Letter to the Editor: Malice is in the Intent

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Recent letters by Councilmember Jeff Herdman supporters, including Councilmember Joy Brenner, speculated that there is “dark money” that competitor Noah Blom received from mysterious out of town developers.

While Herdman tries to fend off own record of taking developers money, both in 2016 and 2020, in which these same developers are currently buying and developing properties in Newport, Herdman completely misses the mark on Noah’s endorsements.

First, Noah is a successful business owner of ARC and the Butcher and Baker, and through his businesses has an abundance of patrons and friends. If you have ever met Noah you would understand why. He is upbeat, optimistic and an engaging communicator. Newport Beach is a town which is full of various developers, and many have frequented Noah’s restaurants over the years, and several patrons were excited to support a young and dynamic business leader running for office, as I am.

Contributors of “dark money” noted by Herdman’s hit piece were Gino Canori and Gary Jabara. Interesting facts ~ the Canori’s are an Orange County family that Noah went to school with at Santa Margarita and they continue to be close friends, and Gary Jabara frequents the Butcher and Baker to buy his employees gourmet lunch boxes each month. Not so dark after all.

In contrast to Councilman Herdman, Noah has no history of development, nor has he partnered on any developments, yet Herdman’s campaign conveniently concocts hit pieces claiming Noah is a “special interest” candidate. Imagine that.

In contrast, sitting Councilman Herdman, who was supported by SPON, and other anti-development groups, has taken money from the California Real Estate PAC, Apartment Association of Orange County, the California Apartment Owners’ Association of Orange County, the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, the Building Industry Association of California, and three companies associated with the high-density Shopoff projects along Jamboree.

Herdman even took thousands of dollars from the proponent of the Mariners Mile expansion project: mega-developer Manouch Moshayedi. That same developer now owns nine properties along the quaint blocks of historic Marine Avenue on Balboa Island, Herdman’s own district. Imagine that.

After recently being exposed with public records, Herdman changed his tune. Don’t worry he says, it’s a good thing to take all of that money because now the developers listen to his opinions about their projects. Is that really his defense? And on Nextdoor, Herdman said: “Manouch actually calls me when he is working on a new business or tenant to ask my opinion!”

It’s an amazing thing when a Council member brags about backdoor meetings that change the character of Marine Avenue and Mariners Mile. Look at how the renovation of Hershey’s Market turned out before the residents of Balboa Island begged the new tenant to charm-up the white stucco box with steel doors, coined by residents as “mini Costco.” In fact, at sundown the reflection off the stark white-washed exterior walls nearly blind patrons of Wilma’s Patio right across the street.

Seems to me that Herdman is the clear Special Interest Candidate in this race given his close relationship with local mega-developers and advocates who have clear intentions to “white-wash” our charming beach communities.

Let’s not forget his “power alliance” with a former Mayor and developer advocate who created a plan to completely re-develop Marine Avenue, including the removal of 40 majestic trees.

Herdman needs to stop with the same old scare tactics that Noah will make every home a short-term rental and Newport Beach a high-rise City.

Talk is cheap, but ACTIONS speak louder than words.

Rick Osborne, Little Balboa Island, Newport Beach

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