Commentary: The reasons I’m running for Newport Beach City Council

Resident Christine Salem watches a contractor remove trees at Ensign Intermediate School.
Resident Christine Salem watches a Newport Mesa Unified contractor remove trees at Ensign Intermediate School on June 22. The lack of council interest in the controversy partly inspired the candidacy of Newport Beach City Council hopeful Nancy Scarbrough.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Besides having a natural interest in civic matters nurtured by my parents, the day that I decided seriously to run for Newport Beach City Council, District 2 came when the beautiful mature trees at Ensign Intermediate School came crashing down, and not one elected official was there.

The experience of watching crews remove the trees, which was heartfelt by many residents in the Heights and Cliffhaven neighborhoods, drew no support or sympathy from City Hall.

We would have at least expected some interest by the council member from our district, Brad Avery.

Actually, many of my leadership and organizational skills came from years in the Girl Scouts organization, from Brownies through seniors in high school.

And that familiar saying holds true, “Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout.” I finished my college education at UCLA in Environmental Design and eventually opened my own design firm, currently called “Space Squared.”

What skills do I bring to the table that qualify me as a conscientious, independent and serious council member? No one, even on City Council, attends more civic meetings on a regular basis than I.

Initially involved in environmental issues through SPON and Banning Ranch, I gradually branched out to almost every aspect of city government, council, town hall and Newport-Mesa Unified school board meetings, the public meetings for election reform, the homeless task force, the aviation committee, planning commission and zoning administration meetings, Orange County Board of Supervisors meetings, and what will be our biggest challenge after COVID-19, the public meetings of the new Housing Element Update Advisory committee.

And at the time I was attending these meetings, I wasn’t even considering running for City Council. I was just interested.

However, after gaining more and more interest in city government and noting that we were not adequately represented in District 2, I decided to “throw my hat into the ring.”

Many of my neighbors and friends came to me when they realized how seriously and sincerely interested I am in “all things Newport” in addition to my own neighborhood.

It has been remarked that I have a serious and inquisitive nature, that I am “all business” and finally that I am a ”classic overachiever” interested in seeking results, even perfection in all that is going on in my personal life and that which is going on around me in my community and in Newport Beach at large.

The writer is a candidate for Newport Beach City Council, District 2.

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