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Mailbag: Newport needs women in council race

August 05, 2013

Is Newport Beach government just for men?

"Women don't apply," explained then-Mayor Nancy Gardner when asked why the Newport Beach Planning Commission had no women.

The same is true of most of our commissions and committees, she said.

"I don't know why."

With Gardner and Councilwoman Leslie Daigle termed-out, and only men poised to replace them, the City Council appears to be returning to a men-only affair reminiscent of yesteryear.

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It is a sad-but-true conundrum that is disheartening for me and probably many others.

Gender-balanced leadership is critically important to the health and welfare of Newport Beach. I know because I have had the luxury of spending two of the best years of my life observing a woman, Gardner, lead Newport Beach while she was mayor and mayor pro-tem. I made it a personal priority to attend as many city meetings as possible during that period, and I am much richer as a result.

Gardner made Newport — and me — better. She has been a dynamo, like the Energizer Bunny with turbocharge. Though seldom the biggest person in the room, her presence was always oversized, and she commanded respect. She had a valuable perspective on Newport, having grown up in a man's world she would eventually rise above and lead.

While the men on the council were OK, Gardner was great. The foregoing is just one man's opinion about one woman and her contribution to Newport Beach government.

I am sure there are other women in Newport Beach who could make a difference, but will they? Do women in Newport care? I think so. But like Gardner, I don't know why they don't apply.

Dan Purcell

Newport Beach

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Don't exploit street-sweeping days

Mondays and Tuesdays are street-sweeping days on the Balboa Peninsula, so all of us scramble to clear the road and find parking in our space-challenged neighborhood.

We do not expect the city, or its employees, to look upon these days as an opportunity to raise additional revenue from minor infractions.

They did just that last Monday. I was ticketed $75 at 10:30 a.m. because the rear of my car extended 12 inches over a 3-foot red curb, which actually protects my driveway.

As a longtime resident and taxpayer I am outraged. I'm just not sure who to be mad at — the city for directing its employees to maximize revenue or the apathetic parking warden who decided this was a violation worth ticketing.

We try hard each week to do the right thing and clear a path for the sweepers. Meanwhile, others are speeding along Balboa Boulevard while talking on phones and ignoring pedestrians and wheelchairs in crosswalks.

Rachael Gabriel

Newport Beach

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