As most all Dana Point boaters probably know, your DPBA team has been working with the various stakeholders within our harbor for the past four years on many different boater issues and opportunities. One of the most important has been the quest for much needed improvements in boater parking arrangement during busy summer weekends, especially during summer holiday weekends.
Right off we want to thank the hundreds and hundreds of boaters would have come forth with positive ideas and suggestions which one-by-one have, have in fact been implemented. We want to especially thank the DPBA Directors and Advisors past, present and future who put their personal skin in the game by spending time and effort working positively with the real harbor stakeholders to explain boater issues and seek out win-win solutions.
Back on topic, yes, four years ago the boater parking situation was really bad. Some stakeholders other than boaters even thought that the parking we pay for in our rent each month should be all redirected to other purposes. In any case, there was substantial non-boater parking occurring, for one reason or another, in every single boater designated parking lot within the harbor on most busy weekends and especially holiday weekends. As all of us boaters know too well, the 4th of July holiday weekend is the litmus test as it is always the busiest and most challenging from a recreational standpoint, followed by the Labor Day holiday weekend. These two weekends have therefore been the spearhead of our efforts and focus. Indeed, DPBA Directors and Advisors have met countless times with City officials, County officials in Santa Ana and DPH as well as with harbor merchants, organizations and public policy administrators who also love our harbor. Many make their livings here too so they are here, almost every day. We hasten to add that a leader in this effort, with the full support of DPBA, has been the OC DPH Director, Brad Gross.
In small incremental stages wrapping two years ago, we (all those stakeholders just mentioned above) came up with a 7 page parking management plan and this plan worked pretty well at first. Two years ago we had a successful 4th of July holiday weekend and an at least marginally successful Labor Day weekend from a boater parking availability standpoint. Then this past 4th of July weekend there were serious issues in the East Basin. We won't belabor here as our three previous Dana Point Boater Blasters (click here) provided detailed background on what happened on and what the Dana Point Boaters Association and others were doing about it.
Anyway, we've been holding our breath the past few weeks, ever since our first meetings with OC DPH, merchants and others including Aventura following the July 4th weekend. Sure enough what DPBA had recommended and based upon feedback expected would happen has now been officially announced. (click here) For the first time in the 33 years since we first saw and fell in love with our harbor, there will be ABSOLUTELY NO NON-BOATER PARKING IN ANY DEDICATED BOATER PARKING LOT on a summer holiday weekend.
For the very first time EVER, since the harbor officially opened for trailer boaters way back in 1969, the boater parking lots will all be DEDICATED EXCLUSIVELY to registered boater parking throughout the upcoming Labor Day weekend!!!
That's right, if we boaters still have problems, it is now finally safe to say it will be entirely our own doing. As OC DPH has explained in their official announcement (click hear), there will be gate attendants on duty during the day all weekend to make sure that only boaters and their guests can gain access, and must show their gate cards.
Of course there will still also be lots of offsite parking available at the Dana Hills High School and there will be trolley service to the harbor all weekend. So we need to be smart and have our guests park there if possible. (There are still more boaters than parking spaces.)
Now, let's change gears a bit for some closing points on this same subject. We usually don't waste time defending the Dana Point Boaters Association from those many hurtful, off-the-wall dissident boater attacks that our members see (we know because the dissidents "acquired" our emailing list 4 years ago); attacks which occur so frequently that we would not have time for useful boater advocacy work if we bothered to do so. (After all, we are all just unpaid volunteers and have "real" jobs too.) But it has been falsely reported elsewhere, as recently as this morning, that somehow Aventura members (recreational boaters too!) are being mistreated, by clear insinuation the result of the recent pro-active efforts by DPBA to clean up the parking problems in the East Basin. This statement is just flatly wrong and worse; this statement was could mislead and upset boaters. It appears the objective here was to perpetuate "a myth of evil" within the harbor and thereby build a following. We cannot allow that to happen as it is false and would not serve boater interests..
Here are the facts, exactly as we've reported them previously: The old East Basin gate code is widely publicized, including on the internet via public Facebook pages. So it has simply been changed to keep the general public out. We trust that all boaters, other than dissidents apparently, think that was a pretty darn good idea and frankly overdue. We should add, in a really strange twist here, DPBA is now also being attacked as "anti-business". We chuckled when we read this since in the past we've been repeatedly attacked, over-and-over-and-over, for being pro-business. Which is it? You'll have to decide as we're said all we'll say here. We're going to return to doing (and then reporting on) those positive actions we've taken and will continue to take in behalf of recreational boaters. We believe these efforts are what is REALLY in the best interest of recreational boaters.
Oh, hold on. There's one other thing the dissidents keep saying about us and they're right, sort of. Although here the implication is that DPBA is somehow anti-boater, as well as sinister and/or incompetent: Yes, we ARE very much supporters of our entire harbor... and here we do mean all its recreational visitor serving uses. Yes, the DPBA list of uses does include providing food to eat, transport to Catalina Island, whale watching trips, as well as paddling, picnicking and even walking around the harbor at sunset. It's our view simply that recreational boating is first in priority on this list of uses. (We've underlined this sentence here because otherwise some may find it convenient to forget all about this most important part.)
Frankly, we're quite proud of our position. This has been our unwavering course since our earliest days almost five years ago when the Dana Point Boaters Association made the critical choice to take the high road.
We have a charter. A Board of Directors. We are Incorporated as a California boater advocacy non-profit corporation.
Our goal, what we continuously strive to do in behalf of our constituency, is to make sure that our harbor will be left to coming generations in even better shape than it is today. Again, not just for boaters - but all recreational users, especially boaters. Not sexy at all, and certainly inclusive rather than confrontational, but then good public service is usually that, isn't it? Need we add that our course has repeatedly been demonstrated by results to be the best means for achieving maximum boater benefit?
We'll close now with a repeat of something we said in our last bloater blast: This Labor Day Weekend is a good test of how well a parking management plan will work, but 4th of July weekends are our annual "final exams". We haven't forgotten this. Nor should any boater. Keep being observant, be objective, and continue to let us know what you think.
For the Directors and Advisors of the Dana Point Boaters Association,
Rodger Beard, President
The Dana Point Boaters Association
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