BlipsNews Briefs

Blips on the Radar, May 8 ed

Brian Cleveland Dunn to be in court again

What Happened: An Orange County judge rescheduled a pre-trial hearing for Brian Cleveland Dunn, a county contractor accused of misappropriating funds, to May 8. According to court records, the pre-trial hearing was continued by the judge during a March 13 appearance. It was the third time Dunn’s pre-trial hearing has been rescheduled. Dunn’s first court appearance was Nov. 3, 2014. He has since appeared at Orange County Superior Court for a pre-trial hearing on Nov. 20, 2014, Jan. 29 and March 13. The May 8 pre-trial hearing was set for 8:30 a.m. in Department C55 at the Orange County Superior Court’s Central Branch in Santa Ana.

What’s On Tap: The pre-trial hearing occurred after press time. Any updates on the May 8 hearing will be published on The Log’s website and social media channels, followed by a report in our May 22 issue. Dunn, 61, could face trial, reach a settlement with prosecutors or have his pre-trial hearing rescheduled yet again.

Comment period closed for Pacific bluefin tuna proposed rule

What Happened: The public comment period for a proposed rule to modify recreational catch limits and filleting-at-sea procedures south of Point Conception officially closed May 6, according to Federal Register and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

“The proposed regulations would reduce the existing bag limit of 10 Pacific bluefin tuna per day to two Pacific bluefin tuna per day and the maximum multiday possession limit (i.e., for trips of three days or more) from 30 to six,” federal officials explained. “The proposed U.S. recreational limits would not apply to U.S. anglers while in Mexico’s waters, but to facilitate enforcement and monitoring, the limits would apply to U.S. vessels in the U.S. [economic zone] or landing to U.S. ports, regardless of where the fish were harvested.”

What’s On Tap: All submitted comments will be considered by NMFS and federal officials and could factor into the fishery’s final ruling, which is expected to be issued in November.

Sea lions to be given dedicated barge at King Harbor

What Happened: Redondo Beach’s City Council approved a 700-square-foot barge to be installed in King Harbor to serve as a place for sea lions to congregate. The council’s decision, made April 21, spawned from a recent spate of sea lion interactions with boaters and everyday visitors at King Harbor.

Council members did not approve the sea lion dock to be an attraction but instead to help the pinnipeds co-exist with humans with minimal damage or harm.

What’s On Tap: The wooden dock could be installed in the harbor’s main channel within six weeks and cost $53,000, according to news reports. Money from the city’s tidelands fund would be used to pay for the barge. Once built, the barge could reportedly hold up to 116 sea lions.

Newport Beach to match maintenance grant funds for Balboa Angling Club

What Happened: Newport Beach’s City Council approved a consent calendar item at its April 29 meeting to match maintenance grant funding up to $40,000 for Balboa Angling Club to make building repairs and structural foundation upgrades. Balboa Angling Club, considered the hub of Newport Beach’s fishing activities, operates out of a city-owned building at 200 A Street on the Balboa Peninsula.

“During a recent structural inspection, the [Balboa Angling Club] discovered that several of the support concrete piles and the related structural beams under the building were deteriorating,” city staff stated in a report to council members.

City staff reported the anticipated budget for construction could reach $80,000 and the one-to-one matching demonstrated goodwill and would encourage the local community to help Balboa Angling Club raise its half of the estimated budget.

“The angling club provided a lot of benefit,” Mayor Ed Selich, who proposed the matching funds, said. “It operates and promotes youth programs for fishing.”

Selich added Balboa Angling Club also helped restore the local white seabass population and has an official public weighing station for anglers to weigh their catch.

“It’s part of the culture and ambience of our harbor,” Selich said.

What’s On Tap: Balboa Angling Club is expected to begin fundraising. Newport Beach will match any funds the club raises, up to $40,000.

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