Newport Beach yacht owners are having the most massively petulant sad because — with their silt-filled harbor undredged since World War II and their seawalls crumbling — the City Council has to raise money to pay for its at-risk infrastructure. This means the yacht owners will no longer be able to pay … wait for it … one hundred dollars a year for their slip rental. For their triple-decker yachts.
But this has been a stressful season here along the tranquil waterfront lined with multimillion-dollar homes.
An increase in city rental fees for residential docks that protrude over public tidelands created a furor when it was approved last week by the City Council.
It also prompted a call to boycott the boat parade and festival of lights by a group calling itself “Stop the Dock Tax.”
“It costs us thousands of dollars to voluntarily decorate our homes and boats to bring holiday smiles to nearly 1 million people,” organization Chairman Bob McCaffrey wrote to the city. “This year, we are turning off our lights and withdrawing our boats in protest of the massive new dock tax we expect the City Council to levy.”
Bob McCaffrey is going to take his Christmas parade and go home! Where he will not put up lights for the birth of our lord and savior, the baby Jesus! Because someone somewhere needs him to pay for the thing he’s been getting for almost free! Why does the Newport Beach City Council hate Christ?
The city’s five-year plan for the harbor calls for $29 million in long-overdue maintenance. Its silt-filled channels haven’t been fully dredged since the Great Depression. Ancient, leaky sea walls protecting neighborhoods need to be repaired or replaced.
“We have the makings of a perfect storm like they did on the East Coast” during Superstorm Sandy,” said Chris Miller, the city’s harbor resources manager. “The sea walls are nearing the end of their useful life.”
How will these individuals that own multimillion-dollar homes on the ocean ever afford up to $3,200 per year to dock their fancy yacht-boats? How will you plebes live without holiday smiles?
Play us out, Kevin Drum:
No matter how well they do—and the rich have done very, very well over the past few decades—their blood boils at the thought of contributing so much as an extra dime to public coffers, even if the money is specifically earmarked to improve their own communities.
We know where they could find some money.