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'You can truly make a difference'

March 18, 2000

Noaki Schwartz

Only twice in his 56 years has Steve Bromberg ever had a premonition:

when he saw his future home on the island and when he was diagnosed with

cancer.

He believes the two are interconnected. For if he had never moved into

the little community where everyone knows each other, he would never have

had the support to overcome the illness that has threatened his life.

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"The people here are wonderful," he said. "You can't keep anything a

secret."

Despite the sickness and treatments that turned his skin ashen and lined

his eyes with deep, gray moons, Bromberg held his position as president

of the Little Island Property Owners Assn.

In exchange for attending the meetings, helping to build the new fire

station and organizing annual parades, Bromberg had the community support

he needed to fight the sickness.

And now, six years later and another bout with cancer behind him,

Bromberg is stepping down in May.

"Steve's high level of commitment and passion for the job will be

difficult to replace," said Newport Beach Mayor and Balboa Island

resident John Noyes.

Still, as someone who is so involved in the community, Bromberg probably

won't fade into the background. He was key in establishing the Balboa

Island Theater Foundation, the Business Improvement District for the

island and is a member of Newport's Civil Service Board. He will

undoubtedly continue to work his magic behind the scenes.

Though rarely on the front lines of community politics, Bromberg is a

well-known city insider. His mind jumps and bends, flexing just enough to

make him a successful civil attorney. And yet he speaks plainly and deals

directly with any obstacles facing him.

So it's not surprising that when he was growing up in the Bronx in New

York, Bromberg considered becoming a cop before turning to law school.

While he says he didn't come from money, in the end Bromberg felt he had

more to offer society as a lawyer.

"You can truly make a difference," he said. "There is the satisfaction of

helping people."

His wife and high school sweetheart, Ronnie, helped put him through law

school. Almost three decades later, Bromberg remains loyal to an often

poorly portrayed industry that has ballooned from 35,000 lawyers in the

state to 140,000. It is this optimism and dedication to giving back that

earned him an award from the state bar for his pro bono work.

"He thinks like I do. When you live in a wonderful place, it's

[important] to give back to the community," said Dayna Pettit, president

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