Boycott threat doesn’t dim California boat parade

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Organizers of the Newport Beach (Calif.) Christmas Boat Parade sent a message to residents planning a boycott of the 104-year-old event: Protest the protest.

More than 90 boats signed up this year to make the nearly 14-mile run through Newport Harbor. The Balboa Bay Club and Resort was brimming with activity during the parade's opening night Wednesday, and according to one official's estimate, a "jillion" homeowners will decorate their abodes with lights, according to the Daily Pilot.

"There's a great buzz," David Beek, chairman of the Christmas Boat Parade, told the newspaper. "If anything, the boycott news brought attention to the event."

Beek referred to some harbor stakeholders who, in protest of a fee increase for residential docks that go over public tidelands, have grouped together to form the "Stop the Dock Tax" coalition. Their chairman, Bob McCaffrey, said Wednesday that it's hard to say whether their efforts have had an effect.

"I'm tired of the government in my pants, in my pocket, in my life," he told the paper.

In a commentary to the Daily Pilot, McCaffrey wrote that residents like him "joyfully spend thousands of dollars to decorate our homes and boats for more than 1 million visitors to enjoy. … We are not the council's piggy bank.

"Millions of dollars will be made during this year's Christmas Boat Parade, none of it by us. Our generosity allows others to profit."

The event, which is themed "Surf, Sand and Santa" this year, runs through Dec. 23.

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