Blips on the radar — Sept. 11

Avalon raising funds for updated ferry terminal

What Happened: The Avalon City Council voted last month to continue seeking funding for a planned upgrade of the Catalina ferry terminal at Cabrillo Mole.

Council members unanimously supported a resolution to submit a federal grant application through Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (LACMTA) to strengthen the infrastructure at Cabrillo Mole.

Most non-boaters who visit Catalina arrive on the island at Cabrillo Mole, where the ferry ships from Los Angeles, Long Beach, Newport Beach and Dana Point dock. Avalon has already received nearly $3.4 million in grant funding for ferry terminal upgrades.

What’s On Tap: LACMTA will submit the grant application on behalf of Avalon by or before the Oct. 2 deadline. Avalon city staff reports $20 million in funding is available and the grant program requires a 20 percent match. City officials still need to perform a preliminary grant request to determine how much funding to request.

County to hear appeal of planned Marriott project in Marina del Rey

What Happened: Ballona Institute appealed Los Angeles County’s approval of a planned Marriott property in Marina del Rey, alleging the public process was flawed and officials did not properly address how California’s current drought would impact the project and surrounding community.

“We appeal based on numerous problems articulated and communicated to the county from various members of the public,” said Robert van de Hoek, president of Ballona Institute. “New information regarding special status species on the property, as well as drought, cumulative impacts must be addressed.”

Van de Hoek said residents and businesses in a portion of Venice closest to the proposed hotel were not notified of an addendum to the project’s Environment Impact Report. He added the development of the Shores residences, planned redevelopment of Mariners Village, climate change and sea level rise were among the reasons county officials should reconsider moving forward with the Marriott project.

What’s On Tap: The executive office of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will hear Ballona Institute’s appeal on Oct. 6. 

Mexican officials sink boat off Rosarito coast to create underwater park

What Happened: A joint effort involving Baja California government, the Mexican Navy, city of Rosarito and Baja California Artificial Reef Foundation filled Uribe 121, a former patrol vessel with water to sink it and establish an underwater park.

The Rosarito Underwater Park aims to complement the marine biosphere and jumpstart economic and environmental development of land and sea life in the resort town between Tijuana and Ensenada.

Officials and guests boarded Uribe 121 one last time on Aug. 25 before it was immersed into the ocean “by all rules ensuring its well receiving in the marine biosphere.”

What’s On Tap: Uribe 121 will serve as an eco-tourism destination, promoting fishing and scuba diving, among other activities. Officials also hope the underwater park will support research and increase marine life awareness. More information is available at

Jury Trial for Brian Cleveland Dunn begins Sept. 22

What Happened: A businessman accused of misappropriating funds as a county vendor at Dana Point Harbor is expected to return to court on Sept. 22 to begin a jury trial.

Brian Cleveland Dunn, who was arrested last year on allegations of misappropriation or embezzlement of funds by a public officer, grand theft and aggravated white collar crime, will finally have his day in court.

Prosecutors filed six felony counts against Dunn last year; Dunn pleaded not guilty to two of the counts and denied the other four allegations in July.

Dunn posted a $200,000 bail in November 2014.

What’s On Tap: Jury selection is expected to begin Sept. 22.

Dunn is represented by defense attorney Gary M. Pohlson; Brett Brian will try the case on behalf of the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
The jury trial will take place in Department C5 of the Orange County Superior Court, Santa Ana.

Ports of San Diego, Ensenada working on collaboration

What Happened: Representatives from the Ports of San Diego and Ensenada held an introductory meeting Aug. 18, according to the Port of San Diego’s maritime trade staff. The meeting served as an icebreaker, introducing the Port of San Diego’s new leadership to her counterparts in Ensenada. Officials from both ports met for the first time in about one year.

What’s on tap: A Port of San Diego spokesperson stated another meeting could occur later this year and involve Board Chairman Dan Malcolm and new port CEO Randa Coniglio. Officials will likely discuss how to collaborate on key topics impacting both ports, such as sportfishing, tourism and cruise ships.

Ensenada is the first official port welcoming American anglers, boaters and tourists who travel south of the border by sea.


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