Insider's Guide

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

May 20, 2017 

Greetings on this warm Saturday as we near Memorial Day and the start of summer.  Should be a great weekend here in town (and some good community events are planned – please see the Calendar Notes below).

On Tuesday, May 23, the Newport Beach City Council will meet for a 3 p.m. Joint Meeting with the City’s Finance Committee to hear the first formal budget presentation of the year. Then the regular non-Joint Study Session gets underway 4 p.m.-ish.  Finally, there is the 7 p.m. regular session.  More detailed Council meeting information is at the end of the Guide.  I don’t summarize every item on the agenda, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’s agenda page to read the whole agenda if you’d like.  

As noted, the Joint Meeting starts at 3 p.m. and is focused on the proposed Fiscal Year 2017-18 City budget.  What’s newsworthy about it?  A couple of things:

  • It socks away more money than ever before for pensions, including to address our unfunded liability issue.  Another $9 million (!) is proposed to go towards a discretionary additional payment for pensions.
  • It proposes sending about $6 million towards critical harbor infrastructure, including sea walls around Balboa Island.
  • It’s balanced (wait, that’s not news – our budget is always balanced.
  • Our capital plan proposes some new efforts that Mayor Muldoon first spoke of back in January, including using better technology for traffic solutions and to start an update of the 2006 City General Plan. 

Then the Study Session is really focused on one main item, that being preparing for Summer along Ocean Front Walk. Folks interested will hear about ideas from the Police Department for safer travels, as well as our ongoing discussions about things like Surrey cycles. If I were planning on listening in, I’d try for a little after 4 p.m. 

The evening’s Regular Session is at 7 p.m.   The items worth noting are a handful:

  • An airport item involving how Commuter Aircraft at JWA are defined.  A bit complex, but simple at the same time. Operators of commuter planes (like SkyWest) are buying new Embraer and Bombardier planes that have seating capacities of 76 seats, but the JWA Settlement Agreement defines commuter planes as having up to 70 seats. JWA is still governed by a “million annual passenger” cap that is in the Settlement Agreement – and any new seats filled on a plane count towards the cap.  
  • Some changes to the lease agreement involving the Lighthouse Café at Marina Park.  The changes would include allowing the Café to have a mobile cart for some food (and coffee). Changes would also allow them to move from a beer and wine license to a spirits license (Type 47). The restaurant and all sales must end/close at 11 p.m. nightly.  
  • More turf removals are coming to town. The drought may be behind us, but it’s still not legal going forward to use potable water to irrigate turf in medians. That’s a state prohibition. So we’re continuing our efforts to remove turf from medians and to replace it with a colorful but drought-friendly palette – this time on San Joaquin Hills Road and San Miguel Road.   

Those Calendar Notes involve some interesting and fun things today (Saturday) and a park dedication on Friday the 26:

Saturday, May 20 – some items in just a few minutes...
12 p.m. – The Exchange Club of Newport Harbor’s Field of Honor ceremony at Castaways Park (note: the US flags will be in place from 5/19-5/29 this year)
12 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Public Safety Day (with Newport Beach Police and Fire) program and demonstrations – near Newport Center at 870 Santa Barbara Drive.
2 p.m. – Dance on the Civic Green, Civic Center, sponsored by the City Arts Commission

Friday, May 26
3 p.m. – John Wayne Park Dedication, 2501 Cliff Drive. It’s helpful for this one if you RSVP.  Please do so to Jenny Sudo at or 949-644-3003.

Today’s Fun Questions from Residents/Visitors:

  • This one came to me from a gal at the gym. She wondered: On street sweeping day, if the sweeper has gone by but the “no parking” sign still has some time left (say it’s 11 a.m. and the sign says “no parking” until 12:30 p.m.), will I get a ticket if I park there? The answer: Generally no, but this is a “spirit of the law” question at this point. To be safe, you should still try and avoid parking there during the street sweeping times, as sometimes the sweeper can surprise you by being delayed or on a different schedule because of an emergency somewhere else. The PD does, though, try to understand that parking is often tight and will work with known issues in a neighborhood to make sure residents get the most flexibility possible to get back needed parking spaces.  
  • A visitor from Utah asked me this week why there are small smelly tar mats along the beaches. He assumed they were from oil wells offshore. Though we’ve stepped on them, too, Newport residents know that this isn’t so (and how to dodge them) – they’re from naturally-occurring seeps beneath the ocean floor, and often make their way to the beach in the form of innocent-looking small pieces of what appear to be thick black plastic. But they’re not, and when you step on them you’ve got some very sticky oil to deal with. He seemed better when he understood that this happens all up and down the Southern CA coast, again via natural causes. Thanks, NOAA

As always, thanks 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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