Friday, December 07, 2018

On the Harbor: Special Harbor Commission meeting aboard the Balboa ferry

Harbor Commissioner Don Yann reviews his objectives for the upcoming year aboard the Balboa ferry
Just in case you were wondering, I did attend the November 17 special meeting of the Harbor Commission aboard one of the Balboa car ferries. About 50 people were greeted to a cool crisp Saturday morning harbor tour, where six harbor commissioners reviewed their objectives for the coming year.
Public attendance was encouraging, yet questions were slim to none, and the whole tour felt a little rushed to me, missing some of the topics, that in my opinion, are important. But hey, let’s stay positive because being negative really slows down an already slow process. 
Personally, I feel the city has a strong group of volunteers that form the Harbor Commission, and as a seat-of-the-pants sailor, I feel they all have a positive passion for the well-being of our harbor.
Among the items of importance in the coming year are the changes in Title 17 of the municipal code that covers our harbor. Most everything that governs our harbor is in Title 17, so whenever you notice public outreach meetings on this topic, be sure to attend and express your opinions. I will do my best to keep you updated along the way.
One very positive sign I noticed was that Harbor Commissioner Scott Cunningham has taken the helm regarding harbor dredging. This is an overwhelming task that deals with more than seven different government agencies, with an estimated cost of $22 million to complete. The money and the permits are the lower hurdles; where to place more than 200,000 cubic yards of unsuitable material is, comparatively, the high jump. Last time the city dredged less than 10 years ago, the Port of Long Beach was accepting these materials to fill in a new commercial port. I clearly recall staff expressing how difficult it would be if the city was unable to bring these materials into Long Beach for disposal.

On another positive note is the increased effort in code enforcement in the harbor, which has been overlooked for too long. If I heard Assistant City Manager Carol Jacobs correctly, there will be added code enforcement in the harbor very soon. Like I have said before, my concerns are the continuity of the enforcement.
After the harbor tour, I went around to the different yacht clubs to gain an understanding of each club being required to complete a permit for events that exceed the harbor’s speed limit. Permits can be obtained up to six months in advance. I was unclear if this is for all regattas or just the events where vessels exceed the speed limit. Sailing events and yacht clubs will not be the only harbor users that require a permit.
I want to shout out to all the people who came up to me after the meeting and thanked me for writing my column. I do appreciate your comments and thank you all for your heartfelt remarks.
So, let’s wrap up the year by making sure you attend the Harbor Commission meeting at Marina Park on Wednesday, Dec.12 at 6:30 p.m., and if you can, arrive earlier for the study session that begins at 5 p.m., which will be focused on the Harbor Vision committee. As one of those under 30-foot boat owners, this topic is a big concern to me with the loss of so many smaller slips being eaten up by marina operators who would like to increase their marinas with large slips.

I also have some breaking news...the city has hired Kurt Borsting as our new Harbormaster. From a quick Google search, Borsting is coming from the City of Long Beach, where he has been the superintendent for Marine Operations. My sources indicate that Borsting will likely be attending the Harbor Commission meeting and be introduced there.
One last thing before I leave you, how many of you read The Log article by Parimal Rohit on November 11: “Duffy Boats founder narrowly loses re-election campaign?” Well, according to the Orange County Registrar of Voters, on Sunday morning, December 2, they certified that all ballots had been counted. In District 3, Marshall “Duffy” Duffield with 18,458 votes and 50.05 percent defeated Tim Stoaks, who garnered 18,422 votes and 49.95 percent, with Duffield winning by only 36 votes.
I had a chance to talk to Duffield that Sunday morning while walking the docks to congratulate him on his victory. He just said, “Yea, wasn’t that something,” and shook his head. I was not about to go on the record with him at that time, so we talked about Harbor 20 sailing and boat building. As far as I am concerned, this is fantastic news and wraps up a very constructive year for our harbor. More breaking news! It appears at the time of writing this there may be a recount. Very similar to being protested on the race course looks like we might be headed to the protest room.

Sea ya
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for StuNewsNewport.

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