Goodbye to Mr. Bludau

With Barbara’s opening theme, I must confess that I did have my “rebellious” years.  In retrospect, they were very brief.  In fact, they ended at age 19 shortly after I returned from my Aunt and Uncle’s home in Nampa, Idaho (near Boise). 

I had visited Uncle Ed and Aunt Alida on a ski trip.  From the OC I drove to and skied Park City, Alta and Snowbird, then Sun Valley, and ended the fun at Bogus Basin, some 17 miles north of downtown Boise.

My Uncle Ed passed away on September 3rd.  At his memorial I eulogized that Uncle Ed introduced me to the Sermon on the Mount and that, after reading Matthew 5 through 7, it changed my life.

Consequently, after reaching the age of 21, I never did the “club” scene.  I just focused on my education and career.  In fact, I completed college around my 22nd birthday and had already started with the C.P.A. firm that I would be with for the next 18 years.

The overall focus of Barbara’s remarks were on the commemoration of Homer Bludau’s retirement as Newport Beach’s City Manager.

Homer gave a sincere speech.  The Daily Pilot even used the last quote below as their headline.

“I feel blessed — I’ve always seen myself as a public servant,” Bludau said, later quoting the Bible where Jesus said “‘I come not to be served, but to serve.’”

Have a great weekend.  Party on.  Be safe.

Partying with retiring Newport Beach honcho’s well-wishers

City manager Homer Bludau overwhelmed with the turnout

Barbara Venezia: Food for Thought

By BARBARA VENEZIA

CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST

When I used to party on a Thursday night, I’d roll into Studio 54 about 11 p.m. and end the evening at the infamous after-hours club “Crisco Disco” on West 15th and 10th in NYC. Sunrise, I’d do the “walk of shame” through the lobby of my building hoping the doormen wouldn’t notice me in the same gold lame disco pants and platform shoes from the night before. On the subway ride to work, I’d promise myself “no more mid week parties!” That was of course until next week. What a difference a few decades makes!

My thoughts of the good old days of half naked bartenders and the throbbing music of the disco classic “It’s Raining Men” were fleeting through my mind as I entered the retirement party for Newport’s city manager, Homer Bludau, Thursday, Sept. 10. As I walked into the Marriott Fashion Island, it was a sea of who’s who of local politics. I thought, “Wonder what they were doing in the late ’70s? Probably not the same thing I was.”

County officials like Supervisor John Moorlach and ex-Supervisor Tom Wilson were on hand, as were city managers from all over the county, including a very well-dressed Alan Roeder, Costa Mesa’s city manager.

There were lobbyists galore; political consultants; former and current NB council members; past mayors. Hundreds packed the ballroom. Even the dashing OC Republican head honcho Scott Baugh was there. (Scott told me I never say anything nice about him in my columns, well Scott; you did look rather handsome, so there.)

Whenever I attend these events there are always surprises. Former Sen. Marian Bergeson was eager to share with me that she knows I don’t like her, but enjoys my column each week anyway. (True, I’m not a big fan of hers, but that was a new one for me.) I thanked her graciously and I’ll work on that opinion thing.

Before all the pomp and circumstance of the evening began, I spent a few moments with the man of the hour, Homer. I’ve worked with him and consider him a friend; he was a bundle of raw emotion. Overwhelmed with gratitude he told me, “It’s a bit surreal, beyond my wildest dreams that so many people are here.” He went on to say, “Well, maybe some are here to make sure I really do retire!”

Homer’s had a successful run no doubt. A city manager’s job isn’t easy. It’s a delicate balance of doing what’s right for residents, while at the same time appeasing the political agendas of a consistently changing council with various personality challenges. It’s amazing he lasted 10 years.

Homer’s lovely wife, Janet, was seated by his side, as were two tables of family. Mayor Ed Selich joked he set up a Twitter site, www. Follow-homer-into-retirement .com. What can we follow Homer doing? Among other interests, he’s an avid bird watcher. Ed presented him with a parting gift of a trip to Hawaii.

As I exited the ballroom, I couldn’t help but feeling good about how I party these days on a Thursday night and the Gloria Gaynor song “I Will Survive” streaming in my head.

Freelance writer Barbara Venezia’s opinion column appears online and in The Current every Friday. Email BV at bvontv@earthlink.net

FIVE-YEAR LOOK BACKS

September 17, 1999

The Bond Buyer’s Michael B. Marois and Lynn Sherman did a piece on Richard Meister in “Goldman’s Meister Departs To Head Internet Start-Up.”  Rich worked with the County to assist us in our exit from Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.  You can see from the paragraphs I’ve highlighted that Rich and I kept pretty busy issuing some $1.3 billion in debt.  He is now employed by Merrill Lynch, making me more comfortable about working with this old nemesis again.

He joined Goldman in 1980 as a health care banker and climbed his way up the company’s executive ladder.  Meister was moved to San Francisco from Dallas in 1994 to help build up the company’s West Coast presence.  Shortly afterward, he was selected to head up Goldman’s work on the Orange County bankruptcy recovery effort.

Goldman, along with A. G. Edwards & Sons Inc., underwrote $756 million of recovery certificates of participation and $123 million of taxable pension bonds for the county.  Also in 1995, Meister led Goldman’s underwriting of $278 million of refunding recovery bonds and $155 million of Teeter bonds.

“Rich Meister is gracious and professional,” said Orange County Treasurer John Moorlach.  “He’s a class act and he represented Goldman Sachs extremely well.”

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