By Jill Cowan
7:01 PM PST, November 14, 2012
Newport Beach Mayor Nancy Gardner may soon celebrate the end of her mayorship, but she won't be doing it Saturday morning.
At Tuesday night's City Council meeting, Gardner invited residents to her last "Meet the Mayor" event, which will be a walk through Santa Ana Heights — and past Newport Beach Winery.
"We're not going to be drinking. It'll be 9 a.m," she quipped.
The roughly 2.2-mile walk will take off from Fire Station No. 7 at 20401 Acacia St. at 9 a.m., though residents are welcome to join the group anywhere along the route. Light refreshments will be served back at the fire station.
Gardner, who led a similar walk around Buck Gully last spring and a "Paddle with the Mayor" event last month, said they were her way of getting to know her constituents.
"[Mayor Pro Tem] Keith Curry had started a nice thing, 'Meet the Mayor,'" she said, when he was mayor two years ago. Curry would let the public know he'd be available to chat at a certain place at a given time — a little like mayoral office hours.
Gardner said she gave the events her own personal twist.
"I thought, well, if I invite people and nobody comes, at least I'm getting my exercise," she said. Gardner said she'll walk and talk, pausing periodically to point out various historical or environmental tidbits.
"I think this'll be an interesting walk," she said. "There have been some controversies up there, and some environmental things up there. I think it'll be fun."
As for the end of her mayorship, she said, "I'm looking forward to taking my place as an ordinary [council] member. I won't be leading the meetings, so my mind can wander occasionally."