Mel Beale, President of Airport Working Group (AWG) recently pointed out to me that I never give his organization, or Mel, any recognition for the thousands of hours he and many on the board of this organization have put in over the past year dealing with the issues of NextGen and the General Aviation Improvement Program. He is correct, and I want to rectify that error right now! For the airlines that ﬂy out of JWA, Mel is playing a critical role in ongoing talks having to do with departure patterns that will result in higher/quieter ﬂight procedures. Together with our city manager, Grace Leung, and consultants David Wilson and Tom Edwards, and the data gathering ﬁrm of HMMH, Mel is currently engaged in talks with two speciﬁc airlines where speciﬁc ﬂight takeoﬀ procedures are being tested that may result in higher and quieter takeoﬀs. Mel brings to the table an extensive background in aviation, credibility, and an ability to elicit cooperation from the six major airlines ﬂying out of JWA. This groups work is ongoing.
Marine Avenue - Balboa Island
Many of you have gotten in touch with me via e-mail concerning the overall refurbishment plans for Marine Avenue. I have appreciated hearing from you for it has provided me the opportunity to provide you with information on this project that is current and up-to-date. Because the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) of California has determined that I have to recuse myself from this entire topic because I own property that is within a 500 foot radius of Marine Ave., I just have to stand on the sidelines as an observer as this project unfolds.
This entire infrastructure project was started with very good intentions from former councilman Ed Selich who at the end of his term on City Council began proposing and budgeting for this refurbishment project. It came about as a result of a need for the City to turn its attention to the infrastructure needs on the Balboa Islands. The project took on a life of its own when the Balboa Island Merchants Association leadership, along with city staff, formed a Marine Avenue Capital Improvement Project Committee in 2018. Committee membership was expanded to include Balboa Island leadership, residents, property owners, business owners, and even former councilman, Ed Selich.
The committee worked for about a year planning and providing input to the city. One thing committee members completely agreed on is that the quaint and historic “look” of Marine Ave. should be preserved. Storefronts are not a part of the project. The buildings are not owned by the city; it is always up to the individual commercial property owner to make changes to their property. It will be interesting to see how this project evolves. Again, I have to just be an observer, and I can tell you that is tough. I have lived on the Island for 64 years now, and as I age, along with the Island, I ﬁnd myself getting very nostalgic about what the Island meant to me as a kid growing up, a teenager, young adult, raising my family here, etc. I have always been supportive of change, but when it comes to the Island, I really don’t want to see things change.
Because of my position as a councilman, I do have to be aware of the liabilities that some conditions on Maine Ave. present. I cannot be complacent when it comes to the condition of the sidewalks with rises, cracks and situations where people can trip and fall. Also, power washing is not producing the results that it once did in terms of cleanliness. Because of the work that needs to be done underground on 80+ year old pipes and drains, it would be great to have a new concrete street rather than one that is full of black patches ﬁlling in cracks, and patch strips of new concrete where new pipes and drains will have been installed. New light posts that are historic in looks, and perhaps some attractive planters here and there along the street (but do not take away parking spaces), would add to the ambiance of the street. This is actually all the committee is looking to do. As far as a major change in the way Marine Avenue has looked for the past 50-60 years, absolutely no changes are planned. If it were, I’d say to heck with the FPPC and start asserting myself!
In order to prove out point to the Orange County Board of Supervisors as it relates to the value of the City of Newport Beach to the County of Orange, a study was recently completed entitled Economic Contribution of Newport Beach to the Orange County Economy - May 2019. Take a look at some of the most significant findings The City of Newport Beach:
Stands out as a key component in the county’s economic engine. Newport Beach makes a significant fiscal contribution to the county’s finances. The 2017 assessed value of properties in the City was $50.2 billion with nearly $76 million in property taxes being generated of which $4.5 million was channeled to the county government. This accounts for 15% of all property tax revenue that the county collects from its 34 cities.
Sales tax: Newport Beach contributed $1.1 million to the Orange County Transportation Authority for various projects.
Is home to a number of the county’s leading industries and companies, and two of the largest employers in the county: Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian and Pacific Life;
Is a job-rich community;
Healthcare (1) accounts for the largest share of jobs in the city followed by accommodation and food services (2) and then finance and insurance (3) two-thirds of our residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
All of these job-related stats result in the City of Newport Beach generating over $42 billion in economic output, supporting 270,230 jobs (full and part-time), and generating nearly $16 billion in labor income. Now you draw your own conclusions about the value of our city to the County of Orange!