The Newport Beach City Council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 13 was all business, but the Mayor’s reception at the Back Bay Bistro that followed the council meeting was a jovial affair attended by the new city council members as well as numerous city dignitaries and business owners.
The event was hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, and began with a reception followed by a buffet dinner.
Chamber President and CEO Steve Rosansky – a former City Council member and Mayor – presented the annual Chamber Volunteer Awards.
The first award was Ambassador of the Year, and went to Marianna Sotnichenko. She was honored for attending and assisting at Chamber events, mentoring new members, and bringing in new members.
Next came the NAVIGATE Young Professional of the Year, which went to John Livas for his hard-working and invaluable assistance with networking activities and professional development.
Two Chamber members were then honored with the Silver Anchor Award, established in 1967 by the Dolphin’s Division of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce. This award honors those members of the community who contribute to the betterment of the business, residential, civic and recreational environment in the Newport Beach Area.
The Silver Anchor Award is presented to that Chamber member who best represents the qualities each of us admire and respect among our friends, neighbors, and associates. It is given to an individual who doesn’t normally receive a great deal of attention for their efforts or financial contributions.
It is generally given to an individual who is always there; either as a leader or a follower; committee member or committee chair; event coordinator or event attendee. It is not necessarily given for any single outstanding effort as much as for long-term, continuing commitment to the Chamber and the community.
This year’s Silver Anchor recipients were Lori Morefield-Berg and Andrew Smith.
Following the awards, Rosansky introduced the new City Council members, and then 2023 Mayor Pro Tem Will O’Neill and Mayor Hoah Blom made remarks.
“This is my third time as Mayor Pro Tem,” noted O’Neill. “The transition tonight was interesting because Brad Avery and I have been the junior council members for so long, and now we are the most senior members. We have four new council members come on with a lot of experience. We need to do for them what you did for Brad and me which is come alongside and make sure we are successful, because when they are successful, we’re all successful.”
Mayor Blom began by stating “It’s nice to look out there and see so many allies—and the other 50 percent of you,” which garnered laughter from the audience. “I’m just kidding, I love you all. Nobody does this for anything other than the idea that you love this city. That’s really it. Whether it’s the Chamber, any of the volunteers that are here, the city staff that puts in tireless effort, our law enforcement and fire, and our other council members, it’s a tireless job but we do it because we have love and passion for what we do. We love this city. We want to see it better. Sometimes we want to see it better in our own way, and that sometimes creates the idea of conflict or a difference of opinion, but I think that is the building blocks of anything that is going to be great. If we don’t have those conversations than we don’t keep getting better. The goal of every person that just got elected is to make this city better.”
Blom said that everyone was gathered at one of the greatest times of the year to celebrate what this year has given us, and to look forward to the new year.
“I am not nervous about the new council members,” said Blom. “Will is always nervous about the new council members. He’s still worried about this new council member. I joke but Will and Brad have been bookends about how to do this correctly. The city staff has been amazing in telling me everything that is not possible to do, and assisting me in every other idea. We are here to steward the direction of the city. Newport wants to be better, so we are going to keep striving to make Newport Beach better.”