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Mailbag: Leaders, columnist cite misleading figures

November 08, 2010

Editor's note: The following is the text from a speech Councilwoman Leslie Daigle gave Saturday to mark the completion of the Upper Newport Bay Ecosystem Restoration Project.

I'm very proud and pleased to be a part of this program. Getting this done has been one of my highest priorities. For some time, I have viewed the Back Bay as the heart of our community: It feeds the glorious bay that defines what is extraordinary and special about Newport Beach.

It is critical to the natural environmental health of our city. It is one of our greatest recreational assets. And it is inextricably linked to our water-based economy.

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It cools us, soothes us, beckons us, and gives us relief from the surrounding urban activities of a thriving community.

We learn in life that every heart slows, and one of biggest dangers is the buildup of plaque, clogging the arteries, and ultimately leading to death.

Today we celebrate a successful operation to clear the arteries, give the heart of our community new vitality, and extend its life for decades.

The beneficiaries are very real: The migratory birds and fish who love Newport Beach as much as any tourist, and who need it even more for their survival; our fellow citizens who walk, jog, bike, fish, kayak and canoe here; our coastkeepers and naturalists who keep constant watch over our bay; our residents who have been drawn to life surrounding this bay, just as Native Americans were first drawn to the cliffs around us more than 11,000 years ago — long before there was a Fashion Island to divert attention.

And our small business entrepreneurs whose investments have given us new, and exciting ways to enjoy the bay.

So I would simply say this is a very big deal for all of us — a significant investment in the long-term quality of life of this area — and so much more than just a costly, ambitious public works project.

At a time when there is a 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. By that I mean, it is a project of local, regional, state and even federal interest and significance.

And it is a project involving navigable and environmentally sensitive waters that is the primary responsibility of government to undertake.

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.

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