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Mailbag: Praising the dedication of healthcare workers

Erma Zins and Ron Goble work in the ER department at Placentia-Linda Hospital.
Erma Zins and Ron Goble work in the ER department at Placentia-Linda Hospital. A reader writes in praise of nurses during the coronavirus pandemic.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Re: How Placentia-Linda Hospital nurses forge through a night shift, TimesOC, Aug. 30, I have the privilege of teaching aspiring nurses at West Coast University. Though I am not a nurse, I teach in the general education department of the university.

This department offers courses in English, mathematics, cultural pluralism and critical thinking. Such an array of classes empowers the university to offer a bachelor’s of science in nursing, as well as degrees in other areas of healthcare.

In my career as a college teacher, from a state university, to not-for-profit universities, to for-profit institutes of higher education, I have never encountered more dedicated faculty members, administrators, staff and students as I have at this mission-driven university.

If my experience at WCU is generally indicative of those who are entering the healthcare profession, we are indeed in good, caring hands with people who are willing and will one day be prepared to endure the rigors of working on the front lines of patient care.

Ben Miles
Huntington Beach

Supporting Scarbrough

If you have attended any civic meetings in Newport Beach in the last several years, you may have seen Nancy Scarbrough in attendance. There is hardly an issue involving city government that Nancy has not had on her radar, most often as an active participant.

From her initial involvement in Still Protecting Our Newport activities, which focused on environmental issues such as the bay, Banning Ranch, short-term lodging, the SPON Policy and Budget Committees and the Good Neighbor Policy Committee, she has branched out to many different areas of concern in our community.

She regularly attends City Council meetings and has attended or viewed the live feed of most Planning Commission meetings. And perhaps most impressively, she has attended every town hall meeting of council members Joy Brenner, Diane Dixon and Jeff Herdman, even though they do not represent her district. She was one of three people who regularly attended the office hours of Will O’Neill until they were postponed.

When asked about her biggest concern in dealing with civic matters, at the top of Nancy’s list is the Housing Element Update Advisory Committee that began before the pandemic. But to her consternation, despite its urgency as an issue, no one is talking about it.

Where Nancy finds time to get involved in all of these civic activities and hold down a full time job has everyone in awe. She has owned her own commercial design business for 35 years.

She has also raised three sons here in Newport Heights and they attended all three schools — Newport Heights Elementary, Ensign Intermediate and Newport Harbor High. Her boys also participated in Junior Guards and Newport Aquatic Center Programs.

What is definitely noteworthy is that Nancy Scarbrough did not do all these things to put them on her resume. She was encouraged and then accepted to run for City Council only a few months ago.

If you have ever met her, her serious and inquisitive nature tells you that she is “all business.” She is that “classic overachiever” interested in seeking perfection in all that is going on in her life and around her in the community. If that is not a refreshing description of her attributes as a future council member, I don’t know what is.

Lynn Lorenz
Newport Beach

My experience with Herdman

Election season in Newport Beach has arrived, and with it comes the mud slinging, discrediting and judgment passed on newly arrived candidates as well as the incumbents. Nowhere is this more true than in a recent Letter to the Editor that appeared in the Aug. 30th edition of the Newport Indy newspaper about Councilman Jeff Herdman.

As recent past president of the Balboa Island Improvement Assn., I have had the direct experience of working with Jeff on a number of projects and all I know about Jeff are the facts, and here they are:

He gets the job done. No grass grows under his feet. You can expect an immediate response from him if asked to follow up or get something done. He absolutely does not say one thing and then do another.

He is highly organized, professional and always has the good of the organization and those it represents as his top priority.

On matters that come before the City Council and require a vote, he is really good at checking in with his constituents for opinions which form the basis of his votes. Public comments area a very important part of his job.

Communication is perhaps his strongest leadership skill. He has published 59 blog posts/newsletters since taking office that serve to keep the over 1,000 subscribers well-informed on John Wayne Airport issues and mediation, council action and happenings in his district and throughout the city. He holds regular town hall meetings and is a speaker at a variety of HOA meetings within his district.

His reorganization and repurposing of the Aviation Committee has added meaning to its work and has drawn in experts in the field of aviation from throughout the community. Jeff, along with community groups and city staff, are leading efforts to address quality of life issues resulting from JWA.

What you have in Jeff is probably best said by his council colleague, Joy Brenner, in a recent Facebook post: “Both Diane Dixon and I support Jeff because he works full time and more on city business, as do we.”

His level of commitment and dedication to his responsibilities as a city councilman have earned him the privilege of being reelected for another four year term.

Jack Callahan
Newport Beach

Standing up for in-person instruction

During these unprecedented times, parents, teachers and school board members throughout the state continue to struggle with tough decisions related to COVID-19’s closure of our classrooms.

Parents are growing extremely anxious, as distance learning continues to be less than ideal for many.

The debate of whether in-person or distance learning is appropriate weighs on the minds of countless families. Luckily, the law permits every school to apply for a waiver which allows kindergarten through sixth grade the opportunity to safely return to the classroom.

Newport-Mesa Unified School District has a golden opportunity to fulfill the wishes of parents who want to send their children back to in-person instruction.

Initially, NMUSD chose not to apply for this waiver due to the almost certain guarantee that Orange County would fall off the original watch list which kept schools closed. Regrettably, Gov. Newsom switched course midstream and adopted a new metric system that complicated matters.

A waiver would protect the district from the ever-changing guidance from the state. It would also prevent schools from yo-yo-ing between distance and in-person learning should the county move back to the purple tier — or whatever new doctrine comes from Sacramento.

NMUSD must break free from the state’s firm grip so we can chart our own path.

For those parents concerned with COVID-19, NMUSD created a 100% virtual Cloud Campus. This learning platform allows for a safe, risk-free environment to learn with some of our finest teachers. We should be thankful that the board put in the hard work to adopt this infrastructure. Parents have a right to decide which type of learning is right for their family.

A lot of moving parts are needed to create a waiver, including effective communication and negotiation between the board and unions. Before decisions are made and negotiations are final, let’s survey the teachers to see exactly how they feel about returning safely to the classroom.

While I am only a candidate for this position and cannot vote on this matter, I implore our current board of trustees to stand up for in-person instruction and apply for the waiver.

Krista Weigand
Newport Beach
Note: Weigand is a candidate for NMUSD, Trustee Area #6.


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