By Roger Bloom | NB Indy Editor
Tonight we will say good-bye to 2010, an eventful year for Newport Beach, which saw a city fiscal crisis, a hard-fought election, controversies over dogs, mooring fees and the Frog House surf shop, a new police chief , a new Oasis Senior Center, a plane crash and – the biggest news of the year – the debut of the Newport Beach Independent.
The first Indy hit the porches and driveways on June 4, so our 2010 recap will pick up at that point. Here are some of the highlights of a memorable year (well, half-year) in the life of our city:
Jay Johnson was named police chief, City Attorney David Hunt returned to work after the OC District Attorney declined to press spousal abuse charges against him, the Parks Beaches and Recreation Commission voted to expand the hours dogs are allowed on city beaches, the “solar house” on Bayside raised eyebrows and hackles, the city broke ground on a new Civic Center complex, thousands turned out for the CdM 5K, the City Council adopted a pared-down budget, the Nautical Museum opened its Sea of Adventure exhibit in the Fun Zone, and a fundraiser netted $435,000 for Human Options.
The council voted to lift a ban on dogs on the city’s beaches during daytime hours in the winter, the Lido Farmer’s Market opened, John McEnroe came to town to play against the Newport Beach Breakers, and the city’s police association agreed to a new contract that included pension reform.
The City Council backed off from its dog-on-the-beach ordinance and kicked the matter back to the parks commission, Rush Hill and Ed Reno filed to run for the 3rd District council seat being vacated by Don Webb, a gas lead forced the evacuation of part of the Peninsula, and NB’s Aaron Peirsol won gold in the 100-meter backstroke at the Pan Pacific swim meet in Irvine.
NB’s Fariborz Maseeh donated $24 million to MIT, the council OK’d a development agreement with rehab-home operator Morningside, a Missouri murder suspect was nabbed in a Newport neighborhood, the CdM Coastline Car Classic and the Taste of Newport drew thousands, controversy over what to name the new Oasis Senior Center was settled when the council voted to name the event center there after former Mayor Evelyn Hart, the Rush Hill campaign conducted a controversial “push poll” in town, the school district and its teachers reached a on-year deal, the SCR Gala raised $530,000 for the theater, and Chris “Macca” McCormack won the Pacific Coast Triathlon.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina held a town hall in Newport, NBI Editor Roger Bloom joined Barbara Venezia and other local press notables in grilling council candidates at the “Feet to the Fire Forum,” more than 30,000 people participated in the Race for the Cure, Newport Harbor beat CdM in the high school football “Battle of the Bay,” the city moved to merge and streamline its planning and building departments, the new Oasis Senior Center opened, the MIND Institute’s awards dinner raised $500,000 for education, a plan was developed to save the threatened Frog House surf shop, and the Beckstrand Ball raised $1.1 million to fight cancer.
Rush Hill won the hard-fought election for an open City Council seat, the council adopted a revised dogs-on-the-beach ordinance, strange lights were seen over CdM, the 10-year Back Bay dredging project was completed, Richard Kaufman began his 20th year at principal pops conductor of the Pacific Symphony, the City Council voted to triple some Harbor mooring fees over the next five years, a light plane crashed into the Back Bay killing the pilot and two passengers, Fashion Island completed a renovation, and water main breaks flooded several streets in Newport Heights.
CdM High School’s football team advanced to the CIF quarterfinals before being defeated, the Portabello home in CdM sold for a reported $41 million, Michael Henn was selected to a one-year term as mayor succeeding Keith Curry, Newport-Mesa district trustee Martha Fluor took the reins as president of the California School Boards Association, heavy rains dampened the Christmas Boat Parade and a storm and high tide wrecked lifeguard towers and downed trees in the city.