NEWPORT BEACH — Her home is as independent as her politics.
Nancy Gardner, Newport Beach's new mayor, lives tucked behind a rich, messy garden, with a rusted gate and a canopy of wisteria draping over the front of her house.
Just across her street end are two stark white homes, one with predictable palms and neat turquoise trim.
Gardner, 69, has often voted in the minority during her five years on the City Council. She stakes out independent positions and follows an environmental agenda in the conservative-leaning city. But by compromising and forgoing issues too far to the left, she has managed to advance ideas, and has earned respect from peers.
"She's interested in achieving consensus," said Councilman Steve Rosansky, a past mayor. "She'll compromise when she needs to and she'll stick to her positions when she wants to."
Rosansky and the five other council members unanimously voted to name Gardner mayor Tuesday. The largely ceremonial position changes hands annually.