At the Newport Beach City Council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 14, Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon was confirmed as Mayor for 2022, and Councilmember Noah Blom was elected Mayor pro tem, although the results were not unanimous.
During public comment, several residents spoke in favor of Joy Brenner, who represents District 6 (Corona del Mar), as Mayor Pro Tem. One resident stated that “she epitomizes the essence of what community service and allegiance to her constituents is all about.”
Resident Susan Skinner asked the council to consider how much negative press has
occurred around the world about Councilmember Blom’s alcohol consumption (Blom was criticized by some members of the public for sipping wine at City Council meetings) and asked that “we avoid becoming the laughing stock of the world and not elect him Mayor pro tem.”
Outgoing Mayor Brad Avery stated his support for Joy Brenner as Mayor pro tem, saying that “we are different, none of us is perfect, it is so important that this body works together. We have diffident ideas, but we come together. I support Miss Brenner in terms of her commitment to this council. It is her turn, if you will. Miss Brenner has earned a serious consideration by this council.”
Councilmember and Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon then noted that it was a tradition to honor the outgoing mayor with a gavel.
“Mayor Avery has been a calm and steady leader,” said Muldoon. “Always kind and respectful to others, you have served the citizens and your colleagues well. We thank you and Julie for the sacrifices you have both made over the past 12 months. It is my honor to present this to you on behalf of the entire council and the city of Newport Beach. This gavel is a symbol of justice and peace which you helped oversee over the last year, and we thank you.”
Mayor Avery responded by stating that “I am a 50-year resident of Newport Beach. I moved here when I was 18. That was with my parents of course. No way you can afford it until you are about 50. Prior to this, I took a lot of things in this city for granted. Being mayor, you get an opportunity to meet so many people and attend so many events. You see how tightly woven this community is. There is so much civic contribution and participation. People are passionate about this town. I am more appreciative than ever being a resident.”
Avery also acknowle3adged the “extraordinary staff” at the city, from City Manager Grace Leung to City Attorney Harp to City Clerk Leilani Brown.
“It’s been an extraordinary honor to have been mayor of Newport Beach,” concluded Avery.
Next came the appointment of Mayor and Mayor pro tem for 2022. A majority vote by the city council was required to elect a position.
Kevin Muldoon was elected Mayor by a unanimous vote of 7-0.
For Mayor pro tem, Council Member Diane Dixon supported Joy Brenner and noted that “Corona del Mar has not been represented since 2012, and that is marginalizing the residents of that district.”
Councilmember Duffy Duffield nominated Councilmember Noah Blom for Mayor pro tem.
After a ballot vote, Councilmembers Brenner, Dixon and Avery voted for Brenner. Councilmembers Muldoon, Duffield, O’Neill and Blom voted for Blom. By a 4-3 vote, Noah Blom was named Mayor pro tem for 2022.
After the vote, the council members adjusted their seating arrangements on the dais and the meeting was adjourned.
Following the meeting, City Council members and other dignitaries went to the Back Bay Bistro at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort for the Mayor’s Reception and Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce Volunteer Awards.
At the reception, Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steve Rosansky welcomed everyone by stating “I showed up with a script, where it’s at no one knows.” He joked that sans script his remarks would be shorter than usual.
He then introduced Chamber ambassadors and co-chairs Sheldon Singleton and Kay Walker, and Chamber Member Services representatives Annette Malinowski and Pam Smith, who bestowed the Ambassador of the Year award to Cheri Platte.
Next, Chris Delfs, the chairman of NAVIGATE, honored Tyler Parker with the NAVIGATE Young Professional of the Year award.
Rosansky then introduced the Silver Anchor Award, which is kept secret until announced at the awards event.
“It’s such a surprise that the recipient is not here tonight,” said Rosansky with a laugh. “Joyce Lau, wherever you are, you are our Silver Anchor recipient. She had something else going on and was already committed. She has been a Chamber ambassador for many years, she shows up for almost all of our ribbon cuttings. She is a wonderful lady and we are fortunate to have her.”
Rosansky then introduced outgoing Mayor Avery, who spoke about supporting local businesses and noted the holiday lights on boats and homes by saying “it was spectacular.”
Mayor Pro Tem Noah Blom was next. He thanked the city staff and “the dedication it takes to run this city. They are phenomenal.”
Blom also thanked Councilmember Avery, whom he said “taught me a lot, he did it with grace and a calm air. I want to thank Kevin Muldoon, one of the greatest fighters I have ever met. It’s so important to have someone like that. This is an amazing city, and we need to be excited about the jewel that we have here.”
Finally, Mayor Muldoon took the podium and noted this was his second time serving as mayor. He said that he and his wife were grateful to live in Newport Beach, and that being mayor is “the honor of a lifetime.”