The Newport Beach City Council has a new look heading into 2023, with a new Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem plus four new City Council Members sworn into office.
At the Newport Beach City Council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 13, the consent calendar was light on city business but the agenda was full with four outgoing city council members leaving, four new ones being sworn in, plus the council voting on a new Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem for 2023.
The first order of business was a special proclamation presentation to Newport Beach Police Chief John Lewis on his 31 years of service to the city of Newport Beach, including the last seven a police chief. Outgoing Mayor Kevin Muldoon noted that Chief Lewis is the first employee in the city’s history to rise from a police cadet through the ranks to become chief of police.
“I will be addressing you one last time,” Chief Lewis told the city council. “These past seven years have been what I’d describe as an incredible ride. To be standing here today is something I don t think I could have dreamed would happen to me. In all the time I have been here, growing up in this organization and this community, so much as changed over the past 31 years, but what I know had not changed is the great work, the selfless service, of the men and women of the Newport Beach police department. I am grateful to have served this storied organization and to be part of those that are keeping us safe out there every day. Thank you for the recognition, I am sincerely grateful to have served as your police chief.”
Outgoing city council members Joy Brenner and Duffy Duffield made remarks thanking their families and fellow council members. Outgoing city council member Diane Dixon was not present; she resigned to take her place as a member of the California State Assembly, having been voted in on November 8.
In his final words as mayor and a member of the city council, Muldoon noted that “people often say that being a city council member is a thankless job and that is true. But it has not been my experience in serving the residents of Newport Beach. It has been the honor of a lifetime to work for you. We have accomplished much. Thank you to each member of the city council, thank you staff for your hard work and diligence. My last official comments: I wish everyone a Merry Christmas.”
After the election results were certified, the four new city council members – Robyn Grant, Lauren Kleiman, Joe Stapleton and Eric Weigand – were administered their oaths of office and then took their places at the council dais.
Once the new council was seated and the November 8 election certified, the new council voted in Noah Blom as Mayor and Will O’Neill as Mayor Pro Tem.
The incoming council members then gave brief remarks.
“Thank you to the residents and everyone that supported me this last year,” said Councilmember Grant. “I am truly excited about the possibilities for this dynamic city we all love. I ran on a platform that leading starts with listening. My priority is to be accountable to the residents and provide transparent and independent leadership. I look forward to the next four years working with our talented and dedicated staff and my council colleagues to keep Newport Beach the best place to live, work, visit, and raise a family.”
Councilmember Kleiman noted that she was “truly humbled to have received the trust of our Newport Beach voters in representing our wonderful city. I am truly grateful for all the support I received from the community, from my colleagues, from first responders, and most important my family. I am looking forward to working with the incredible group of people on the dais, and working with our talented and capable staff. Together, we will leave this city better than we found it.”
“Wow—what a journey, and what a humbling experience,” began Councilmember Stapleton. “What a utopia we live in that we call Newport Beach. It didn’t happen by accident. It’s because of strong leadership. I am honored and humbled to do my part of continuing that legacy and protect our quality of life. I want to thank the people of Newport Beach for their trust in me to represent and serve for the next four years. We are fortunate to have a community of residents who are engaged and committed to maintaining the quality of life we have all become accustomed to. I am humbled and blessed and excited to continue moving forward on the right path with my fellow council members, our incredible city staff, our first responders, and you the residents.”
“It is an honor of a lifetime to represent the residents of our great city of Newport Beach,” stated Weigand, who thanked his wife, family, and mother, whom he said spent 33 years working for the Newport Beach Police Department. “I look forward to working with this council. To those who ran and were not successful, your passion and service and desire for our city was noticed. Those who did not support me, hopefully you will see my passion. I will work hard serving ethically and honorably. My goal is to be a consensus builder and someone you can count on to be a consistent leader for everyone.”
Mayor Blom then suggested that “the one thread that connected all of these speeches together was passion. I think every person that chooses to sit up here has passion for this city. We want to make the best decisions we can from different perspectives and views. Newport is here because we all care. I am looking forward to serving with each one of you and hearing your opinions because it helps shape our community.”
The council meeting was adjourned in the memory of Eric Weigand’s father, Kenneth, who passed away December 8. He grew up on Newport Beach and graduated from Newport Harbor High School. He served as an officer with the Newport Beach Police Department and had received two awards of merit.