Phil Greer enters Newport City Council race


Local attorney Phil Greer, who has represented some of the most notable Republican politicians in Orange County, is throwing his hat in the ring for Newport Beach City Council.

Greer, a registered Republican, is expected to file paperwork this week declaring his intent to run for the District 7 seat, which represents Newport Coast and Newport Ridge.

If elected, the 63-year-old Newport Coast resident would replace Councilman Keith Curry, who will be termed out this year after serving on the council since 2006. Fred Ameri, a former planning commissioner, and Will O’Neill, a local attorney, also are vying for the seat.


Arts and culture are cornerstones of Newport’s quality of life, according to Greer, whose wife, Arlene, is chairwoman of the city Arts Commission.

“We have a very high-end community, and culture is important,” he said. “That’s what sets us apart.”

He pointed to the sculpture garden in Civic Center Park and high attendance at various exhibits at the Newport Beach Library as successful artistic endeavors.

Greer said he hopes to bring a sense of history to the council, focusing on preserving the city’s unique character by maintaining nostalgic activities such as beach fire rings and the unofficial dog beach near the mouth of the Santa Ana River.

Current council members who haven’t lived in Newport Beach for more than a few years don’t appear to understand the nuances of local traditions, Greer said.

“There’s an essence to Newport that makes it unlike anywhere else in Orange County,” Greer said. “Newport Beach is such a special place, but the direction it seems to be going is not conducive to that.”

Greer, who has lived in Newport for more than 20 years, also is no stranger to the nuances of elections.

In his decades-long career as an election-law attorney in Newport Beach, Greer has represented area politicians including former county Supervisor and state Assemblyman Bill Campbell, former Assemblyman and Supervisor Chris Norby and current state Sens. Pat Bates and Janet Nguyen on election matters.

He was disciplined by the State Bar of California in 1996 and again in 2004. Specifics of the 1996 case were unavailable. In the 2004 case, he represented a company that was suing another company while he was the attorney of record for the latter. He agreed to attend State Bar Ethics School as a result.

Three City Council seats will be in play during the November election.

Councilman Tony Petros, who represents District 2 — which includes Newport Heights and Newport Crest — is running for reelection.

In addition to Curry’s seat, that of Councilman Ed Selich, who represents District 5 (Balboa Island and Newport Center), will be available as he also is being termed out. Mike Glenn, an 11-year Balboa Peninsula resident and activist, and Jeff Herdman, a 17-year Balboa Island resident, have launched campaigns for the seat.

“This election is going to be fun,” Greer said.