Op/Ed: Newport Beach Has a Lot in Store for 2024

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Mayor Pro Tem Joe Stapleton

By Joe Stapleton, Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem

My main priority as Mayor Pro Tem of Newport Beach is to maintain and improve the quality of life that Newport Beach has provided for all of us.

I recently traveled to Washington, D.C. with our city’s Public Works Director, Dave Webb. We met with our federal representatives to discuss coastal resiliency, harbor dredging, sand replenishment, and bolstering anti-sand erosion projects.

I also met with representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, the Army Corps, and others. This was part of the city’s efforts to shore up federal support to protect our coastal areas.

We have also prioritized rehabilitating or replacing aging public infrastructure and facilities with new improvements to better serve the needs of our community. This includes encouraging private redevelopment and undergrounding our overhead utilities, such as electric lines.

We are also improving our tidelands management, including enhancing our boating and visitor-supporting facilities along the coast. Water safety and personal growth will be enhanced this summer with the opening of our new Junior Lifeguard building.

We will also devote resources to update our bicycle master plan, which will improve the quality of bicycle paths for our residents and visitors. This plan will both enhance the cycling experience in our beautiful city and improve the safety of our cyclists.

I am also looking forward to creating a City Council committee to envision a public-facing development for Lower Castaways Park. As many of you know, this is the original landing spot for the settlers who discovered Newport Beach. Its current use as a storage yard underutilizes this historical landmark.

I also serve on a City Council committee to ensure that our Newport Beach Police Department is equipped with everything they need to protect the community we all love from criminal activity. These improvements include utilizing drones to surveil areas prone to criminal activity to better track down crime when it happens. We are also looking at equipping our officers with state-of-the-art license plate readers to track criminals when they are in a motor vehicle.

As always, the Newport Beach City Council wants to ensure that robust law enforcement is coupled with Constitutional protections, so we always ensure that any measure empowering our law enforcement is done with the utmost care and assurances that these good policies are not abused.

At the same time, our leaders in Sacramento continue to chip away at law enforcement’s ability to enforce the most fundamental law enforcement measures, which makes our communities less safe. That is why it is imperative that we do everything we can at the local level to give our officers everything they need to protect our city.

The Newport Beach City Council is united in our vision to not only keep Newport Beach the wonderful city it has always been but to make it even better. These improvements are paramount to my pledge to “Keep Newport, Newport,” and in my new role as Mayor Pro Tem, I look forward to working with all my colleagues to do just that.

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of Op/Eds by Newport Beach City Council Members on their goals for 2024.

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