By Len Bose
I should name this piece “short and sweet” because that’s how last night's Harbor Commission Meeting went. My routine is to arrive about 15 minutes late to miss all the roll call and introduction. Although with this commission, by the time I walked in they were halfway through the meeting and Chris Miller was stepping up to give his Harbor Manager Resources Update. A number of issues caught my attention this month. It appears that the Sheriff's Dept. will be bringing a new mooring management proposal to the table; local harbor activist Carter Ford has made progress with the Coast Guard in having the Channel Marker #8 “ramming rod” removed sooner rather than latter; and the (SWRCB) has taken two steps back on the Coastal Marina Permits. I also found a couple other observations this week around the harbor.
After the surprise visit by Sheriff Sandra Hutchens into the mooring group meeting held at the Sheriff’s Harbor Dept. on Wednesday, March 3, informing Harbor Manager Chris Miller that the Sheriff's Dept. would like to sharpen their pencils and return with a new cost estimate to keep the mooring management agreement – this issue will now be discussed further in a Newport City Council meeting study session on April 13 – and then brought before council at the end of April or the first part of May. There's a lot of information written on this topic in the Daily Pilot and The Log. The way I see it, we need to compare apples to apples before voicing our options to council. Last night, commissioner Ralph Rodheim brought up the fact that the Sheriffs Dept. doesn't charge the city for special events, such as the Christmas Boat Parade, and allows us to store the lifeguard boats at no charge in their marina. With a loss in revenue, the Sheriffs Dept. might have to reconsider these issues. Lots to talk about on this subject. I suggest on attending the study session or at least view it on the city’s Web site athttp://www.newportbeachca.gov/index.aspx?page=701.
The word last night was that Carter Ford has made some progress in removing the damaged #8 Channel Marker in what I referred to as the “Ram Rod” of Newport in my last week's article. If I heard Chris correctly, the Coast Guard can spend $5,000 on a project before having to take the issue up the ladder. Carter may have found the way to have the pole removed before summer. WELL DONE Carter Ford!
We've all been reading about The California State Water Resources Control Board or (SWRCB) Coastal Marina Permit that would require marina owners to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year monitoring the water within their marina. There is nothing in writing yet, but from the outside it appears that the (SWRCB) has taken two steps back and will look at just having the marina operators keep a “green marina” ... whatever that means. This issue is NOT DEAD yet by any means. So send in that letter to your state representative that’s been sitting on your desk for the last six months, and we can work together to finally close this deal. Did I say close this deal? It now appears that the EPA still likes this idea and will continue to move forward focusing now on commercial ship marinas.
This week, I helped a client of mine transfer his mooring and while doing so the thought came to mind that should the city give the mooring assignment to Bellport we would lose Sally who has been the mooring's office manager. This is completely unacceptable to me because Sally has been doing an outstanding job over the many years I have known her, and to lose her would outweigh any advantage Bellport might offer. So city council, please make sure that Sally is part of the deal, should you decide to give the contract to Bellport. I have dealt with Bellport over the years and I compare it to dealing with the Irvine Company. I'm sure everyone has experienced that feeling before.
While in the Harbor Dept. office, I noticed a sign informing the boating community that US Customs is again accepting phone calls to (562) 366-3200 for permission to cross the border and bypass the customs dock in San Diego. This tip might save you a few hours should you be allowed to continue to your destination.
The last thing that was brought to my attention this week was an improvement to the Newport Mooring Association web page at www.newportmooringassociation.org, then click on News. This now makes this site a daily read. There's lots going on this week on the water, so please check back next week for inside information on the upcoming Cabo Race, Lido 14 twilights and the New Island Race being held this weekend at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club.
Len Bose is a contributing writer to the Daily Voice and owner of Len Bose Yacht Sales.