Irvine Got a Balloon – Newport Got a Bunny


Last Friday Register columnist Jack Wu found an example of how the city spends our tax dollars – the Great Bunny.  Soon the city will christen its (our) $131 million Taj Mahal, replete with a giant bunny in the parking lot.

Irvine’s great sink hole of money is the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station symbolized by the Great Park Balloon.  Never to be outdone, our sink hole is the Taj Mahal – $8 million per year in debt service payments for 30 years, costing you and our children $228 million in total payments.  (BTW … the land was free!)

Over the past six months the city bureaucrats and politicians have already raised mooring taxes by 300%, commercial marina’s 366%, and other Harbor businesses by 183%. One long-time Harbor business was hit with a 700% tax hike – in a recession!

The average residential Dock Tax will increase 1,000%, with some paying 5,000% more.

You recently received the “Pier Permit” (Dock Tax notification) from the city.  We believe the Dock Tax is illegal, unnecessary, and will be used to pay for the Taj Mahal.

For years the city has used the Tidelands fund as a piggy bank for the general fund that is now over $263 million, with 70% dedicated to salaries, benefits, and employee retirement costs.  According to a Stanford University analysis Newport Beach has an unfunded pension liability of $265.5 million – the highest per capita in Orange County.

We should never forget which politicians voted to implement the largest property tax hike in Newport’s history:


§  Councilwoman Leslie Daigle


§  Councilman Mike Henn (led the charge for the tax)

§  Former Councilman Steve Rosansky (Rosansky’s last vote as councilman was the Dock Tax – they adjourned to the new Taj Mahal for high-fives and self-admiration)

§  Councilman Rush Hill (said previous council’s should have raised the tax but to take this sh_t.)  Hill is eligible to run for one more 4-year term.

§  Then Mayor now termed-out councilwoman Nancy Gardner

§  Then Mayor pro Tem now Mayor Keith Curry


§  Councilman Ed Selich

Thank you to Register columnist Jack Wu for calling out the wasteful spending on numerous issues of this city council.


The city’s response to our lawsuit claiming they illegally adopted the Dock Tax is due later this month.  Once their response is received the court will set a briefing schedule.  We believe by early summer our legal team will begin deposing city staff and councilmembers.

Your financial support allows us to continue fighting the Dock Tax in the courts and politically.

Click here to donate to our cause


Bob McCaffreyChairman,
Stop The Dock Tax Please check with our web site for the lastest information  


Wu: Tale of the Great Bunny in Newport Beach


2013-03-13 23:37:17

According to Irvine Finance Commissioner Allan Bartlett, that city has spent approximately $220 million dollars over the past decade to build a big orange balloon, a carousel and a visitor’s center at the Great Park.

Not to be outdone, the City of Newport Beach is borrowing and spending $138 million dollars to build the Great Bunny (trademark pending) next to its Grand Taj Mahal.

Driving up Avocado Avenue, one cannot help but notice, because of a sagging greenish fence, this stone rabbit off to the side of a trail within the Grand Taj Hall/City Hall in the Park/White Elephant/Espresso Stand/$3 million dollar dog park bridge structure. And then, because of that $3 million dollar bridge, one cannot help but wonder how much this Great Bunny cost the taxpayers of Newport Beach.

Are they raising the fees/taxes/whatever on the commercial and residential docks to help pay for the Great Bunny?

Do they want to get rid of the Corona del Mar fire pits (nice punt, by the way, California Coastal Commission) and use the $50,000-a-year savings to maintain the Great Bunny?

Are they going to use automated parking enforcement equipment (as opposed to automated traffic enforcement equipment, which is outlawed by the Charter Amendment) to raise revenue to keep the Great Bunny clean?

Valid questions, right? Especially since the current City Council will probably not be alive to pay off the $138 million loan to build this grand example of government decadence, coupled with the horse-choking unfunded pension liability of more than $230 million.

All this amounts to the most basic instance of generational theft that we will have seen in our lifetime. But fortunately, my 6-year-old triplets will get to play on the Great Bunny and the Little Bunnies throughout the Civic Center, and then pay for these flippant and careless decisions made by six supposed Republican and one decline-to-state City Council members. At least the thieves who perpetrated this in Irvine were unabashedly tax-and-spend Democrats.

How did moving the City Hall to another location for a supposed $40 million dollars (the price that was sold to the voters in 2008) balloon to $138 million? All borrowed?

You want fancy sails on top of your building? Sold! You want lots of empty offices to accommodate “future employee growth,” as described by former City Manager Homer Bludau? Done! You want to build a fancy bridge to connect one side of the street to the other for $3 million? No problem! black

You want the Great Bunny to keep the Weed Park No. 2 from looking like the Weed Park No. 1 and give little kids something to slip and fall off of, which will result in lawsuits and then the Great Bunny ban (why not)? Sold!

Just keep adding it to the tab. A tab that was never approved by the voters, who will be paying for it, interest included.

– Jack Wu lives in Newport Beach.

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