Monitoring the STAYY. The new two-turn departure procedure, which attempts to turn twice in the Upper Newport Bay as the bay itself turns, has been used in a limited way by Southwest Airlines since Thursday, March 29. We’ve been monitoring it in the field and using Volans, and have been reviewing any noise impacts. The good news is that it does not appear to add to noise (which we did worry about – in terms of how those turns would impact noise behind the turns). But it also seems to only have a minimal effect on noise reduction. The tracks themselves seem to show that the STAYY is performing fairly well in terms of splitting the Upper Bay “narrows” more precisely than the PIGGN/HHERO/FINZZ and still going over Noise Monitor #7 at the Back Bay Cafe, Newport Dunes. That in itself is good – it’s nice to not see STAYY departures going directly over folks homes along the east and west sides of the Upper Bay (because the PIGGN/HHERO/FINZZ seem to do exactly that).
Trip to Washington. A number of us City folks (including Council Members Dixon, Muldoon and myself) are traveling to Washington DC soon (end of April, 2018) on a trip organized by our lobbyist (Buchanan, Ingersoll, and Rooney). We’ll be meeting with representatives from the FAA as well as Congress and possibly the US Department of Transportation. The intent of this initial trip is to express our general concerns about how NextGen, and recent changes in departure procedures, have impacted us all. A goal coming out of the trip would be an increased awareness on the part of our DC representatives of how having planes get “higher earlier” may help reduce noise and pollution impacts here in Newport Beach. We don’t have the data yet to show exactly how that will work (see comments about HMMH below), but the purpose of this trip is to establish relationships that will make our 2nd trip with the data all the more impactful. That second trip – hopefully with data and recommendations in hand - may be in September 2018.
Consultants. In addition to our DC lobbyist (Terrence Heubert of Buchanan, Ingersoll, and Rooney), we have teams from Dynamic Strategies (a public relations/communications firm) and HMMH (a technical firm that does noise analyses, among other things) working for us. Dynamic is helping us develop the right messaging, and guides us as to ways to communicate best with the air carriers and others. They’re also helping organize ways for the citizenry to effectively communicate our best messages. HMMH is a much more technical firm. It is doing a detailed analysis of departure procedures – so that we can compare carriers, tow weights, and each plane type’s optimal departure procedure in terms of noise impacts. HMMH’s data and recommendations will be vital to going to the carriers and the FAA as we encourage them to adopt quieter (but still safe) procedures. We expect HMMH to come back with some recommendations within the next six weeks or so.
Helping out our residents. As always, if any resident has a question about a departure or the new STAYY (or the old PIGGN, HHERO, or FINZZ), Tom Edwards (consultant) and Dave Kiff (City Manager) are here to help. Between the two of them, they can track down odd flights, show where your home is in relation to those flights, show a series of flights over time, and much more. They spend a good deal of time on this. No question is too minor. Please don’t hesitate to contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tom at email@example.com with any help you may need. They may not always tell you what you want to hear (like never hearing or seeing a plane again ☺), but they will give you all the information they know.
There is an initiative coming up on the November Ballot that I thought interesting. Below are the details.
Property Tax Fairness Initiative -
A little background: Seniors often live in homes that no longer fit their needs because their homes may be too big or too far away from their families. When seniors want to downsize, or move closer to their grandchildren, they could face property tax increases of 100-300%. Severely disabled people may live in homes that are no longer safe or practical for them. Buying a more suitable home is often impossible because they face significant property tax increases if they want to move, even if they move to a less expensive home. Disaster victims like those recently affected by the massive wildfires and mudslides have arbitrary and limited protections. They may face a penalty if they choose to move outside of their disaster-torn county.
The current law requires disabled people, seniors and victims of natural disasters to navigate a confusing patchwork of county laws. Severely disabled people and seniors can currently transfer
their tax base when they move, but only once, and only within their own county or in 11 of California’s 58 counties that allow it.
This initiative would provide fairness, protect seniors, the disabled and disaster victims by allowing them to move without penalty. This initiative would:
1. Eliminate the moving penalty for seniors (55+) and disabled who want to move to a safer, more practical home or closer to family. This initiative limits the property tax penalties that could be faced if they purchase another home in any county of the state while still ensuring they pay their fair share of property taxes.
2. This initiative will allow a homeowner in a disaster area, whose home is destroyed, to move anywhere in the state without paying the moving tax penalty.
Assembly Bill 3232: To address the use of natural gas within our state, I recently learned of an Assembly Bill that (still in Committee) would require the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, by January 1, 2020, to establish a plan to achieve the goal that all new residential and nonresidential buildings built on or after January 1, 2030 be zero-emission buildings (or elimination of the use of natural gas and be fully electric).
It will be interesting to watch this bill work its way through the legislative process.
City Council Report
Let me wrap this one up with a quick review of City Council action over the past month, and then I will sign out:
1. Resolutions passed include one of supporting Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe legislation, and an additional one in support of the Attorney General’s lawsuit against the State of California’s SB 54 known as the California Values Act (Sanctuary State).
2. Award of contracts for Peninsula Park and Bayview Park improvements, and Phase 1 of the Peninsula Pedestrian Crosswalks Improvement Plan; Phase 2 forthcoming.
3. Hired a consultant to “test the waters” with the Coastal Commission (CC) related to the re-designation of Newport Harbor as a “Port”. All indications from the CC appear to be not in favor.
4. Approval of the expansion of the Balboa Peninsula Trolly Program for this coming summer.
5. The traffic signal rehabilitation program within the City has seen completion of Phase 1, and the start-up of Phase 2.
6, The Balboa Island Seawall Extension Project is nearing completion.
7. And as you must know by now, the council majority at our last Council Meeting terminated our City managers employment effective August 31, 2018.
I recently participated in the new Lido House Hotel Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. What an absolute added jewel this is to our beautiful city! The Corona del Mar Library and Fire Station groundbreaking will take place on Tuesday, April 24th. Last week I was a guest on the FOX News Neil Cavuto show (Sanctuary State discussion), and tonight I will be participating in a Homeless Symposium at UCI Beckman Center.
As always, I remain at your service. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions you may have.
Jeff Herdman, NB City Council District 5