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LONG BEACH : Panel Pushes to Cut Fees for Live-Aboard Seniors

March 24, 1994|JOHN POPE

The city's Marine Advisory Commission is pushing to implement a discount for senior citizens on fixed incomes who live aboard their boats, despite a warning from the city that such action could be challenged as discriminatory.

"We're talking about hardship cases," said commission chairman Hal Lane. "People who have been in the marina for some time on fixed incomes and would become homeless if they lost their boats."

Lane said the proposed discount rate, which could be set on a case-by-case basis, would target senior citizens age 65 and older whose only income source is Social Security.

Of the more than 300 people living on boats in Long Beach's two marinas, about 30 are in some danger of losing their homes to financial difficulties, said Russ Smith, a board member for the Long Beach Boat Owners Assn.

Officials of the city's Parks, Recreation and Marine department said, however, that the state Lands Commission has ruled that a change in live-aboard fees based on age or financial status is discriminatory.

Lane said this week that he still plans to ask the City Council to approve the discount in live-aboard fees. Boat owners currently pay $115 a month if they live aboard.

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