Monthly Archives: March 2017


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Trojan Boat Ramp

Remember the story of the Trojan horse (nothing to do with USC)? The Greeks and Trojans were engaged in an epic battle. One day, the Trojans awoke to find a huge wooden horse standing outside their city gates. The Greek army was nowhere to be seen.

The Trojans figured their enemies had given up and honored Troy’s victory by building the horse, which was the ancient city’s mascot. They opened the gates and rolled in the statue.

The Trojans partied while the Greeks hidden inside the horse waited patiently. You probably know the rest. The Greeks piled out of the horse after the Trojans passed out and defeated them from inside, rather than outside the walled city.

The concept of a Trojan horse has become a metaphor for sneaking anything that’s disguised as something else past unsuspecting observers who choose to see what’s presented to them rather than what’s hidden inside. Measure C contains just such a Trojan horse in the form of a boat ramp.

Measure C supporters would tell you there’s nothing hidden about the boat ramp but I beg to differ. Granted, there’s nothing hidden about the fact the boat ramp could kill the CenterCal project all by itself.

By my estimate, the boat ramp would take 20%-25% of the land available for development. The ramp won’t generate any significant revenue. In addition to reducing the potential revenue-generating land, a ramp would cost the developer money.

One thing that’s hidden in Measure C’s language is the fact the ramp described in the initiative and the necessary space for parking and maneuvering vehicles could only fit one place, the area bordered by Samba, Captain Kidd’s and R/10.

Samba would get demolished to make way for the ramp. The entire parking area from the driveway behind the tollbooth to the water would be devoted to trailer/vehicle parking.

If you like the walkway between the fishing pier and South Bay Sailing, voting for Measure C may allow you to continue to enjoy a marina view from that long stretch of open sidewalk. Unfortunately, there will be a portion of that stroll that will tilt down to the water and require you to dodge boat trailers and trucks during your walk.

Measure C requires, “…safe launch and recovery in surge conditions…” I recently observed a surge of about three to four feet in the area of the Measure C boat ramp, on a fairly calm day. There were no waves breaching the breakwater, even at the lowest part near the harbor entrance.

The only way I can see to reduce surge in the area of the marina where surge is greatest (the boat ramp location) would be to build a detached breakwater inside the harbor. Can you imagine removing even more of the already tiny recreational space inside King Harbor? Probably not and it’s just as likely the state and federal agencies that would need to approve such an obstruction to navigation wouldn’t be able to imagine it either.

For that reason and others, it would be impossible to meet the boat ramp requirements written into Measure C. Measure C’s authors either didn’t think it through carefully or they didn’t care. Or…they want to add impossible requirements to our current zoning.

I have a boat on a trailer sitting in my driveway. I served six years as the Boater’s Representative on the RB Harbor Commission. Boats and boat ramps are important to me and many other potential beneficiaries of a King Harbor boat ramp.

That’s probably why it irritates me to see a boat ramp used by non-boaters to further their political agenda. A vote for Measure C is a vote for stalemate, more regulation and status quo. Allow King Harbor to become more than it is today. Vote NO on Measure C.