Blips on the radar — Aug. 14 ed.

Brian Cleveland Dunn returns to court again

What Happened: A county contractor accused of misappropriating funds while operating a business at Dana Point Harbor was in court again on July 28. Brian Cleveland Dunn, whose accusations will be scrutinized during a scheduled jury trial in September, appeared in Department C5 of the Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana for a pre-trial hearing and case disposition. However, Dunn’s attorney, Gary Pohlson, requested the hearing be rescheduled.

What’s On Tap: Dunn and the prosecution will return to Department C5 on Aug. 27 for the rescheduled pre-trial hearing, according to the courtroom clerk. The jury trial remains scheduled for Sept. 22 as originally planned.

Judge sentences former Dana Point yacht broker to seven years in prison

What Happened: The Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced the sentencing of Edward S. Fitzgerald to a seven-year prison term. Fitzgerald, a former yacht broker in Dana Point, was sentenced for stealing nearly $1.5 million from more than two dozen people between 2007 and 2009. The 62-year-old owned and managed Dana Island Yacht Sales and Charters as well as a brokerage.

Fitzgerald was arrested in 2013 in Florida and extradited to Orange County to face charges of theft, grand theft, intent to defraud and making untrue statements.

Prosecutors argued Fitzgerald defrauded friends and acquaintances, borrowing funds from them to purchase boats for resale. However, the prosecution alleged Fitzgerald instead used the money to pay off previous investors and for personal expenses until 2009, when he disappeared. A Sheriff’s Department investigation resulted in Fitzgerald’s discovery and capture in Florida four years later.

What’s On Tap: Fitzgerald is expected to begin his seven-year prison term.

Port of San Diego supports submerged lands bill

What Happened: The Port of San Diego’s Board of Port Commissioners expressed its unanimous support of Assembly Bill 729 (AB 729) at a special meeting held July 22. The legislation proposes to transfer all submerged lands under the control of State Lands Commission inside and outside of San Diego Bay to the San Diego Unified Port District.

If AB 729 passes and is signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, the bill would require the port district to operate the submerged lands under the Public Trust doctrine and split with the state any revenues generated from the granted areas.

Assembly member Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) introduced AB 729 earlier this year.

“This agenda item supports the [port’s] strategic goals [of establishing] a financially sustainable port that drives regional job creation and regional economic vitality [and maintain] … a healthy and sustainable bay and its environment,” port staff stated in a report to commissioners.

What’s On Tap: AB 729 still needs to be voted on in the Assembly and State Senate. If the bill gains support in both houses, it would then be forward to Brown’s office for signature or veto.

San Diego port commissioners look to future with master plan update

What Happened: The Port of San Diego’s Board of Port Commissioners endorsed a plan to realize a draft master plan update, which would significantly alter the region’s waterfront.

Commissioners hope to realize an Integrated Planning Port Master Plan Update during the next few decades, with millions of development dollars potentially invested into San Diego Harbor to make it a major destination for boaters, professionals, residents and tourists. The board voted on July 22 to move forward with plans to move forward with a draft master plan and cultivate additional resources to ensure the planning process moves forward as smoothly as possible.

The commission sought to have the draft master plan incorporate location-specific strategies, weigh the economic impacts of each planned project and establish environmental justice as a standalone element.

What’s On Tap: Port staff will work on drafting the master plan update.

Lido Marina Village Farmer’s Market relocates

What Happened: The Newport Beach City Council voted to move the Sprouts of Promise Farmer’s Market to the base of Newport Pier.

The market has not been in operation since November due to construction at the Lido Marina Village shopping center. It has operated in Lido Marina Village since June 2010. 

What’s On Tap: Shoppers can find fresh produce and goods at the market from 8 a.m.-2 p.m., Sundays at McFadden Square in Newport Beach beginning Sept. 13.

Santa Barbara to reactivate decommissioned desalination plant

What Happened: In July, Santa Barbara city leaders approved a design/build/operate contact with IDE Americas, Inc. to re-commission the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant to meet approximately 30 percent of the community’s water demands.  

The City Council made the decision to spend more than $28 million to reactivate the desalination plant that was shut down in 1992 after the drought came to an end despite several residents speaking in opposition to the plant. 

Santa Barbara is only one of several California cities considering desalination projects due to the drought. 

What’s On Tap: The plant is scheduled to be in service September 2016 and will produce 3,125 acre-feet of potable water for the city’s customers.

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