Insider's Guide

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City Council Agenda items and other items of interest to the City Manager 

November 11, 2017 

A good Saturday to you.  

Here’s what might be of interest on the agenda for the Newport Beach City Council meeting planned for Tuesday, November 14, 2017. I don’t summarize every item, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’s agenda page to read the whole agenda if you’d like.  

The study session begins at 4 p.m. with:  

  • A preliminary, early, conceptual roll-out of how an update to the General Plan might work. Did I mention this was early?  You want to pay attention to this one. A community’s General Plan is its most consequential document (the City budget is a close second). The General Plan tells all about how and where various land uses will be accommodated, how circulation and traffic will (or won’t) work, where parks and recreational amenities will go, and much more. Yes, much of Newport Beach is built out and things are set – but it doesn’t mean that we can’t improve upon and adjust what we have.  Staff will present some ideas as to how to involve the community, the Council, and various commissions in ensuring that the next update to the General Plan reflects the community’s values.
  • An update on our new Harbor adventure – that of taking on limited code enforcement and mooring administration. As you know, we’ve been doing this since July 1, 2017, when we transitioned from the County Harbor Patrol to having City crews both manage moorings and take on general on-water code enforcement. It’s been a fun adventure, especially for our new part time staff who do that under direction of their fearless leader, Dennis Durgan. And I do mean fearless – there is virtually no problem that scares Dennis off. From illegal liveaboards to loud charter boats to miscreants jumping off the Lido Isle Bridge. Miscreant is such a good word. But isn’t it normal to be a miscreant once or twice or twelve times? I’m only asking hypothetically. Anyway, four-ish months in, it’s time to update the Council on how we’ve done with Harbor Operations and what our next phases might be.

Following closed session items, the evening’s Regular Session will start at 7 p.m. Again, it looks to be a bit quiet on the evening side. 

  • Consideration of supporting the California Water Fix, aka the Delta Tunnel program. We haven’t waded into these waters (rim-shot here) previously in a formal way, but our City’s approach has always been to attempt to ensure that our current mix of Orange County Water District groundwater and purchased Metropolitan Water District water (right now, it’s split about 70-percent OCWD and 30-percent Met) is always fully safe and fully reliable. We believe that the Delta Tunnel project will continue this assurance of good clean Met water from the Sierras snowpack.  
  • A lot of new ADA access ramps and other sidewalk improvements are coming to Harbor View, Spyglass, Eastbluff and the Port Streets. This is another $1.2 million toward ensuring that our community is fully compliant with disabled access laws (and easier for strollers).
  • Lastly, the Council may formalize the General Plan process ideas that it will have talked about in the afternoon’s session.

A few community notes:

  • Anyone who wants to talk about any airport issue is invited to our first informal discussion group this coming Friday, November 17, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. We’ll be in the City Council Chambers, but don’t assume it’s that formal. You can come in shorts and flip-flops. Anyone is welcome, and you are further welcome to ask any question you want. Council Member Jeff Herdman, as chairman of the Aviation Committee, is hosting this with me in order to facilitate good communication and awareness about all things JWA. This is not a formal meeting of the Aviation Committee.  
  • The current sculpture exhibition in the Civic Center Park is fun to walk along and through. Some of the kinetic ones are quite interesting, and the “Burnt Matchstick” is rather dramatic. Please consider picking one of these nice fall weekend days to walk through the park. 
  • November and December are both times when we (and other agencies) squeeze in important infrastructure projects that can impact your daily routes. For advanced notice of these, be sure to check out Public Works’ Traffic Advisories Web page. It is updated weekly.   

I hope that you have a good Veterans Day holiday and Thanksgiving, as I won’t be e-mailing before that. About Veterans Day, after much DVR-ing and in slow bites, I only recently completed the PBS documentary done by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on the Vietnam War. It was a lot to digest and a lot of emotional material. With no slight to veterans of other wars, I left the documentary wanting to shake the hands of and thank every Vietnam veteran for their service, knowing that some of those thanks didn’t occur when they first came home. The series is very much worth watching.

Thank you for reading.  Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment.

Dave Kiff
City Manager

City Council Meeting Information


The Newport Beach City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of most months (the exceptions are August and December). Typically, there is a Study Session that starts at 4 p.m. Study sessions are times for the Council to take a deeper look at a specific issue, or hear a presentation, that might eventually lead to a specific and more formal action. A closed session often follows the Study Session. Closed sessions are typically to address legal, personnel, and other matters where additional confidentiality is important. The Regular (evening) Session typically starts at 7 p.m., and often has a specific listing of 20-40 different items ready for formal votes. Items on the “Consent Calendar” are heard all at once, unless a Council member has removed (aka “pulled”) an item from the Consent Calendar for specific discussion and separate vote. If an item on the agenda is recommended to be “continued”, it means that the item won’t be heard nor voted on that evening, but will be pushed forward to another noticed meeting.    

Public Comment is welcomed at both the Study Session and the Regular Session. The public can comment on any item on the agenda. If you want to comment on a Consent Calendar item that was not pulled from the Consent Calendar by a Council Member, you will want to do so at the time listed on the agenda – right before the Council votes on the entire Consent Calendar (it’s Roman Numeral XIII on the posted agenda). If an item is pulled, the Mayor will offer that members of the public can comment as that specific item is heard separately. Additionally, there is a specific section of Public Comment for items not on the agenda, but on a subject of some relationship to the city government. If you cannot attend a meeting and/or want to communicate with the City Council directly, this e-mail gets to all of them: Please know that I get a copy of that e-mail, too, because in almost all cases it’s something that the City Manager follows-up on. It’s my head-start.   

The Council meets in the Council Chambers at 100 Civic Center Drive, off of Avocado between San Miguel and East Coast Highway. There is plenty of parking in the parking structure behind City Hall. You are always welcome to attend in person, but you can also watch on TV Time Warner/Spectrum 30 and Cox Channel 852 or stream it on your computer.  

This Insider’s Guide is not an attempt to summarize every item on the Agenda – just the ones that seem of specific interest to Dave. I encourage you to read the full agenda if you wish.

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