work with budgets, the commitment to hold people accountable, and the insistence that the school district must function at the highest level. She will embrace our community with clear and frequent communication, and most importantly, she will make her decisions based solely on what is in the best interest of our students. 

Please join me in supporting Krista Weigand for NMUSD Area 6.

Ruth Sanchez Kobayashi

Newport Beach

Nancy is running because Newport needs her involvement

I write to you today about my partner Nancy Scarbrough. I have known Nancy for nearly twenty years, and I believe her experience as a woman small business owner, mother, grandmother and community activist make her ideally suited to be elected to the Newport Beach City Council.

When she became involved in city business a few years back it was with the desire to learn, help, and get off the sidelines. Increasingly residents and local business owners sought her opinion on things related to Newport Beach, and more recently the relationship between the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and the City.

Several months ago, some involved community members came to our home to urge Nancy to run for City Council. This was born out of frustration with the Team Newport, now Team Will, voting block that continuously voted against the desires of the residents and in favor of their large campaign donors. Nancy was reluctant as her community involvement was not for political gain. 

The Ensign tree mess was the final straw in her decision to run. When District 2 councilmember Avery and District 3 councilmember Duffield failed to show up or comment publicly about the debacle, Nancy was pushed over the line. Ensign straddles both districts. An involved councilmember would have been aware of what was unfolding. The residents and parents sure knew well in advance what was coming. 

Nancy and I have attended many City committee and related meetings over the last few years. Joy Brenner, Diane Dixon and Jeff Herdman are the few councilmembers who attend committee meetings that they are not on. This is important as a councilmember is elected at large and should have a broad understanding of issues facing the entire city. Without direct involvement a councilmember relies on whatever information the committee members choose to report. My experience has shown me that direct involvement provides a more accurate representation of what occurred. 

Nancy has been to these meetings and has more direct knowledge than the council majority on issues facing Newport residents and local businesses. I believe Nancy Scarbrough deserves your vote for City Council on November 3rd.  Please help take back Newport for the locals. 

Nancy Scarbrough is Involved, Informed and Independent. See more at: www.nancyfornewport.com or @nancyfornewport on social media.

Charles Klobe

Newport Beach

Candidate’s actions make for questionable character

Recently one candidate running for re-election (seeking the District 5 City Council seat) was caught using the City of Newport Beach’s official logo in his online campaign materials. Only after this inappropriate conduct was brought to the attention of the Newport Beach City Attorney did this rogue candidate remove the official City logo from his online campaign materials. Ironically the candidate had the following quote appear over the City’s proprietary seal: “solid character will reflect in consistent behavior, while poor character will seek to hide behind deceptive words and actions.”

This same candidate was (reportedly) spotted by Island residents pulling up and removing an opponent’s political sign near the Balboa Island Bridge.

This misconduct is usually outsourced to high school students who are paid by the hour and frankly don’t know any better. Truth be told, it’s actually a serious offense to remove political signs – unless of course you are hired by the City to clean up the many signs found in medians and other green spaces around our villages during election season.

And most recently (despite prior warnings from the FPPC and the City) admonishing this candidate not to use City resources when campaigning for office, a recent public records request shows this candidate seeking to engage in the “dark arts” practice known as “ballot harvesting.” 

For those not familiar with the topic, while it may be October (Harvest Season), harvesting ballots is considered a big “no-no,” especially by candidates running for election. This practice is generally frowned upon and viewed as highly questionable because it involves outreach to voters who for whatever reason are unable to get to the polls, are undecided about how they intend to vote, or simply have not made it to the ballot box yet. Offering voters assistance in completing and returning their ballots carries with it a host of obvious risks and concerns which only further erodes our faith in the democratic process.  

Again, this would normally be something farmed out to the young and uninformed. But come to find a sitting council member seeking re-election, attempting to engage in this practice, using his official City e-mail address no less, well that is just down-right scary – even during Halloween!

For those unsure what to make of these rather questionable practices during election season – I will say: If you can’t trust a sitting council member to play by the rules, then he really should not be re-elected on that basis alone; never mind his poor record on airport noise (general aviation expansion), short-term lodging, boardwalk closures, the homeless, dueling merchant associations in his backyard, and a cozy relationship with developers whose sights seem set on redeveloping Marine Ave. and building McMansions in our quaint villages.

That is why I will be voting for NOAH this Fall.

Jim Moloney

Balboa Island 

Peters’ experience counts in this school board election

This is a school board election in which experience matters. Amy Peters is the candidate with the experience to help steer our district toward opening all grades in our district to offer our children the full educational experience that they deserve.

I met Amy Peters in 2004 when she was my oldest son’s first preschool teacher. She shepherded the children through their first year of early education with kindness and respect. 

I had no idea that she was a warrior for our children until Swun Math was introduced to our district. Amy and her husband Peter fought alongside other informed parents to hold Superintendent Navarro and the Board responsible for this disastrous math program. The Peters’ unrelenting focus on NMUSD’s math program led to the district dropping this program and adopting one that was more effective at teaching math.

Amy ran for school board in 2016, hoping to unseat the incumbent. Even though that run was unsuccessful, she continued to advocate for the students of our district, both on campuses and attending nearly every school board meeting over the past four years. She understands the responsibilities of the superintendent and his administration, and the role of the board in terms of guiding the district and being sure that the district administration is serving the students. She understands the enrollment trends, the finances of the district, the opportunities for additional federal and state funding programs that are available, and which our district has failed to utilize, and the politics of the district. She knows everyone at the district office on a first name basis and corresponds with most of them frequently. She also has close relationships with nearly everyone from principals to teachers to janitors on her local campuses and in this way is able to get accurate information on what is happening at the schools.

Our new school board representative will be stepping into a leadership role in a district that has been wagging the dog for the last decade. We need to elect someone who already understands the landscape and the immediate actionable steps that can be taken to expedite our children returning to the educational experience they deserve. 

We need to elect a board member who will hold the district administration accountable. We need experience. We need to elect Amy Peters.

Teryn Clarke MD

Newport Beach

Not the time to go back

We cannot afford to go back to the ways of Harley Rouda’s predecessor, Congressman (Dana) Rohrabacher, a “no action” representative. Harley’s opponent, Michelle Steel, is the same kind of “no action” politician. Her idea of a platform is to just say “no to taxes”. The Orange County Register says that she is too focused on Republican talking points to take on the many needs of the 48th District.

Harley Rouda is just the opposite. Since he was elected in 2018, he has been hustling all around his district to solve the many problems that years of inaction have created – climate change issues, small business help, and the restoration of state and local tax deductions that were eliminated by the federal government in 2017, to name a few. In the last year, he has fought tenaciously to alter the effect of the pandemic on small businesses. He was able to secure millions of dollars for local small businesses in Orange County. 

Not afraid to cross the aisle, Harley has worked with Republicans to get important legislation passed in Congress. His accomplishments are numerous. Harley has kept very close to his constituency, having interacted with more than 1,000 of his constituents in the 48th District. It would be difficult to find a congressional member who has worked harder than Harley. Once re-elected, his focus will be on helping to restore the economy of the 48th.  

He is quoted as saying, “The most important thing we can do to get our economy back on its feet is to help our local small businesses.” A business owner himself, he knows about the loss suffered by businesses during the pandemic. He has many additional problems left unresolved that he would like at least two more years to complete.

Dorothy Kraus

Newport Beach

Concern for the importance of this election

We are getting down to the wire...I have never been as concerned about elections as I am this year. Our choices, more than ever, will define who we are and what we envision for the future. I know many people feel as I do and are getting more involved as a result. Doing so gives citizens a more positive impression of democracy. While I was working, I only had the time and energy to get involved in presidential elections, but since retirement all levels have interested me.

In all honesty, I must say that I have great fear for our country if we make the wrong choices this year. I hope for a government with representatives that are optimistic about democracy, want to solve people-based problems, and do not put impediments in front of progress. I also want representatives who show concern for their constituents, have positive outlooks, and are honest about their actions. We have too many “me-first” candidates and naysayers at all levels.

The following candidates are bright, successful and hard working. For that reason at the local level, I am voting for Nancy Scarbrough. To cite an unusual parallel experience: if you are shopping for something of quality and you find a good deal to buy, is how you can look upon choosing to vote for Nancy. It is not often that you are going to find someone so right for the job of city council as Nancy.

As her longtime partner Charles remarked to me recently, “if people just get to meet and talk to Nancy, they will want to vote for her.”

Another person who just seems like a natural choice for city council is Jeff Herdman. With his familiarity of Newport Beach after spending most of his life here, his excellent education and verbal skills, Jeff just comes across as a natural fit for the job as well. Because he is retired, he is able to devote a lot of time to his district and the city in general. His list of accomplishments during his first term is extremely impressive. I am definitely voting for him.

Harley Rouda and Cottie Petrie-Norris became our representatives in Washington and Sacramento, respectively, in 2018. They both have done remarkable jobs of putting the 48th Congressional District and the 74th California Assembly District back in action. Harley’s dynamic personality and Cottie’s personable demeanor have made them very popular and, additionally, they are gifted problem solvers for their constituents. As former business people, they both are involved in helping the small businesses who have suffered so much during COVID. Also among many other issues, they are dealing with the problems that climate change has wrought in our coastal cities. 

I have worked substantially for the election and/or re-election of each of these four candidates because I feel that they possess those special qualities that we so need in leadership.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Coyote attacks dog in Bonita Canyon, owner gets lucky with “kick”

This morning (Tuesday, Oct. 27) at 7:30 a.m. I was in the front of our home in Bonita Canyon with our little two-year-old Maltese, Uma, on the lawn in front of the house. A medium to large sized coyote sprang from behind a parked car in the street and grabbed Uma in his/her jaws. I fortunately connected with a kick to its tail end and he dropped Uma and retreated, but just slightly, to the street, carefully scanning the opportunity. 

I brought Uma in, grabbed a handy golf club and ran out. The coyote was (now) on our lawn and, with the help of a kind young female neighbor, we chased the coyote back into the deep and lengthy heavy brush that runs along the 73 and borders Bonita Canyon on the east side. 

Clearly, this coyote was driven by the fires, was hungry and desperate. We haven’t seen a coyote in the neighborhood for quite some time and not one as bold and desperate as this. 

Thought it might help to notify all homeowners that the fires have driven and will drive wildlife out of their normal habitat and into the residential areas, and to take extra precautions with pets and small children.  

David C. Grant 

Newport Beach

 

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