OK, let's talk about marinas, shall we? Over at the CM Press the self-appointed purveyor of all knowledge continues to rant about wanting the city to pursue the creation of a marina along the Santa Ana River. He talks of "poking a crummy stick in the dirt so the ocean can refill the silted over bay that exists between the Santa Ana River and the bluffs."
Now, I know this guy has made a big deal of being a Mensa member in the past, but that kind simplistic suggestion leads me to believe he may have been sloughing off brain cells by the wheelbarrow-load recently. Then, again, it's possible that he recognizes that the audience he must convince on this scheme is his hand-picked majority on the city council and any kind of a more complex presentation of the situation will go right over their heads. When it comes to convincing them he's following the old KISS principle - Keep It Simple, Stupid. It seems to have been an effective tactic recently, because the majority on the council and most of their appointees on commissions always seem to nod their heads in agreement like so many bobble-head dolls when he pontificates in front of them
This pipe dream was cast aside two decades ago and it still isn't a good idea - particularly when it's proposed just to satisfy one guy's perverted wish to be able to dangle his toes in the ocean from a Costa Mesa location.
A few of the issues to consider include the following:
Who, specifically, would own this marina? It seems likely that Newport Beach would have first dibs, since it would front on the Banning Ranch property for the most part - a chunk of land their city leaders have recently decided to pursue.
What of Pacific Coast Highway? A major replacement bridge, similar to the Back Bay Bridge, would be necessary to permit watercraft to move upstream to the marina. Few boats could make it under the present bridge.
What kind of jetty would be required at the mouth of the river? Anything resembling those forming the entrance to Newport Harbor would certainly adversely affect the beaches to the south. On the other hand, the northern jetty might re-create The Wedge, Mecca for rabid body surfers and others with a water-activated death wish.
What of the homes in West Newport? Any widening of the river mouth to permit an entrance to a marina would very likely adversely affect those homes - perhaps requiring several to be removed.
One writer to this blog recently speculated that any marina created in the river would be connected to Newport Harbor via channels below the Banning Ranch property. This adds to the question of ownership.
And, with that in mind, maybe this marina wouldn't be accessed via the Santa Ana River mouth at all. Maybe it is reached via those channels from Newport Harbor. That would mean a nice, leisurely 90 minute chug from slip to sea. Sounds inviting, doesn't it?
Several thoughtful comments on this issue have been posted to an earlier blog entry. They can be read here.
With the track record our city council has in dealing with other government entities of late, I shudder at the specter of them trying to orchestrate an agreement between Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Cal Trans, the Coastal Commission and any number of other entities with a real or perceived interest in such a project.
On the positive side, we might even be able to get Bob Graham's 19th Street Bridge out of such a deal. Yeah, right!
Costa Mesa has plenty of real problems with which deal without fabricating a pie-in-the-sky fiasco that would take up valuable staff time, waste precious financial resources and divert the council's attention from real issues. If our pal at the CM Press has such a burning desire to live in a true "coastal city", I suggest that he simply pick up his bags and move to a city that already is one - like Newport Beach, Huntington Beach or Dana Point, for example. I'm sure he would be welcomed to any of those places with open arms (he says, tongue firmly planted in his cheek). I'll hold the door for him.