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Mansoor weighs council run, Greer jumps in

What former Costa Mesa mayor and assemblyman's wife gave birth in a car?

And what political insider is running for Newport City Council?

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First, baby news!

Former Assemblyman Allan Mansoor and wife, Janniffer, became proud parents of a baby boy born six weeks ago under some unusual circumstances.

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When Joshua Dayton was ready to make his debut into the world, the Mansoors jumped in their car and headed to South Coast Midwifery in Irvine.

At the 405 and Bristol Street, Janniffer's water broke.

Mansoor assured his wife they'd reach the birthing center in time, but as they approached the Sand Canyon exit, the baby was crowning.

"As we pulled into the parking space in front of the midwifery, I thought we made it by the skin of our teeth," says Mansoor.

But as he walked around to his wife's side of the car and opened the door, "Out came Joshua Dayton on the seat."

The midwives and assistant ran out and took control of the situation.

"Everything was great," Mansoor reports.

The whole experience led to the couple's inspiration in naming their new baby after the Daytona 500.

"We were racing down the freeway, and Joshua Dayton beat me to the finish line," says Janniffer.

The couple's 2-year-old daughter, Avalon Jane, now has a new baby brother, and the family is doing great.

Mansoor tells me after losing the last election for Orange County supervisor in 2014, he focused on his growing family, a new career path and shedding 25 pounds.

"I took a sales job with a family owned organic farm," he says. "I am so incredibly happy with it, and it is working out very well."

So is politics totally off the table?

"I will not rule out a future run for office," he tells me, admitting he's "thinking about City Council, but time will tell."

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Newport Beach race heats up

One man for whom politics is definitely on the table is Newport attorney Phil Greer, whose wife, Arlene, serves as chairwoman of Newport's arts commission.

Greer's entering the Newport council race this week, vying for termed-out Councilman Keith Curry's District 7 seat.

What's interesting about Greer is that he's a political-insider-turned-politician.

Specializing in business and political law, Greer's clients have included former O.C. Treasurer-Tax Collector Chriss Street, Sen. Pat Bates, and former Assemblymen Chris Norby and Bill Campbell.

Greer was also then-Sen. Janet Nguyen's legal eagle when she faced a recount running for O.C. supervisor in 2007.

In 2007 the L.A. Times wrote "Greer's emergence as the GOP's go-to guy in election matters was greatly aided by John Lewis, a former Republican state senator and influential political consultant in Orange County."

Greer's been disciplined twice by the state Bar Association, but hey, with his pedigree, he'll be on an even playing field in the messy arena of Newport politics.

He also has the political savvy and connections on county and state levels, which could be helpful to Newport.

And as a political insider, I'm guessing he knows where the proverbial "bodies are buried," making him a formidable opponent.

He's hired Chris Jones as his political consultant.

I enjoyed my conversation with Greer. He's quick, funny and sharp.

Living in Newport for more than 20 years, he says, "It's time to give back."

Though a great sound bite, my sense is he feels the city's moving in a troubling direction. He hinted as much, saying he decided to run after attending the last mayor's dinner.

"If' you're going to be a member of the City Council, there should be sand between your toes and seaweed in the back of your car," he quips. "Otherwise, you don't understand Newport."

Greer's troubled by those who move here to run for office.

"These people haven't raised their kids here; they have no civic memory," he says.

Greer says they don't understand history and local nuance — like the fire rings and the unofficial dog beach.

"I grew up with them," he says. "It's part of our history and tradition."

Greer points to a divide in philosophies on the current council, and says he understands what it takes "to bring people with different opinions to compromise and common ground. That's what I do for a living."

Greer and I talked about issues close to his heart: dredging, sea walls, the arts, the West Side Community Center and spot zoning in and around Fashion Island, which he says needs to be re-evaluated, considering the wider impacts on the community.

With Greer's entry into this race, things just got a lot more interesting.

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BARBARA VENEZIA lives in Newport Beach. She can be reached at bvontv1@gmail.com. Listen to her weekly radio segment on "Sunday Brunch with Tom and Lynn" from 11 a.m. to noon on KOCI/101.5 FM.

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