Spindrift July 20, 2023


Last Thursday’s meeting was held in the downstairs dining room at the Newport Beach Yacht Club, and 18 were in attendance, including our speaker, Robyn Grant, and Jerry Hall, a special guest of Wally Ziglar. Jerry is an old-time member who is interested in rejoining us. Past-President Once Removed George Lesley presided, as President Shirley Lashmett and Immediate Past-President Ken DuFour were attending the National Exchange Convention in hot and steamy Phoenix; and President-Elect Cynthia Strasmann was celebrating her son’s graduation from college. George started with a prayer for the unfortunate victims of the disastrous landslides in Newport earlier in the year, who lost their homes and land because of the heavy rains which drenched our coast. He gave thanks for our good fortune and for what we have. Yours truly led the group in the flag salute.


George talked to Roy Shlemon, who had back surgery one week ago, and stated that the operation was successful, his sciatic pain is gone, and with physical therapy is expecting to have a full recovery without needing a cane or walker for assistance…..Ed Romeo reported that he had contact with Bob Kinton, who has had some health issues, but is now “on the mend”…..Walley Ziglar reported that he was in contact with W.C. Fox, who apparently moved out of state near Kansas City, Missouri and bought a house there


George commented that our speaker, Robyn Grant, Newport Beach’s newest City Council Member, is and has been a voice of reason and a great addition to the city’s administrative staff. At a recent city event, the new Police Chief, Joe Cartwright, commented on the cohesiveness of the current City Council, and their willingness to work together, and that Robyn is an important component.

Robyn was introduced by Mike Call. She has been a resident of Newport Beach for 35 years, having received a B.A. from UCLA and her Law degree from USC. She has served the City on the Civil Service Board, Library Board of Trustees, City Art Commission, and is and has been a Board member of Speak Up Newport, Newport Leadership, and the Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter (NBAS). She presented her involvement with the NBAS as well as some of the current civil engagement activities of the City Council.

Robyn’s major personal interests are books and animals. She has been on the Board of Directors for the NBAS for the last 6 years. She commented that, as a result of the successful campaign of the Friends of NBAS, all the funding necessary for the land purchase, building and development of the NBAS was raised through private sources, and that City budgetary funds were not used. Initially, the City was contracting with the County of Orange to provide animal services (stray animals, animal control, coyote education, etc.). Presently, the City of Newport Beach operates the Animal Control Unit, which provides services for pets and wild- life. These services include animal bite reporting, dog licensing, maintenance of the N.B. Dog Park, and custodial care of stray and lost pets at the NBAS. Upgraded and improved services are offered and are supplemented with private funds (donations and grants). The NBAS is located at 20302 Riverside Drive, which is the only street zoned in N.B. for animal services. The property, which was an already existing kennel facility, was rented and converted to the Shelter and has been operated under the jurisdiction of the N.B. Police Department. Eventually, the shelter was purchased using private funding and matching grants. A small staff and about 20 volunteers are operating the shelter. Stray and abandoned animals, mostly dogs and cats (but also ducks, chickens, etc.), are taken in and adopted; animals may be adopted from other geographical areas as well. To date, the N.B. Animal Shelter has not had any animals euthanized, because there are a group of dedicated residents who effectively prevent killing pets by routinely adopting these animals.

The Shelter is a 1500 sq. ft building which houses 20 kennels for dogs, and 30 cat cages (“cattery”). There is a new shelter that is under construction on a neighboring lot which will shortly replace the current one.

Robyn also discussed several other activities pertaining to the City Council agendas. She mentioned that there has been an uptick in crime including robberies, residential burglaries, and auto thefts, and the city is promoting education, protection and prevention, home security inspections, neighborhood watches, flock cameras, prevention of second-floor break-ins, locking car doors, etc.. She discussed homelessness (N.B. does not have its own homeless shelter). N.B. is contracting with the City of Costa Mesa and has access to 25 beds for the homeless which are currently full. Renovation of the Travelodge on Bristol is in process for more permanent housing, of which the City will have 12 units for homeless families. For more information on these subjects, please visit the City’s website at www.newportbeachca.gov, and search “Animal Control and Adoption” and “Animal Control Unit”.

Ed. Note: Stay safe, stay cool! D.S.

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Mike Marquardt

Mike Marquardt