The First Lady of Newport Beach
Lynn Selich balances a busy public life with the calm of the water.
What’s a perfect day for Lynn Selich? Heading to Catalina with her husband, Ed, the mayor of Newport Beach, aboard their 43-foot fishing boat, Fast Eddie, with their toy Chihuahua, Charlie, in tow.
If anyone in Newport Beach is busier than the mayor, it might be the mayor’s wife, Lynn Selich. Her media presence is formidable. Tune in KOCI radio and you might catch her talk show, ”Sunday Brunch with Tom and Lynn,” which she co-hosts with Tom Johnson. Switch on NBTV, the local public television station, and you might see her interviewing auteurs at the Newport Beach Film Festival or speaking with crowds at the holiday boat parade. Selich writes a weekly column for the Newport Beach Independent. She runs an online magazine, OCSocialScene.com, devoted to society news. She also serves on the city’s Arts Commission and is an independent marketing consultant. The 50-year-old art collector and amateur violinist married Edward D. Selich, now the mayor of Newport Beach, in 2009.
Avid boaters, the Seliches spend about 30 days a year visiting Catalina Island on their 43-foot fishing boat, Fast Eddie. They also like to cruise Newport Harbor in their Duffy and bike for exercise along the Back Bay and Balboa Peninsula. Lynn is a familiar sight on her seafoam green Pedego electric bicycle, with her black-and-tan toy Chihuahua, Charlie, riding in a rear-mounted doggie carrier.
My neighborhood: Promontory Bay in Newport Beach. I’ve been there almost eight years.
Why I live there: We love the water. I was a boater before I met Ed. One of the things that brought us together was our love of boating and fishing and just being on the water. It’s a great location, close to the market and City Hall. Ed moved there because he likes convenience – and, well, I moved into Ed’s house.
Favorite spot: Lately, it’s been the patio at Kitiyama, the Japanese restaurant at Jamboree and Bristol. I lived in Japan for a while when I was young, so I love Japanese food. It’s very tranquil. They have a rock garden. It’s nice to sit outside and get away from everything.
Only restaurant I can’t live without: Bamboo Bistro. I go there probably once a week. The phó is great, and the Vietnamese crêpe – it’s like a rice crêpe with shrimp and vegetables and chicken – is amazing.
My perfect day: It’s when we go to Catalina, leaving at the break of dawn. You pull out of the harbor, and the water is nice and glassy. It’s a straight shot over there. Once we drop anchor, I’m in charge of the galley – all the food, drinks, snacks. Typically, we’ll meet friends with their boats. At the end of the day, we’ll take a dinghy into Avalon for a nice meal, or barbecue on the boat. I’m not looking at an iPhone, I’m not looking at a computer. In Avalon, you could be anywhere – in the south of France, or off the coast of Spain.
Alternate get-away destination: We have a home in Palm Desert. If we’re not in Avalon, we’re in Palm Desert. I like the dry air. It’s a very calming place, and our lives are so busy. I love the sound of the wind in the palm trees and just sitting out by the pool.
My sanctuary: Any boat that I’ve ever owned is my sanctuary. My father went to China and had a huge Chinese junk built, which I bought from him and owned until 2008. I would go up there and work. It was in Rainbow Marina in Long Beach. The light that would reflect off the water into that wooden boat was very magical for me.
Favorite late-night haunt: Bayside Restaurant. I love live music. They have great musicians there, and it’s beautiful inside – a lot of wood and it faces the water. They have an awesome, lanai-style patio. The food and service are very good.
Favorite place to shop that isn’t a chain: I do most of my Christmas shopping on Balboa Island, and I love the store called Island Home. I know I can always find a quality gift there, and whether it’s a decorative pillow, coffee-table book or a small monogrammed sachet, they wrap everything beautifully.
Dodgers or Angels? Angels.
Red wine or white? Red.
Best celebrity encounter: Rick Caruso is not really a celebrity, but he’s such a rock-star developer. Ed and I had the opportunity to go aboard his 216-foot mega-yacht when it was here about a year ago. The next day he was having Elon Musk on board. Ed said it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
My pet peeve: It’s going to sound cliché, but ignorance. I don’t know what bothers me most, ignorance or arrogance.
Favorite political figure besides your husband? Teddy Roosevelt, because of the quote “It’s not the critic… but the man in the arena.”
The entire quote is so powerful, in my opinion: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Even if you’re not in politics, anybody who tries to do something for the greater good, especially these days, is subject to so much criticism. It upsets me.