NEWPORT BEACH — While waiting for her turn to speak Saturday, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-California) shielded her eyes from the sun and looked over her shoulder, taking in the view.
Between Fashion Island's towers to the left, homes to the right and commercial airliners soaring overhead, Upper Newport Bay was at high tide and full of life.
If some politicians had their way years ago, this 750-acre watershed would look vastly different, probably with homes and baseball fields. Instead, in a city millionaires, luxury cars and glitz, there were students touring wetlands, jumping off of levees and soiling their clothes in dust and grass, just like nature intended.
Lawmakers took a break from budget and job worries Saturday to visit the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center and soak in what $47.4 million, four years of dredging and bipartisanship can do.
"At a time when there is national debate about the proper role of government in our lives, this project is the poster child for the wise and proper use of precious taxpayer dollars," said Councilwoman Leslie Daigle. "It is as important as any infrastructure project we could ask our governmental entities to undertake for a long-term benefit of this city and this region."