Posted by Newsletter Reprint on February 16, 2013
This came across the wire from the office of Supervisor John Moorlach on Friday:
The annual Newport Beach Mayor’s Dinner, hosted by Speak Up Newport, is a fun tradition. Many years ago, I even had the privilege of speaking at one of the dinners. My beautiful guest, Marilyn Monroe, and I had a wonderful time. OC Register columnist Barbara Venezia was in attendance and provides her annual take on the event in the piece below.
BONUS: Supervisor Janet Nguyen had her second child last evening. Congratulations go to Janet, her husband Tom, their son Tommy, and their new son, Timothy.
Mayor’s Dinner is a haven for schmoozers, politicians
By BARBARA VENEZIA
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The 32nd annual Newport Beach Mayor’s Dinner at the Marriott in Fashion Island is an event with the panache you’d expect in this city.
Produced by Speak Up Newport, the event’s co-chairs were board members George Schroeder, Kathy Harrison and Jo Vandervort.
The sold-out crowd of about 450 included a mix of current and former politicians and political insiders (and those who wish they were), as well as business folks who depend on them to survive.
The evening started with a cocktail reception – a schmoozer’s dream come true.
Over the years I’ve learned there’s an art to schmoozing.
Smile no matter what, even if you’re talking to someone who, on a good day, you wouldn’t spit on if they were on fire.
And when you’re “working the room,” keep conversations short, and gracefully transition from one person or group to another in less than 10 minutes.
The goal is to see and be seen by as many as possible.
Throughout the evening, gossip flows like wine or whine – whichever the case maybe.
As I moved through the cocktail reception, the political rumor mill was in full swing.
I heard whispers that former Newport Councilman Steve Rosansky might pursue the open County Clerk Recorder position.
Is Supervisor John Moorlach thinking about running for state office once his term’s up?
I ran into Moorlach, but didn’t ask him about the gossip.
Instead, I was more interested in his wife’s Trina’s new look. She had a very blond Marilyn Monroe vibe going on.
She said the color was actually a mistake, but one she now likes.
I thought she looked great.
Sharyn Buffa confided that she’d looked at last year’s dinner photos online to make sure she wouldn’t wear the same thing. Turns out she was planning to, so she changed.
When her husband. Peter, who was also emcee for the night, recounted the story in his opening monologue to the entire room, she looked a bit surprised at his over-sharing.
The Mayor’s Dinner always makes for some strange table mates, but all is fair in love and politics – especially in Newport.
So it wasn’t surprising to see retired Newport Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Richard Luehrs sitting at Visit Newport Beach’s Gary Sherwin’s table.
Sherwin’s newly revamped Newport Beach & Co. pretty much made the chamber obsolete.
When I asked Luehrs about the black eye he was sporting, he said he’d had a go-round with a reporter.
I never did get the truth, but whenever I’ve had a black eye recently it’s been from a Botox injection. Just saying.
It’s always a well-kept secret whom Speak Up Newport will honor with its SUNshine award each year.
I was thrilled when former state Sen. Marian Bergeson took the stage and revealed this year’s winner was her good friend Evelyn Hart.
Hart is a former Newport city councilwoman and mayor, and was the driving force behind getting the Oasis Senior Center built.
It was a magical moment. Hart accepted the award with grace and humor and bounded off the stage.
Of course the main event of the night was Newport Mayor Keith Curry’s speech.
Seated right next to Curry was Orange County Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh.
As Curry took the stage I could see Baugh smiling broadly.
Curry’s speech was well-rehearsed and well executed. However, as he spoke, I felt like he was auditioning for a part.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Curry had higher political aspirations. It’s a logical next step for this two-time mayor.
In his speech Curry praised Newport’s new Civic Center, talked about how the increased dock fees would help the harbor, and expressed pride that there are millions in reserve in city coffers.
He also spoke about revitalizing the city’s NBTV channel – something former Mayor Nancy Gardner talked about at great length in her speech last year.
But NBTV went nowhere under Gardner, though not for her lack of trying.
City staff was less than enthusiastic about this project whenever I talked to them about in the past.
If Curry can find a way to take NBTV out of their realm, then he’s got a chance.
He also acknowledged Moorlach for his negotiations regarding John Wayne Airport and holding the curfew in place.
Though no one would go on record, the buzz during the cocktail reception was that the 10.8 million passenger caps per year will most likely move more toward 12 million with the new agreement.
Drunken gossip – or truth?
You never know at the Mayor’s Dinner.
Between schmoozing, smiles and back stabbing – I mean back slapping – there’s a fine line. But always a heck of a good time.
FIVE-YEAR LOOK BACKS
Jim Gressinger, Publisher and William Lobdell, Editor, announced the Daily Pilot’s 1993 Editorial Advisory Board. Twenty years later and many of the members are still with us and continue to be active in the community. Here is a portion of the preamble and the list, in alphabetical order:
These are among the most involved and influential leaders in our community. As you can see, the board is comprised of a wide variety of interests and diverse concerns. We know that they will be exceptional representatives of the community to the newspaper.
We are very proud that they are all committed to helping us create the most relevant, useful and compelling community newspaper possible.
The board will meet formally four times a year and will critique the newspaper, provide newsworthy story ideas and be available as a background resource on breaking stories.
Roy Alvarado – Latinos Costa Mesa
Lucy Burroughs – Community Activist
Tim Celek – Pastor, Calvary Church, Newport-Mesa
Bill Cote – President, Cote Realty
John Crean – Entrepreneur, philanthropist
Jim Dale – Restaurateur
Jim DeBoom – Trustee, Newport-Mesa Unified School District
Werner Escher – South Coast Plaza
Ed Fawcett – Executive Director, Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce
Judy Frutig – Freelance Journalist
Janice Fuchs – General manager, Fashion Island
David Grant – President, Orange Coast College
Bill Hamilton – Restaurateur, The Cannery
Maria Hedges – Community Activist
LaDonna Kienitz– City Librarian, Newport Beach Public Library
Lucille Kuehn – Newport Beach Library board member
Richard Luehrs – Executive Director, Newport Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce
Karen McGlinn, Executive Director, SOS
Maxine Montgomery – Vice President-Mgr. Prudential California Realty
Linda Mook – Teacher, Corona del Mar High School
John Moorlach – Businessman, GOP activist
Tom Redwitz, Vice President Land Development, The Irvine Company
Paul Salata, Businessman
Marie Schock – Businesswoman
Nancy Skinner – Environmentalist
Dave Snowden – Police Chief, Costa Mesa
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