Boycotting the Christmas Boat Parade


It was not an easy decision to call for all residential dock owners to boycott the 104th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade & Parade of Lights.  I would never advocate anything that harms our special community.  But this city staff and city council seems determined to levy a new Dock Tax at the December 11th special city council meeting.  Newport Beach is flush with money.  The December 11th meeting will be held in the sparkling new $150 million city hall (dubbed the Taj Mahal by the Orange County Register).  My reasons for boycotting the Christmas Boat Parade are outlined in this Daily Pilot opinion piece.  They city’s logic for imposing a Dock Tax is below the Daily Pilot piece.

Tuesday, December 11th
4:00 p.m.
New Newport Beach City Hall
Next to the Central Library
100 Civic Center Dr.
City Council Chambers



Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012

Commentary: Why we are boycotting the boat parade

By Bob McCaffrey

Many residents have asked why Stop the Dock Tax — representing Newport’s 1,200 residential dock owners – is organizing a boycott of this year’s Christmas Boat Parade.

We thoroughly understand the ramifications of this boycott on our business community, residents and visiting tourists. This is not a cavalier decision; we realize it will have an economic impact. This is a decision borne out of frustration with a city government that has chosen to treat its residents in a high-handed manner.

We are the homeowners that rim Newport Harbor. Every year we joyfully spend thousands of dollars to decorate our homes and boats for more than 1 million visitors to enjoy. We voluntarily spend this money so that children and adults alike can experience this special city that we cherish.

We are happy that the city of Newport Beach receives tax dollars from the packed restaurants and charter boats during the parade. Fashion Island is full, hotels are sold out, our friends at the Chamber of Commerce profit, and families from throughout Southern California see our beautiful community.

The boat parade and Parade of Lights does not happen if we turn off the switch.

We are boycotting this year’s Christmas Boat Parade and Festival of Lights to protest the Newport Beach City Council’s attempt to levy a new tax on our residential boat docks.

In protest of this unnecessary new tax, we are turning off the holiday lights and pulling our boats out of the parade.

We already pay property tax on the value of our docks. The city receives a portion of this tax, but claims it needs more.

Our council fails to understand that Newport Harbor residents are charitable, family-oriented and an integral part of the community’s success.

We are not the council’s piggy bank. Millions of dollars will be made during this year’s Christmas Boat Parade, none of it by us. Our generosity allows others to profit.

This week the council held a hearing to levy the new dock tax. We currently pay a small permit fee of $100. That’s not enough. We realize our responsibility to help pay to keep the harbor vibrant, safe and clean.

But the council has never called, written or asked for a meeting to negotiate. They are attempting to cram down the tax increase, up to 3,000% in some cases.
Once the city gets into our pocketbooks, it never goes away.

The city held a “workshop” three days before Thanksgiving. The workshop was analogous to receiving a lecture from a school teacher.

Eight days later — right after the Thanksgiving weekend — it scheduled the meeting to levy the dock tax. Why the rush to tax?

This week’s council meeting was finally a beginning of a discussion. Hopefully, they have figured out that the dock tax cram-down is an overreach that needs significant review.

Our right to boycott the Christmas Boat Parade is fundamental in our great republic. We choose to exercise this right until this council decides to sit down for a reasonable conversation.

Until then, the lights are out.

BOB MCCAFFREY is chairman of the Newport Beach Dock Owners Assn. and Stop the Dock Tax. He lives in Newport Beach.


 image001.jpgCity Government



The City Strongly Supports the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

Posted Date: 11/28/2012

The City of Newport Beach is aware that a relatively small group of residents is taking out advertisements in area newspapers, urging people to leave holiday lights off and boycott the Christmas Boat Parade. Whether the boycott is true or a threat, we can’t confirm. However, we can give you our perspective on what’s behind this effort.

Those behind the ad campaign have homes with piers along the harbor. Today it costs these residents twenty five cents a day to rent public lands – waters and lands owned by everyone in California – to put a pier on. That’s eight dollars a month. The group and their consultant have been sending out inflammatory, and often false or misleading, information to other residential pier owners in an attempt to block a proposed rent increase.

The State of California actually owns Newport Harbor and an area of land around it. Under and agreement with the State, the City is the “trustee” of these tidelands and is compelled to charge a fair market rent. We admit that for a number of years, there hasn’t been the political will to do so. However, between the legal requirement to charge a fair rent and the City’s need to do a number of important projects to protect the harbor and surrounding properties, it is past time to bring rents to a fair level. These are private uses of public property and we think it is right to ask those private parties to pay their fair share.

We certainly understand why a residential pier owner does not want to pay more rent. A flat $100 per year is a very good deal. But, our proposal is only to bring their rents to the fair market rate and to institute a rate structure that’s fair. Currently, the owner of any pier – whether it’s small, medium or large – pays a flat $100 per year. That’s eight dollars a month. The proposal adopts the recommendations of two independent appraisers and calls for pier owners to pay rent based on the square footage they use for private purposes. If you have a smaller pier, you pay less than the neighbor with the medium-sized pier. Most rents would increase to a range of $300-$600 per year. A few of the largest piers holding the largest yachts could go as high as $2000 per year (about $5.24/day). Yes, that is a significant increase over the $100 / year bargain rate, but it’s equitable and long overdue. We’re also proposing to phase the increase in over a five-year period. Not many landlords offer that kind of deal.

We’re saddened that this group decided to target the Christmas Boat Parade, an event that is very special to our entire community and important to the livelihood of a number of local businesses. Please join us in supporting our beautiful boat parade, one of our community’s much-loved holiday traditions.



Bob McCaffrey
Chairman, Stop The Dock Tax



dock tax - signs - pete bob kathy1.jpg


Call to arrange a time to pick up your Stop The Dock Tax sign.


Robin Lombardo
Waterfront Newport Beach, LLC
(formerly John Dominis Restaurant)
2901 W. Coast Hwy. Suite # 200
Newport Beach, CA. 92663
Cell: 949.293.9239



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