I am a native of Newport Beach and my family has been here on Balboa Island since 1926. Never have I been more dismayed with our city leadership than I am now.
I have watched helplessly as eight beautiful almost one hundred year old lemon-scented Gum trees were destroyed on Marine Avenue then four more removed even after the Balboa Island Preservation Association (BIPA) got involved to try to slow down the carnage.
To add insult to injury we were told by the City that the trees had to come down because they were diseased which scientific testing has shown was categorically false.
At the same time, prominently displayed on the City’s website was their vision of the future of Marine Avenue — which could best be described as Palm Springs on a bad day.
All of this happened on Council Member Jeff Herdman’s watch. Doesn’t he have any appreciation for the charm and character that makes Balboa Island special? How could he allow this to happen?
The Board of Supervisors just voted on the John Wayne Airport Initiative that will have a profound adverse effect on our quality of life. Newport Beach received no material concessions that will reduce airport noise. Jeff Herdman is chairman of our City’s airport committee. How could he allow this to happen on his watch?
In a similar situation, the city of Lake Arrowhead sued the FAA for flightpath changes and won. Jeff Herdman could learn something from this little town in the mountains with nowhere near the resources of Newport Beach.
Jeff Herdman says he laments the formation of grassroots organizations like the BIPA and the Balboa Island Merchants Association and doesn’t understand why they are needed. He should look in the mirror. They formed over the last four years because he stubbornly pursues an agenda the vast majority of his constituents don’t want. He claims that he is open to dissenting points of view but you only have to spend a short time with him to dispel that notion. Any dissension created over the last four years happened on his watch.
Now Jeff Herdman is running for reelection. I don’t believe he has earned another four year watch.
Fortunately, we have a great alternative. I met Noah Blom and his wife Marin at a recent get-together on Balboa Island. They are a young, charismatic couple with lots of energy. They are successful entrepreneurs – starting and operating many successful restaurants including ARC and ARC Butcher & Baker.
Noah was born in Newport Beach and attended local schools. His father was John Blom, a well-known photographer in Corona del Mar. Noah and Marin’s son attends CDM High School. As an entrepreneur, Noah will bring a unique skill set and new vigor to tackle important issues like the Airport, the homeless crisis and the several hundred million dollar unfunded City pension liability.
Noah has developed a lot of support all over the City including the endorsement of the Newport Beach Police, Firefighters and Lifeguards. We have a choice in November between a career bureaucrat and a young, dynamic entrepreneur. I will be voting for Noah Blom for City Council and look forward to the start of his watch.
Edward Black / Balboa Island