Barriers will be installed into the sand 20-30 feet, blocking access to transit pathways. Normally, this would require a vote of city council and approval by the Coastal Commission, but Jeff Herdman explains in the links above that the City of Newport Beach no longer needs to make public votes, and is now being run by the “Disaster Council”. This “Disaster Council” can make decisions ad-hoc, in direct violation the Open Meetings law known as the Brown Act, according to Herdman. Their actions require no public input and no debate, suspending the rule of law in Newport, according to Herdman.
Herdman’s statements indicated that the “Disaster Council” can do things on a whim, bypassing the existing power structure. When I asked clarifying questions (also seen at the link above), he refused to answer.
Last Council meeting, Diane Dixon made a mention that she would like to close the boardwalk. Jeff Herdman agreed with her, and he recently began pushing for a “one way” boardwalk on Balboa Island, as well. However, you get virtually just as much exposure walking behind someone for X distance as you would simply crossing them briefly from Y distance, assuming that all factors but direction are the same, in a closed loop, this “one way” thing makes precisely zero sense– but since when does anyone in the city make decisions based on data?
A State of Emergency is used to suspend “normal” law and to cede power to the executive branch of government. This can be done on a federal, state, county, or city level, which has been done here in Newport Beach, as we have suspended the traditional rule of law in order to begin closing public property used for transit.
I am taking this virus situation more seriously than most, but to completely abandon any sense of normalcy or rule of law is an extreme that even I cannot support.
The good news for boardwalk users is that the Coastal Commission has the final say. If you think this is an over-reach by a non-elected group which is now making decisions that should absolutely require a vote and public input, or if you simply want to use the boardwalk, call them here: 562-590-5223 — because the city will still need to seek their approval for their actions, come Monday.