President Mike Gertner opened, Roger Summers said a prayer, and Gina Lesley led the Pledge.
Dr. Bob Wood gave Mike $150 in winnings, Shirley Lashmett announced squares are available in the district Super Bowl pool. Richard Swinney said a FOH zoom meeting is scheduled for February 4th at 4:00 p.m. Capistrano Unified acknowledged our $1,400 donation which was spent on foundational soil for the Restorative Garden.
Patrick’s Purpose appreciates our $2,500 gift to help fund mental health educational programs in schools and scholarships for community college or vocational schools.
George Lesley introduced former and current Newport Beach Council Members, Jeff Herdman and Joy Brenner, respectively.
George introduced Joy, Council Member for the Corona del Mar district. He admires Joy for researching, soliciting public input, and keeping an open mind before voting on issues. Joy spokeabout issues in the City of Newport Beach.
Joy began with homelessness. According to a court ruling “’so long as there is a greater number of homeless individuals in [a jurisdiction] than the number of available beds [in shelters],’ the jurisdiction cannot prosecute homeless individuals for involuntarily sitting, lying, and sleeping in public,’” In short, the City cannot remove a homeless person unless it can offer him a
bed in a shelter.
In collaboration with the county, other cities, and state and federal programs, the City adopted a comprehensive approach to connect homeless with housing and resources. City representatives include: (1) the council ad hoc committee; (2) a fulltime homeless liaison officer; and (3) a rapid response team with members from public works, police, fire, and recreation services. The City also launched a public awareness campaign and solicited volunteers and donations. Joy distributed a handout about the approach.
Joy stressed that actions of good intentioned citizens have impeded the City’s efforts. For example, a citizen bought tents for the homeless, which made it more difficult to interest them in shelters. Others purchase meals for them, encouraging them to remain longer and damaging the restaurants where they wait outside for another meal. Joy distributed cards about the appropriate ways to help the homeless and encouraged
us to distribute them to local businesses.
Joy highlighted the City’s accomplishments. It has housed homeless, placed others in treatment facilities, and unified some with families. It recently funded a “well van” to help homeless and others experiencing substance abuse and mental health issues. Formerly homeless in shelters have been recruited to perform cleanup and other tasks for public works and private business.
While it has experienced some success, the City’s efforts are ongoing. Covid’s social distancing requirements have reduced the number of beds, exacerbating the challenge. To make significant progress, the City must provide a homeless shelter. Joy hopes citizens will financially support this effort. After two years, the City has not found a location for the shelter.
Joy discussed the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). RHNA quanti- fies the housing need for each jurisdiction for specified time periods and allocates a number of additional housing units to each. The RHNA has allocated 1,341,837 units to the SCAG region where Newport Beach is located for 2021-2029. SCAG is proposing 4,832 units for Newport Beach.
The number of allocated units required to be “affordable” isn’t entirely clear. Also, although the City can fund construction of affordable housing, it cannot find the land. The City requires new construction to include affordable housing and this is one way to develop affordable units. However, it estimates this approach will increase the number of housing units by 14,000.
The City worked diligently to develop a plan for the 4,832 units, but the state rejected it. The plan anticipated 1,400 units at Banning Ranch which is no longer feasible. The state refused to give full credit for accessory dwelling units in the plan.
Livable California, a statewide, nonpartisan group advocating for empowerment of local governments, has proposed a bill to restore local control for housing. City council supports this but may not advocate from the dais about it. Joy encouraged us to visit Livablecalifornia.org for details. It’s critical we maintain control of our destiny and not let the state dictate it.
Joy touched on Elect our Mayor. She believes it would tip the power dynamic out of balance. While one district will be the home of the mayor and a council member, the others will have a one council member. She also believes City staff will perceive the mayor as more powerful and serve him more faithfully than council members.
Because of careful planning, particularly during Covid, the city has a $50 million surplus. Joy credited council members who are all financially responsible. She also applauded various public private projects like Junior Guard headquarters, the animal shelter, and the library lecture hall. The projects are financially beneficial and backed by citizens who are passionate about them.
Joy picked the two winning raffle tickets. Wally Ziglar had both and won $50.
Feb 10 - Peter Swan, Dir Irvine Ranch Water District, “Water,
are we Running Out?”
Feb 24 - Olympic Silver Medalist Julie Swail, “Path to Olympic Water Polo and transition to the Olympic Triathlon Team”
Mar 3 - Tom Gazi, Chief of Los Angeles Port Police,
“How the Busiest Container Port in North America Operates”
This week we will be at Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. Lunch will be served at 12:20 pm. You will be emailed an invitation two days before the meeting. Please notify Richard Swinney by this Wed 2 PM if you are planning on attending.