Strong resistance by live-aboards to the San Diego Unified Port District's plan to oust them from free anchorages continued Tuesday as a large contingent of boaters descended on port commissioners.
But again, efforts to delay the evictions were futile. The commissioners stood by their ordinance outlawing free anchorages in places like Emory Cove, meaning that enforcement of the plan--through the issuing of misdemeanor citations--will continue.
Minor Concessions Hinted
There were signs, however, that commissioners may make some minor changes to the plan to accommodate water skiers and wind surfers, who are now prohibited from using the southernmost reaches of San Diego Bay, where a maximum 5-m.p.h. zone is in place.
Perhaps most importantly, though, it appears that live-aboards who move to a new unprotected anchorage set up by the Port District--an area known as A-8, off National City's 24th Street Marine Terminal--will be allowed to move temporarily to more-protected bay areas when faced with severe storms, port Chairman Dan Larsen said.
This proposal, however, was greeted with derision from many of the boaters, who said the Port District had no business setting up the A-8 anchorage in the first place.
Hearing Was Tense
Tuesday's testy hearing, one of several held since the controversial plan to limit the number of free anchorages around the bay was born four years ago, proved little except that the commissioners are adamant about regulating uses on the bay and enforcing its newest policy and that boaters are as angry as ever about being forced to move because of what they regard as high-handedness.
Among the many people who spoke at Tuesday's two-hour hearing were independent boaters--including both semi-permanent residents and transient boaters from Emory Cove and Coronado--as well as several organized groups such as the Bay Users Group of San Diego, the Society to Preserve Anchoring Rights, the Santa Clara Racing Assn. and the Emory Cove Boat Owners Assn.
Some, such as Judith Collins of the Bay Users Group, appealed to the board to suspend enforcement of the ordinance until the port designates safer anchorages. The plan was approved last February but not put into practice until Monday when the first citations were issued.
Others wanted the ordinance suspended until a lawsuit contesting the plan is settled in state appellate court.
In response, Larsen said the Port District is trying to regulate the bay for everyone's use and explained that live-aboards have no exclusive right to use bay waters.
"There's some feeling (that you have) some divine right to live aboard your boats. Where do you get that right?" Larsen asked. "The whole bay can't be taken up by live-aboard boats.
"That water out there belongs to everyone . . . not just you," Larsen said, adding that what the port is doing is similar to what San Diego would do if people pitched tents in Balboa Park.
"The City of San Diego wouldn't let you do that. Why should we?"