Newport Beach City Manager Update: Police Appreciation, Take the Pledge, Root for Change

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Grace Leung

By Newport Beach City Manager Grace Leung

The Newport Beach Police Department’s Annual Awards are always inspiring. The 49th Annual Police Appreciation breakfast on Thursday was no exception, as our officers, civilian employees and volunteers were recognized for extraordinary acts of heroism, courage and excellence in their field.

Awards were presented for standout contributions and performance during incidents in which lives were saved, notable arrests were made, crimes were stopped, suicides were prevented, and in one notable instance, a 1980 cold-case murder was solved.

In particular I’d like to thank and recognize those who were given top honors in this year’s ceremony: Detective Sergeant Brandon Rodriguez (2021 Sworn Supervisor of the Year); Homeless Liaison Officer Cynthia Carter (2021 Officer of the Year); Dispatch Supervisor Joe Horton (2021 Civilian Supervisor of the Year); Range Master Vince Kyzer (2021 Civilian of the Year); and Volunteer Laird Hayes (2021 Volunteer of the Year).

You can read more about the awards below. Please join me in congratulating all of the honorees for their excellent service to our community.

Pictured left to right: Chief Jon T. Lewis, Laird Hayes, Cynthia Carter, Vince Kyzer, Brandon Rodriguez, Mayor Kevin Muldoon at the Police Appreciation Breakfast

Police Appreciation

On Thursday, March 31, the 49th Annual Police Appreciation Breakfast was held at the Hyatt Regency, John Wayne Airport Newport Beach. Members of the Police Department were honored at the event, which was attended by City staff, community leaders, and local business community members.

Officers, civilian employees and volunteers are nominated in various categories for the Police Department Annual Awards, and the nominees are reviewed by a committee, which submits its recommendations to the Chief of Police for consideration.

This year’s awards included:

  • Detective Sergeant Brandon Rodriguez, 2021 Sworn Supervisor of the Year
  • Homeless Liaison Officer Cynthia Carter, 2021 Officer of the Year
  • Dispatch Supervisor Joe Horton, 2021 Civilian Supervisor of the Year
  • Range Master Vince Kyzer, 2021 Civilian of the Year
  • Volunteer Laird Hayes, 2021 Volunteer of the Year

For a full list of awardees, visit the Police Department web site at

A Police Department video, “Our Shift Never Ends,” premiered at the awards event. You can watch the video on YouTube at

The event was hosted by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Commodores Club and sponsored by Hoag Hospital, Julie Laughton Custom Homes, Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, and the Newport Beach & Company.

Take the Pledge and Join the Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation!

The City of Newport Beach is once again joining the Wyland Foundation for the 2022 National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. This annual event asks residents to take a short pledge to help the environment through water conservation, and win prizes for community-based non-profit environmental groups. The Challenge runs from April 1 through April 30.

“I am excited to support the 2022 Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation on behalf of the City of Newport Beach,” said Mayor Kevin Muldoon. “The pledge to conserve water promotes the importance of reducing our environmental footprint in Newport Beach and other cities throughout the nation. I encourage all residents to take the pledge and help make Newport Beach the most water-wise city in the nation.”

Please take the pledge today! Go to

Root for Change Event Adds Native Trees, Plants to Castaways Park

Root for Change is one of Stanbridge University’s initiatives to help the environment through partnership opportunities by planting trees in locations across Southern California.

Newport Beach’s Public Works Department recently partnered with Stanbridge University for a planting event at Castaways Park. Twenty-five volunteers from the university and City staff planted 39 native trees, and 261 native plants donated by Shadetree Nursery. California native wildflower seeds were spread in the open areas of the park.

Stanbridge University ’s commitment to Root for Change and their community outREACH program will bring them back to Newport Beach in the future.

big canyon

Discover Big Canyon Nature Park

Discover the natural riches of the Big Canyon Nature Park this spring! This 60-acre nature-scape sits adjacent to the Newport Bay Marine Protected Area and serves as a habitat for native flora and fauna species.

Explore easy loop trails throughout the open space, or park in the free parking lot and walk, jog, or cycle along Back Bay Drive.

In 2020, a collaborative effort between the City of Newport Beach, the Newport Bay Conservancy, and CA Department of Fish and Wildlife restored part of the area by removing about 6 acres of invasive Brazilian Pepper Trees, re-establishing the stream bed to reduce erosion and deter the growth of mosquitos, and installing 11,000 native plants.

Feeling inspired to help the success and protection of native plants? Get involved with volunteers from the Newport Bay Conservancy to participate in active restoration work:

Upcoming activities include Restoration in Big Canyon on Thursday, April 7. For more information or to register, visit  

Bonita Creek Park Playground Gets New Playground Equipment, Benches

A new playground installation was completed at Bonita Creek Park last month. The nature-themed structure was designed to fit within the existing footprint while adding two shade elements, new rubberized surfacing and upgraded playground features.

The project also included the addition of a new seating area with two picnic benches. The previous structure had been in place since 2003 and was showing signs of wear and tear. This particular playground sees significant year-round use, especially when the adjacent sports fields are in use.

Free Compost Giveaway, Document Shredding, E-Waste Disposal April 9

Newport Beach residents are invited to bring documents and household electronic waste for free shredding and disposal on Saturday, April 9 from 8 a.m. to noon.

The event will be at the Newport Beach Corporation Yard, 592 Superior Ave. The entrance will be on Industrial Way via right turn.

Residency will be verified; please bring identification. Residents can bring up to 10 standard file boxes for shredding and e-waste such as computer monitors and cell phones for disposal. Residents can also receive up to two 30-lb. bags of compost while supplies last. Kitchen pails for organics recycling will also be available for pickup.

For more information visit

Be Well Update

The new Be Well mobile crisis response team is now operating in Newport Beach 12 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to mental and behavioral health crises. The mobile unit is staffed with mental health specialists and EMTs, and works closely with the City’s police and fire departments.

This week, the Be Well team:

  • Brought one person to a crisis stabilization unit for mental health care
  • Transported one person to a memory care facility. He experienced a mental health crisis after attending an appointment in Newport Beach
  • Transported one person to the sobering station at the Be Well campus in Orange
  • Transported three people to the County of Orange Cold Weather Emergency Shelter in Santa Ana
  • Transported two people to the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter for intake appointments
  • Connected six people to social service agencies for case management
  • Visited two housed elderly people experiencing mental health crises. The team de-escalated the situations and provided resources for ongoing care
  • Conducted 25 outreach interactions with residents and people experiencing homelessness

Cart Distribution Continues in Organics Recycling Rollout

The distribution of new, green-lid carts for recycling organic materials (yard waste, food waste and other biodegradable items) is underway through mid-April. Pickup of organic recycling will begin the week after the organics carts are delivered, on the same day as trash and standard recycling are collected.

For information on the state-mandated organics recycling program, please utilize the following resources:

Homelessness Update

The City of Newport Beach provides a comprehensive response to address homelessness through a coordinated effort by City staff, contractors, partner agencies and nonprofit groups.

This week the City’s homeless outreach and response teams:

  • Ordered new furniture for an elderly woman who experienced homelessness in Newport Beach for 10 years. She moved into her new apartment last week
  • Set up automatic rent payments for an elderly woman who experienced homelessness in Newport Beach for 14 years. The woman moved into her new apartment last month
  • Met with representatives from the Towers on 19th in Costa Mesa and filed housing packets to secure apartments for four individuals
  • Met with the leasing office in Huntington Beach for a man who has experienced homelessness by the Balboa Pier for 20 years. He is sheltering in a motel until he moves into the new apartment
  • Continued to refer unsheltered people to the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter for temporary housing and services. Twenty people who had been experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach are now sheltered in the facility

To donate to those experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach, please visit our Good Giving Program web page:

Serve Your Community! Apply Now for Vacant Seats on Boards, Commissions

The City of Newport Beach is currently accepting applications to fill the following upcoming vacancies (all terms are for four-years, expiring June 30, 2026):

  • Board of Library Trustees (one seat)
  • Building and Fire Board of Appeals (two seats)
  • City Arts Commission (one seat)
  • Civil Service Board (one seat)
  • Harbor Commission (three seats)
  • Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission (two seats)
  • Planning Commission (one seat)

All seats will become vacant when the existing terms expire on June 30, 2022.

All applicants must be qualified electors of the City, none of whom shall hold any paid office or employment in City government (Section 702 of the City Charter).

The deadline for filing applications is noon on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. The application and additional information about the Boards and Commissions can be found at or by calling (949) 644-3005. The application and information about the Boards and Commissions can also be accessed through the City’s website at

For more information, contact the City Clerk’s Office at (949) 644-3005.

‘Zest in a Bowl’ Brings New Menu to OASIS Senior Lunches

Age Well Senior Services has reached an agreement with Zest in a Bowl to provide senior lunches at OASIS Senior Center, 801 Narcissus Avenue. The owners of Zest in a Bowl are passionate about healthy living and have made it their mission to bring natural, healthy, and tasty dishes to the community. Their meals are inspired by their travels around the world and use a variety of herbs and spices to enhance flavor while keeping it low in sodium and supportive of a diabetic diet. OASIS is excited for the new menu and the new partnership between Age Well and Zest in a Bowl.

The new lunch menu will start in April with no change in cost (currently $5.50). Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 12-12:30 p.m. RSVPs are required and can be made by calling (949) 718-1820.

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