A Little Fun Watching Our Neighbors...
NEWPORT CANDIDATES GET WARM FEET
Wednesday night four candidates for the Newport Beach City Council attended the most recent - the 10th iteration - of the Feet To The Fire Forum series, hosted by the effervescent Barbara Venezia, who shared the moderator duties with former Daily Pilot publisher and current President of the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce, Tom Johnson. They made a good team.
HANNAH FRY DID ALL THE HEAVY LIFTING
I had planned to give you a blow-by-blow of this event, but Daily Pilot reporter Hannah Fry beat me to it! She hot-footed it out of the Robert B. Moore Theater as soon as the forum ended and met her deadline. Ah, the exuberance (and skill) of youth! Not only was she quick, but she captured the essence of the event accurately. You can read her excellent coverage of the event HERE.
A LITTLE SCHMOOZING AT 6:00
I arrived early and joined the schmooze-fest on the patio outside the entrance to the theater. I found a small crowd gathered, including a few Costa Mesa residents offering lovely chilled water, cookies and some food for thought.
SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES
I was introduced to three candidates for the Newport Unified School District Board of Trustees, Amy Peters, Michael Scharzmann and Leslie Bubb, shown here listening to my friend, Newport Beach resident and renowned architect, Gordon Glass.
When the meeting began shortly after 7:00 p.m., Venezia made the opening comments to the small crowd - Fry estimated around 50 and that's probably pretty close - and introduced the participants, Jeff Herdman, Mike Glenn, Phil Greer and Fred Ameri. As Fry mentioned, none of the Dave Ellis team showed up for this event.
MUTUAL RESPECT OBVIOUS
I'm not going to attempt to echo Fry's coverage, except to observe that the forum ran quite smoothly and all the candidates present seemed to actually respect and enjoy each other. Venezia and Johnson had good chemistry between them, so the questions had a good flow to them. And, each candidate was given plenty of time to answer. Even though Herdman and Glenn are opposing each other for the District 5 seat and Greer and Ameri are opponents for the District 7 seat there seemed to be no rancor between them. It was very refreshing.
THE ELLIS INFLUENCE
One thing not covered by Fry was the the discussion of consultant and political king-maker Dave Ellis' influence on local politics. That thread popped up throughout the forum and it was clear that the candidates up on the stage were not happy at all with the influence he has had on Newport Beach politics, particularly following the last election where four of his candidates - "Team Newport" - successfully captured seats on the council.
RECORDED FOR PLAYBACK LATER
This event was recorded by Newport Beach TV and will be broadcast within a week. Radio Station KOCI-FM , 101.5 on your FM dial, will also include the audio of this event in its rotation soon.
LOOKING FORWARD TO THURSDAY'S EVENT
I came away from this meeting primed for the Costa Mesa Feet To The Fire Forum on Thursday night. I expect the discussions might be a little more lively and, perhaps, a teeny bit less cordial, particularly if everyone who was invited shows up. I do know that Lee Ramos was in the auditorium for this event, as was Councilwoman Katrina Foley.
SEE YOU THURSDAY
So, see you there Thursday evening. Meet and greet the candidates beginning at 6:00 and the actual event begins promptly at 7:15. The Newport Beach event ran long - a full 90 minutes - and it seemed about right. Thanks to the Daily Pilot for underwriting this event, and to Doug Bennett and the OCC team for hosting it. The venue was comfortable and will certainly accommodate a much larger crowd Thursday. There's plenty of parking immediately adjacent to the theater at the Arlington Drive entrance to the OCC Campus. I parked in Lot C, the lower right corner of the map below.