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The Harbor Report: Make yourself heard on harbor issues

August 09, 2012|By Len Bose

This week I jumped in my dinghy at the Balboa Yacht Club and proceeded up the bay in search of a story.

The fog was thick that morning with a rather high humidity level that quickly burned away to reveal a perfect summer day on our harbor.

My mind was wandering from the information I had received while attending the Coalition to Preserve Newport Harbor PAC meeting at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the John Dominis building, 2901 W. Coast Hwy.

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I must have been having a flashback because it felt like I was in a Navy SEALs team inflatable boat preparing for a landing on the enemy beach. While making my way through the harbor, I wondered if I was going to make it through this next assault of tideland permit fee increases. Maybe it would be one of my teammates who would get it.

I glanced over at the bait barge, noticed the number of out-of-town people experiencing our harbor for the first time by renting an electric boat or stand-up paddleboard, then I looked over to our two fuel docks.

This flashback was really not taking me to a place where I wanted to start my day.

The point I am trying to make is get involved and make your voices heard by attending the PAC meetings or our monthly Harbor Commission meetings. Review our city's website at http://www.newportbeachca.gov, contact our council members and talk about what type of harbor you would like to see with your friends.

If we just stand by and watch, our grandchildren could end up with a duck pond with condos built around it.

Time to think positive. I can think of no better person to talk to than Matt Cox, operator of the Hill's Boat Service. His official title is licensed fuel tank engineer. He is one of the good ol' boys of our harbor.

He attended Harbor View Elementary School, where he first met fuel dock owner Gary Hill.

Jump ahead some 30 years later and Gary noticed Matt working the shore boats in Catalina and offered him the job to run the tanker. Matt accepted and has been on the job close to 20 years now.

I first met Matt about 15 years ago. He is one of harbor's kindest, most professional people. He always greets you as if you are his best friend. He always keeps his promises.

"The best part of this job is meeting all the characters in our harbor, like you, Len," Matt said.

He delivers diesel fuel to 10 to 12 boats Monday through Friday. His tanker holds 2,620 gallons of fuel and was built out of steel in 1947 by the Jones Co., which also built the auto ferries.

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