Last year, my New Years Resolution was to be nicer … and I think I almost made it through my entire New Year’s column before I broke it.
This year, I’m going to be thankful for living and working in Newport Beach.
Usually, ideas for columns come while I’m browsing the Gore-net, just reading my typical news sites. This time, however, it came from an afternoon surf session at 46th Street in Newport Beach at the end of November (or Movember).
The post-Daylight Savings Time afternoon sun was barely peeking through the scattered clouds, making the sky an amazing combination of gray, orange and blue, and the sun almost look like a translucent moon. The myriad colors created a situation where I could see almost every ripple and bump in the glassy water almost all the way to Catalina.
Between the jetties, the crowd of surfers was sparse, as were the waves, so I was left just sitting there, waiting patiently, in wonderment … and thanking God for letting me live in Newport Beach.
Because of the inconsistent waves, my hair was almost dry, as was my pathetic 30-day-old Movember mustache. The air was 60 degree,s as was the water, and while the waves barely hit my waist when they came, I was happy as a clam to be out in the water.
The beach was particularly sparse except for a couple of EMTs with their ambulance parked up to the beach on the street. They sat side by side, also enjoying the sun, the very light cool breeze, and the conditions. As the sun was starting to set behind the ocean, I could see from the water the reflections off of their sunglasses as well as their smartphone cameras as they tried to capture the beautiful moments, the same beautiful moments that I was enjoying from the water.
All in all, during 2011, the Newport Beach City Council has done a good job and, except for my belief that they are being flippant with the City’s debt (unfunded pension liability coupled with the Taj Mahal wish list fulfillment), my City Council-related columns have been relatively nit-picky compared to what the Costa Mesa City Council has been doing, or even what the Huntington Beach City Council did.
In Costa Mesa, their City Council has taken upon their shoulders the California-wide battle between the Unions and the City. EVERYONE is watching what they are doing with the consequences of a Union victory setting the stage for additional municipal/City of Vallejo-like bankruptcies. The Costa Mesa City Council cannot back down, and have not backed down, but at what expense? With the Costa Mesa Mayor’s business being vandalized and threats of personal harm directed at the other Councilmembers, Newport Beach’s council is downright tame.
In Huntington Beach, the City Council declared victory against the Police Unions by having them contribute more towards their pensions, while on the backend giving them raises to make up for their additional contributions, all the while taking personal liberties away with plastic bag and beer pong bans … go figure.
But the cake has to go to the City of San Fernando. They have had their police chief “go on vacation” for having sex with a cadet, a police dispatcher caught exposing himself, and a Councilwoman’s sordid conflict-of-interest – voting on the Police Department, while carrying on an affair with a San Fernando Police Sergeant.
To top off the year, at their November City Council meeting, the Mayor, instead of addressing their City’s concerns regarding police abuse and looming budget cuts, decided to publicly implode.
With his wife sitting in the front row, the San Fernando Mayor formally announced that he lost his business, filed for personal and corporate bankruptcy, and in an effort to squash any rumors, confirmed that he had been carrying on an affair with another San Fernando Councilwoman. After his wife stood up to yell at him, the Mayor asked the acting Chief of Police to prevent his wife from talking and to have her escorted out of the City Council Chambers.
Wow … and all I get to complain about is that the Newport Beach City Council is spending $2 million dollars to build a “bridge to nowhere.”
So as I was thinking on that beautiful autumn Newport Beach day, as the sun was setting, as I enjoyed whatever small, glassy waves were coming through, I couldn’t help but be thankful that I live in Newport Beach, thankful that the 2011 incarnation of the Newport Beach City Council has been relatively responsible, and thankful that I didn’t live in the Soap Opera City of San Fernando … although my columns would be much more colorful if I did.