After one term, Councilman Jeff Herdman says goodbye to Newport Beach City Council, staff — but, not forever

Councilman Jeff Herdman had his last city council meeting this Tuesday.
Councilman Jeff Herdman had his last Newport Beach City Council meeting this Tuesday. He served one term and hopes to continue to be involved in the city going forward.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Tuesday night was Councilman Jeff Herdman’s last meeting — on the Newport Beach City Council dais, at least.

Herdman stepped down Tuesday after serving one term on the City Council. He was elected in 2016. Herdman ran against businessman and activist Mike Glenn and businessman Lee Lowrey to replace termed-out Councilman Ed Selich. His seat, which represents the residents on Balboa Island, was up for re-election this election cycle.

Herdman lost to newcomer and restaurateur Noah Blom. Data from the Orange County Registrar’s Office now states that Blom took about 59.61% of the votes. Herdman came in with about 40.39%.

Though he is exiting from his formal position on City Council, Herdman said Wednesday that he plans on continuing to be involved in city affairs where he’s able to as a resident.

Jeff Herdman addresses questions during a West Newport Beach Assn. council candidate forum.
Jeff Herdman addresses questions during a West Newport Beach Assn. council candidate forum at Marina Park in Newport Beach in 2016.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

“It’s been a privilege and I really mean that. It’s not just words that I’m saying. I really consider it to have been a privilege to represent the people of Newport Beach and that’s all I have tried to do,” Herdman said. “That’s it, you know. That’s been my whole motivation.”

“I’m just very, very saddened that I won’t be able to continue with this work. I absolutely love serving on council, but at least I got to do it,” Herdman said. “I got to do it for four years.”

Herdman said, of his time on City Council, that one of his greatest accomplishments was working with city staff on a plan to replace infrastructure on Balboa Island.

Since 2017, Balboa Island’s received a new bridge connecting the main and “little” portions, seawall caps, a new water main and dredging of the northerly stretch of the Grand Canal. Residents also approved the undergrounding of utilities on the island’s west side.

Newport Beach plans to partner with Costa Mesa on the latter’s 70-bed homeless bridge shelter. Under the agreement, Newport Beach will have exclusive access to 20 temporary shelter beds for five years.

“Our infrastructure is, in some cases, a hundred years old here on Balboa Island and the foundation for keeping property values up is keeping things in good shape, especially the infrastructure,” Herdman said, “and I’m very proud to have worked on that with staff and presented it to the island community and had it accepted by them and understood by them.”

One of his more fun accomplishments, he said, was the installation of the swim platform at Ruby Beach, which he said was used extensively this past summer by both adults and kids.

Jeff Herdman and his wife, Sally, ride in the Balboa Island Parade in 2015.
Jeff Herdman, right, and his wife, Sally, ride in the Balboa Island Parade in 2015.
(File Photo)

He was proud of his work on the seawall extension on Balboa Island, the Big Canyon Restoration Project and, more recently, increased regulation of short-term rentals in Newport Beach. Then comes the trash wheel project, the cottage preservation ordinance and the focus of his last four years on City Council — the Aviation Committee.

On Tuesday night, council members and residents thanked Herdman for his work with the city and its residents. Many noted the Aviation Committee, which he was the chairman of.

“My seatmate up here — I wasn’t expecting to be doing this on today’s meeting or any time this year, so it’s with gratitude,” said Councilwoman Diane Dixon, turning to Herdman behind the plexiglass partition. “I’m grateful to have served with you Jeff.”

“You have put your heart and soul, not only into aviation-related issues, but to the city of Newport Beach. I will miss you,” Dixon added. “It’s been an honor to serve with you and I know we’ll see you around and maybe you’ll be standing over there at the lectern, giving us good advice ... This next chapter, whatever you do, we are all better for it and I know you will continue to make a difference in your life.”

The Newport Beach Restaurant Assn. confirmed Tuesday that Newport Beach Restaurant Week would be postponed to this upcoming spring.

Councilman Kevin Muldoon said he’s never seen many people call in favor of someone, jokingly adding that, once elected, that council members are able to use “the honorable” — “I expect your stationery is still going to say the Honorable Jeff Herdman.”

Muldoon said he looked forward to seeing Herdman out in the community and being treated with “more respect than ever.”

Susan Mills and fellow co-chair Jeff Herdman in front of the 2014 Holiday Home Tour and Raffle poster.
Susan Mills, left, and fellow co-chair Jeff Herdman in front of the 2014 Holiday Home Tour and Raffle poster at the Balboa Island Museum.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Councilman Brad Avery thanked Herdman for his friendship while on the City Council together and just socially. Avery said he admired Herdman’s commitment to the city and that his departure from the dais was a loss for the City Council and a gain for the community.

“There’s a lot more to be done off council than there is to be done on council. That’s for sure. I think we all know that, so I just wish you all the best and you’re not going anywhere. I’ll be seeing you around and I look forward to it,” Avery said.

Mayor Will O’Neill also thanked Herdman for serving and his family, adding that the two should go out to meet for coffee.

Elizabeth Eddy, a professional soccer player, recorded an Instagram stories video to raise awareness for youth homelessness in Orange County.

Councilwoman Joy Brenner thanked Herdman for his passion for the community and that there’s been no personal gain in doing so.

“I know it’s only been because you and I have spent the majority of our lives here and we love this place and we only want it to be better. I could see that. Even when you and I disagreed, I always knew you were coming from a place of fairness and of deliberation,” Brenner said. “That you thought long and hard about every decision you made. You were fair and you were open-minded.”

Herdman said he plans to stay involved in city affairs, but added that he and his wife, Sally, are working on planning out some trips. The two recently returned from a trip to Texas to visit their relatives and a granddaughter that attends Texas Christian University.

“Life goes on and I’m very fortunate to have a very terrific, loving, close family and the best partner and wife in the whole world who served with me,” Herdman said.

Councilman Jeff Herdman had his last city council meeting this Tuesday.
Councilman Jeff Herdman at his home on Balboa Island.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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