Mailbag: Cost of the boat parade in Newport Beach is too high

Vessel make a turn at the Balboa Bridge
Vessels playing Christmas music make a turn at the Balboa Bridge during the unofficial, “Let Freedom Ring” Newport Harbor Christmas Parade on Thursday in Newport Beach. Readers write to offer their thoughts about the parade.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Hoag President Braithwaite asked us to please do our part
Use masks, stay at home, no parties this year
It’s the sharp rise in cases today that we fear
Please practice compassion and kindness, a much needed art.

But parading for freedom is what Newport will do
With Mayor Muldoon enjoying the fare
They want their fun Christmas, they don’t seem to care
Does this sound like neighborly kindness to you?

Annika Logart
Corona Del Mar

Hopefully the organizers of Newport Beach’s privately organized, unauthorized, boat parade are paying for the harbor department, water safety and police expenses related to their event.

Dean Laws
Corona Del Mar

With the hospitals begging people to stay home, I was initially appalled when some Newport Beach residents decided to put on a substitute boat parade after the official one was canceled. Such an event would bring lots of people to town and put them in close proximity, a sure way to increase coronavirus infections and COVID-19 deaths — and then I realized that was the point.

Our region is overcrowded — too many people, too many cars, too much congestion. People are leaving, but not at a fast enough rate. Holding such an event is a way to speed things along, particularly when it’s augmented by local restaurants staying open and helping boost rates.

I have one criticism of the effort, however, and that is its efficiency. It’s a relatively youthful crowd that is attracted, while the highest rate of mortality is among people of an older demographic. Since most of them are hunkered down the numbers will not be as high as they might, but the organizers should still be commended for a good effort.

Nancy Gardner
Newport Beach

Alvarado’s Poseidon pitch falls short

Orange County labor leader Gloria Alvarado makes an unpersuasive case for Poseidon’s proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach (Sunday, Dec. 20 Daily Pilot).

Alvarado appeals to the need for a reliable supply of the water in the face of diminishing rainfall and snowfall. She seems unaware of the scale of the current supply structure. The Orange County Water District’s enormous groundwater basin currently contains 13 times the amount of water in Lake Shasta at top levels. Even in a worst-case long-term drought emergency scenario the supply for everyone in Orange County would last for decades, at a fraction of what Poseidon’s water will cost.

Alvarado appeals to science but cites none. She could have consulted the 2019 UCLA study analyzing the impact upon water-accessibility brought by the proposed Huntington Beach Poseidon desalination plant. Like Alvarado, the study focuses on the need to make sure economically disadvantaged households have access to water as a basic human right. But unlike Alvarado, UCLA’s careful study concludes that the Poseidon desalination plant would make drinking water less affordable for those O.C. households.

Because Poseidon is a private venture, the need for profits ends up raising rates that people pay for water wherever they build a plant. Poseidon’s Carlsbad plant, which Alvarado cites as a model, proves this again: according to a Voice of OC report, 62% of low-income people in San Diego live in neighborhoods where Poseidon’s desalinized water is becoming unaffordable for them. The sort of benefits that Alvarado sees in desalinization for working Californians just does not apply in the case of Poseidon in Huntington Beach.

So water supply and affordability cannot be what Alvarado is talking about when she sings the praises of Poseidon. Maybe she means the benefits of job creation. Once again, basic science is not with her on this. Economists have several times demonstrated that, for every million-dollar investment, water conservation and water recycling infrastructures create far more long-term local jobs than desalinization.

Alvarado is certainly right when she points out that we are all in this together. That’s why a boondoggle like the H.B. Poseidon plant — which in the end benefits no one but investors — does not fit the economically challenging times working Californians are facing.

William Yarchin
Huntington Beach

I write concerning Gloria Alvarado‘s commentary in the Daily Pilot regarding Poseidon Water‘s proposal to build a desalination plant in Huntington Beach.

Poseidon seeks a deal that would lock our county water utility into buying unnecessary water for decades. This water would be far more expensive than the groundwater from our well-managed aquifer here in Orange County. The proposed plant would damage sea life in our precious coastal waters and use a tremendous amount of power, creating significantly more carbon emissions.

The warming climate is stressing our water system, but there is another, less visible threat that is also jeopardizing water access: rising water rates that are making this basic necessity (water) unaffordable for some families and driving an increase in water shutoffs and utility debt for people who are struggling to survive COVID-19 and loss of income. This plant might be good for the labor federation that Ms. Alvarado directs, but it is unneeded and unwanted by lower income residents of Orange County.

Trygve Sletteland and Sonia Madeira de Ley
Laguna Beach

Steel in Georgia during O.C. crisis

Coronavirus cases and COVID-19 deaths in Orange County have soared to record levels. And what is the 48th District’s new Representative-Elect, Michelle Steel, doing about it?

She’s in Gwinnett County, Ga., campaigning for Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, of course.

During Steel’s tenure on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, she helped shape the policies (or non-policies) that have encouraged the disastrous upward trajectory of coronavirus infections we’re seeing today. Now, instead of staying home and helping her constituents, she’s 2,200 miles away, trying to ensure that Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans can remain in power and continue to do too little, too slowly, to help Americans suffering from the effects of the pandemic.

Steel was a disaster on the Board of Supervisors, and she’s already making it clear where her priorities and loyalties as a member of Congress will lie. Let’s begin righting this wrong by electing Katrina Foley to Steel’s vacant seat on the board, and let’s keep a close eye on Steel during her two years in Washington. Is she working for Mitch McConnell, or is she working for us?

Eliza Rubenstein
Costa Mesa

Criminals, suspects should stay in jail

Perhaps we have someone in our community who is knowledgeable of our judicial system, and can help us understand how any judge can mandate a significant reduction in the Orange County jail population due to COVID-19.

Many of these criminals are in pre-trial status, or have been convicted of violent crimes and will be released back into the community. We have been told for months that wearing masks and confinement help in the spread of this virus, so does this mask mandate make a difference or the confinement we are experiencing work or not? Why would releasing violent criminals seem to be a reasonable option?

Our country in spiraling into a lawless, blameless society. This example of the courts actions, confirm what many of us feel today and that is complete lack of confidence in our entire judicial system.

Absolutely shameful.

Julianne Hayden
Newport Beach

Onboard with Cruise

I have always spurned the advice and influence of Hollywood on cultural norms. But one actor in Hollywood famously known for his independent behavior, seems to have found the perfect solution for communicating with COVID-19 rules’ scofflaws. Tom Cruise recently had a “full-blown meltdown about crew members who were caught violating social distancing protocols” on the set of one of his movies. I have never been a fan of Tom Cruise or action movies, but after learning of his reaction, I am a “believer” if only in the context of this one outburst.

Efforts to get some people to follow these rules by repeating the same mantra over and over have so far not been effective. And some of our local leaders on the County Board of Supervisors as well as from the city councils of Newport Beach and Huntington Beach are not only not trying to enforce these rules, but are instead flaunting their resistance to them to gain political capital.

Cruise got his workers to follow the rules by shouting at them. So because we are at a critical point in the pandemic, with each day’s contagion and mortality rates continuing to break barriers, shouldn’t we do as he did and yell at those who are not following the rules — if not physically then metaphorically?

Lynn Lorenz
Newport Beach

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