|Coral Cay one of Huntington Harbors many treasurers.|
March 28, 2019, Huntington Beach Civic Center at 5:00 PM room B7 in a dark dungeons cave below city hall the city of Huntington Beach gave birth to the long-awaited Harbor Commission for Huntington Harbor.
City council members Erik Peterson and Lyn Semeta were present for greetings, introductions and a quick review of the recently added Municipal Code 2.65. IE: Duties and Responsibilities
Municipal Code 2.65. The Harbor Commission shall act in an advisory capacity to the City Council in all matters pertaining to the Huntington Beach Harbor, its beaches, facilities, and parks. The primary role of the Harbor Commission is to advise City Council concerning Waterway Safety, General Infrastructure (e.g. seawalls, pier headlines, bulkheads, etc.), Water Quality and Municipal Code Amendments. The Harbor Commission shall cooperate with other governmental agencies and civic groups in the advancement of the Huntington Harbor and recreational planning under the direction of the City Council. Harbor Commissioners may study, report and interpret the needs of the public to the City Council and may assist in securing financial support from the community for the Huntington Harbor, its beaches, parks and recreational needs. The Harbor Commission may review the annual budget as presented to the City Council and advise them on the current operational needs and long-range plans for capital improvement. In addition, the Harbor Commission shall advise the City Council on any other matters concerning the Huntington Harbor when so requested by the Council. The Harbor Commission may hold hearings on any matter concerning the commercial and recreational development of the Huntington Harbor; advise the City Council on proposed Huntington Harbor related improvements; make recommendations to City Council for adoption of regulations and programs necessary for the ongoing implementation of the goals, objectives, and policies of the Huntington Harbor; advise the City Council on implementation of dredging priorities; advise to City Council in all matters pertaining to the use, control, operation, promotion, and regulation of vessels and watercraft within the Huntington Harbor; finally, make recommendations to City Council concerning the acquisition, disposition, or repair of equipment, facilities, materials, and supplies relating the Huntington Harbor.
Your Harbor Commissioners are Interim Chairman Bill Larkin and Vice Chair Michael VanVoorhis who was elected as the commission’s first action item by the commission of Alfred Balitzer, Craig Schauppner, John Achs, Kimberley Milligan and Renee Hunter. The chairs are interim at this time to get into the city cycle of changing chairs for the different city commissions. City staff consisted of Community Services manager Chris Slama and Administrative Assistant Carrie Gonzales. In my opinion, the City Council and Staff selected the commission by life achievements all doing very well in the business world and living on the harbor’s waterfront. To me, it is the best place to start while the commissioners legacy will be earned by the tasks completed during their tenure.
My analogy of the first Huntington Beaches Harbor Commission meeting was like watching a basket full of one-month old puppies energetically jumping around and getting a feel for their new surroundings. The hard work of potty training and patience will be rubbed into their faces until they have earned the trust of today’s city council members or get elected onto the council themselves.
Two observations from the meeting chaff me the wrong way: One is that the meetings start at 5:00 PM in a small little dungeness room, which is very convenient for staff because their day ends at 5:00 and there is no lag time between the end of the day and the start of the meeting. My other objection is that the public is left feeling very out of place in this format of only being able to speak at the start of the meeting on only topics that are not on the agenda during Public Comment. To obtain better public interaction consideration should be given to changing the starting time to 6:30 PM and allowing public comment at the start of the meeting and at the end of every agenda topic before voting or receiving and filing an item. My ears did perk up when I heard, I think it was Kim Milligan, request an item be placed on further agendas which were adding lights to the channel markers around the harbor. Now that’s an indication of an active harbor user making strong observations which is very encouraging.