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Mailbag: Let’s offer support and gratitude for Orange County first responders

An Orange County Fire Authority helicopter makes a drop in 2018.
An Orange County Fire Authority helicopter makes a drop on a brush fire up the hill toward Top of the World school and Alta Laguna Beach in 2018. A reader writes about the importance of gratitude for first responders.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

As election day nears, trying to keep track of who is endorsing which candidates running for office can be quite confusing. But one thing is certain in these challenging and uncertain times, and that is how important our fire, police and first responders are to protecting our country at large and our local communities.

The dedicated men and women who serve us tirelessly day in and day out, protecting us from harm and peril at every turn, are really the modern-day unsung heroes of our childhood. You don’t appreciate who is there providing consistent and much-needed services until there is a crisis in our midst. Thus, it should come as no surprise we are seeing signs sprout up all around our neighborhoods proclaiming our uniform support and appreciation for their great service.

As we have learned first-hand over the past six months, Newport Beach is not immune to the many challenges confronting our civil society today — the impact of the pandemic, business closures, smoke and ash covering our neighborhoods, not to mention the mostly peaceful protests this summer. These are but a few examples of events that illustrate why support and praise of first responders is well-deserved. Hence, I was not surprised to see Mayor Dixon and a few others on City Council thank them at a recent City Council meeting.

Clearly our first responders are doing a great job protecting us and our community.
That is why I plan to support first responders by voting for a candidate endorsed by them, Noah Blom. Everything I have learned about Noah is authentic and above board. Please learn more for yourself, and I think you will find the same.

Barbara Ann
Balboa Island

On Herdman’s watch

I am a native of Newport Beach and my family has been on Balboa Island since 1926.  Never have I been more dismayed with our city leadership. 

I have watched helplessly as eight beautiful almost 100-year-old lemon-scented gum trees were destroyed on Marine Avenue, then four more removed even after the Balboa Island Preservation Assn. got involved to try to slow down the carnage. To add insult to injury we were told by the city that the trees had to come down because they were diseased, which scientific testing has shown was categorically false.  At the same time, prominently displayed on the city’s website was their vision of the future of Marine Avenue — which could best be described as Palm Springs on a bad day.

All of this happened on Councilman Jeff Herdman’s watch. Doesn’t he have any appreciation for the charm and character that makes Balboa Island special?  How could he allow this to happen?

The Board of Supervisors just voted on the John Wayne Airport Initiative that will have a profound adverse effect on our quality of life.  Newport Beach received no material concessions that will reduce airport noise. Herdman is chairman of our city’s airport committee. How could he allow this to happen on his watch? In a similar situation, the city of Lake Arrowhead sued the FAA for flightpath changes and won. Jeff Herdman could learn something from this little town in the mountains with nowhere near the resources of Newport Beach. 

Herdman says he laments the formation of grassroots organizations like the BIPA and the Balboa Island Merchants Assn. and doesn’t understand why they are needed. He should look in the mirror. They formed over the last four years because he pursues an agenda the vast majority of his constituents don’t want.  He claims that he is open to dissenting points of view, but you only have to spend a short time with him to dispel that notion.  Any dissension created over the last four years happened on his watch.  

Fortunately, we have a great alternative in Noah Blom, who is running for City Council.  I will be voting for him and look forward to the start of his watch.

Edward Black
Balboa Island

Steel signs in the wrong place

Yesterday I saw a multitude of Michelle Steel signs planted in the divider between Newport Boulevard and the frontage road which runs parallel, approaching 17th Street. Since I always put up flags where my election partner advises, never daring to break any sign rules, I was cognizant of the possibility that this is one of those places where election campaign signs should not be.

I am well aware that Ms. Steel may not be the person who planted signs there, but now that she is informed, I am assuming that, if illegally placed, they will be removed. I was going to counter with the placement of some Harley Rouda signs in the same location, citing that if the Steel signs were not removed, it must be OK to put signs there. But someone in Rouda’s organization must know more than I, because I was told not to place any Rouda signs there. Nice to know that they are trying to go by the rules in this tumultuous race.

On another front last week, Supervisor Don Wagner from Irvine asked President Trump to bypass the state and send future coronavirus relief money directly to the counties. He contends that counties have the right to come up with their own plans if they follow guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on topics such as physical distancing and masks.

Is he kidding? The Board of Supervisors is the same body that, just a few months ago, sided with anti- maskers with conspiracy theories and in addition to not speaking up for the health officer who was getting death threats at her home, dropped the mask mandate. Supervisor Steel on tape sympathized with the antimaskers. Fortunately Gov. Newsom quickly restored the mandate.

And hasn’t the CDC become politicized by Trump and corporate interests? As much as the Newport Beach City Council and the Board of Supervisors have tried to make COVID-19 a political issue, we are much better protected by rules that guide the rest of the state, while recognizing regional differences.

Lynn Lorenz
Newport Beach

Herdman is a special interest candidate

Keith Curry is endorsing Jeff Herdman for Newport Beach City Council because he’s not a “special interest” candidate. Oh, really?

Let’s start with the proposed plan for the Mariners Mile expansion. The primary owner and proponent of the project is Manouch Moshayedi. Jeff Herdman took thousands of dollars from Mr. Moshayedi, his wife and Keith Curry — all disclosed on the same campaign disclosure form.

Amazing what just a little research can yield. It doesn’t stop there ...

According to campaign contribution forms submitted to the city clerk’s office, Herdman has also taken hundreds of dollars from Todd Ridgeway, who led the effort to build housing on the car wash site in Fashion Island. Herdman happily accepted a max-out donation from the California Real Estate PAC and took more money from the Apartment Assn. of Orange County, the California Apartment Owners’ Assn. of Orange County, the National Assn. of Industrial and Office Properties, a Political Action Committee called “Taxpayers and Residents United For Newport,” and the Building Industry Assn. of California.

Herdman has taken money from “Shopoff Land Fund II,” “TSG Parcel 1, LLC” and “Uptown Newport Jamboree.” All are companies associated with the high-density Shopoff project along Jamboree. He’s taken money from CAA Planning, Inc., the political consultant behind the failed Porsche dealer design along Mariners Mile.

So, Mr. Curry, who exactly is the special interest candidate? Here’s a hint: You just endorsed him.

If you’re looking for independence unbeholden to actual special interests, your vote is simple. Vote for Noah Blom.

Jodi P. Bole
Chair, Balboa Island Preservation Assn.

Costly playground is unnecessary

Once again, the Huntington Beach City Council has been fooled by a contractor (Daily Pilot, “Playground Gets OK in Central Park,” Sept. 23). Members approved a $1.2-million playground to be installed in Central Park West that is garish, unsafe, will be expensive to maintain and is a massive expenditure when every other city, county and state are bemoaning the loss of income because of the coronavirus. Yet somehow the council feels that $1.2 million is a reasonable fee for a playground for kids ages 5 to 12. Councilwoman Kim Carr says the facility will bring in people from cities all across Orange County to a park that is already overcrowded on weekends.

Furthermore, Central Park West has a disc golf course, the Shipley Nature Center, the massive Senior Center, Breakfast in the Park and three playgrounds . This park is home to nesting birds and it is a migration stop. It is beautiful with its many trees, the lake and the paths that wind their way through the different areas. Why is it necessary to add in a brightly colored eyesore to attract more people to an park that is set aside to walk, run, picnic and connect with nature in a beautiful natural area?

Looking at the presentation made to the Community Services Commission on Aug. 12, it is impossible to determine exactly how large the new play area will be, nor is there any indication of its location. But based on the flyover video the company generated it will be enormous and will require the removal of 20 or more mature trees in the area. The playground looks high maintenance. The city has been unable to maintain existing structures. Why build an eyesore that will very quickly become rundown?

If you must build this playground find an area that is open, underutilized and uncrowded. Huntington Beach Central Park West is fine and very popular just as it is.

Cathy Thomson
Matt Thomson

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