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Art Smith Letter to City Council Member and City Staff

From: Art Smith <deleted for privacy here>
Subject: Newport Moorings
Date: Friday, February 13, 2009, 8:58 AM

Homer and Nancy:
My name is Art Smith and I reside with my family at [address deleted for privacy here] in Corona del Mar. I am a mooring owner and have owned mooring A-11 for over 10 years. I am writing you regarding the Harbor Fee Study and the Netzer appraisal in particular.
First of all, it is important to realize that the Newport Beach moorings allow people like our family to keep a boat in Newport Harbor.  We could not afford to keep our boat in the harbor if not for the low-cost alternative of having a mooring. Mooring A-11 is located adjacent to K street off the Balboa Peninsula. When we first got the mooring we were able to keep a dingy at a friends house near K Street so we could get out to the boat. Our friend sold the house and we had no way to get to the boat. If you know where K street is then you know that there are no public docks or facilities to keep a dingy anywhere near by. We joined Balboa Yacht Club so that we could have access to their shore boat to get to the mooring. While A-11 is not a BYC mooring their shore boat will service it. We now pay about $200 a month for the privilege of getting out to our mooring.
I love having a mooring but moorings are anything but convenient. I have to bring the boat to a dock when I need mechanical work done or to wash the boat down. I have to go out to the boat every two weeks, rain or shine, to run the generator to keep the batteries charged. When a boat is on a mooring it is more of a target for bird guano and sea lions so it requires more covers and deterrents to keep them off. This means it takes me an hour to get the covers and deterrents on or off before or after using the boat.  As you know mooring owners have to pay for their mooring buoys, weights and chain to be serviced regularly. It is also not uncommon for my mooring lines to be run over and damaged or destroyed by inattentive boaters when my boat is off the mooring.  I am sure you get the picture that there is a lot of work and many costs associated with keeping a boat on a mooring.
Now, having said all that I do believe an increase in mooring fees is appropriate. I just think any increase needs to be reasonable, and not the quadrupling of fees called for in the Netzer appraisal. I also believe it is appropriate to put controls in place to keep people from buying and selling moorings for profit. Lastly I would like to see the city justify the net loss of $18,000,000 for the tidelands operation.
I am not one to send messages to my elected representatives. This is one of very few times I have written a city or an elected official. But I do believe this is an important issue that requires your attention. Thank you for reading my correspondence and considering the needs of your constituents.
Art Smith
<Address, phone withheld for privacy in posting here>