Letter to the Editor: Moving Past Balboa Island Tree Battle, Return to Being Respectful Neighbors

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Does anyone else feel like our whole country is just itching for a fight?

I don’t remember a time before when we, as a nation and more specifically as a community, were so ready to go to battle, even with our friends and neighbors. Even in the city hall and museum house debates we could hear from our friends that some of them they actually liked the projects without demonizing them and calling them names.

So how did peaceful, beautiful and charming Balboa Island erupt into warfare?

Why are we now so ready to assume the worst instead of working together to resolve our differences? That may be necessary in other places, but it’s not historically the way it’s been done here. The people’s voices have been heard and, in many cases, have been able to prevail over what has been perceived as the rich and powerful developers and politicians.

Some tried to make the issues on Balboa Island fit into that paradigm and they were wrong. There were no developers pushing those improvements.

I suspect the anger and distrust we witnessed had to do with a lot more than the obvious. We are all struggling with the changes we see in our little piece of paradise. People are fearful about losing our way of life and powerful people buying up our iconic landmarks. We know things are changing but we are desperate to try to hold on to what we love.

After all the hateful remarks, I hope it is possible for us to just let the past stay in the past and not try to figure it all out. Could we move forward as friends and neighbors who sometimes disagree but all love our community?

Newport Beach is, in my opinion, the best place in the world to live. We have issues to deal with, but we can do it together with love and understanding in a reasonable and collaborative way.

As I have for 50+ years, I promise to tell you the truth and if I see something going on behind our backs, I’ll investigate and get the facts straight to share with you. That’s why I think I was elected. You may not always agree with my votes, but I will be glad to discuss with you the factors going into them.

Eucalyptus trees are being replaced as necessary, with eucalyptus trees and the infrastructure improvement project is on hold indefinitely. There will be plenty of public meetings whenever they think about it in the future and all the citizen groups both old and new will be invited to the table.

Now can we please get back to just having honest differences of opinion and talking about the issues?

Joy Brenner
Newport Beach City Council

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