The past and the present are inseparable. The thoughts and researches of last year have become the vaccines of 2021, as well as the directions that we all must take to live healthier, more prosperous and secure lives.
Newport Beach City Council members are just like the rest of us, with the added burden of guiding our city’s public employees in their efforts to make Newport Beach one of the most desirable areas in which to live, work and visit.
The NB Indy reached out to the seven members of the Newport Beach City Council for their guiding thoughts for 2021. We received three comments by our press deadline.
From Diane Dixon, Council Member, District 1:
Happy New Year to all! My new year greeting is filled with hope and gratitude. I share our collective desire for a new year that brings dramatically better health to our community. The COVID vaccine that is being distributed now will ensure that our first line responders, medical professionals and older at-risk residents will soon have the protection they need to keep them safe. The vaccine will be available to the rest of the community in the weeks ahead. Slowly but surely, our lives should return to what we faintly remember as pre-COVID normal.
I see hope for our businesses, the restaurants and retail enterprises that have been struggling to survive and hanging by a thread. They too will soon begin to see light at the end of the tunnel especially with the support of our community.
My heart goes out to friends and families who have lost a loved one to COVID or other illness this past year. The heartbreaking challenges have touched too many families.
I am grateful that our city staff has worked hard to keep the city operating under serious financial challenges. Our city remains fiscally strong. I appreciate our city staff for their hard work and creative solutions to deliver many of our programs and services under ever changing rules and circumstances.
A new year. I have renewed hope for a healthy, safe and productive recovery in 2021 along with immense gratitude to the front-line essential workers who never stopped caring for us. Our future is bright – let’s hurry it along!
From Joy Brenner, Council Member, District 6:
For 2021, I am obviously very excited about us rolling out the COVID vaccine to as many of our citizens as possible. I think with our city staff and infrastructure we can do a great job as quickly as the vaccine becomes available to us. I’d also like to see us seriously examine our Affordable Housing requirements and options. Although none of us like being told what to do regarding zoning, there is a need for entry-level housing in our city for our young people who are returning home to jobs but need an affordable place to live. If we work with all levels of government to find the best solutions which impact our infrastructure as little as possible, we may find a win-win.
And thirdly, I’d like to see us get away from politics at the local level and start to once again focus on what is best for our community. How can we all work together as citizens with varying points of view to do what’s best for our city, our residents and our businesses? That’s the reason city council is supposed to be non-partisan so that we don’t lose the focus of solving our own problems and improving our community.
Will O’Neill, Council Member, District 7:
In the coming year, we ought to keep focus on the three R’s: Resilience; RHNA; and Revitalizing.
To the first point, we have seen the good that can be accomplished when our city is built on a firm foundation of kindness, neighborliness, charity, and resilience. We must maintain that foundation.
As for the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA), we cannot lose sight of or focus on our collective response to the RHNA mandate and allow the fast to destroy the good. This remains a complicated issue and I am grateful for the citizen volunteers who have stepped up.
We also have the ability to revitalize all areas of our city, from repaving Newport Coast Drive, to dramatically improving drainage on Balboa Island, to continuing undergrounding of utilities across the city, to a new fire station on the peninsula, to dredging our harbor, to initiating the funding of a new Junior Lifeguard Building. We have a real ability to revitalize our infrastructure in 2021.