Letters/Online Comments

Editorial: Should Dock Fees Affect a Holiday Boat Parade?

Boaters who own waterfront docks in Newport Beach have been getting nowhere in convincing city council members that the proposed increases in residential dock fees — set to rise from a flat $100 per year to as much as $3,000, depending on the pier size — were excessive, unfair and ill-timed.            

When a meeting was planned for Nov. 28 to discuss and finalize those fees, desperate times called for desperate measures, one group of homeowners decided. And so, they called for a boycott of the upcoming 104th annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights waterfront home decorating event.            

They definitely got everyone’s attention. And the threat made national news.            

If waterfront homeowners decide not to decorate their homes or put lighted boats in the local boat parade this year, the city will get a lot less tax revenue — because fewer spectators coming to town for the event would mean fewer people spending money here, boycott proponents told city officials.            

At the Nov. 28 meeting, the city council decided to put off making any decision on the dock fee increase plan until Dec. 11 — just days before the Dec. 19-23 boat parade.            

Homeowners who are calling for a boat parade boycott said it will emphasize just how much local residents who have private docks at their homes actually contribute to the community — and how their contributions would be missed, if they were to suddenly pull out of this important local event.            

Unfortunately, if such a boycott actually occurred, city officials would not be the ones who experience the pain. That pain would be shared by hundreds of local business owners — many of whom just received notice that they, too, will be paying big fee increases to the city on their own boat docks, piers and slips.            

There must be a better way to make the point, and to get city officials to enact a more reasonable dock fee plan.

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