Boycott threat doesn't dim boat parade plans

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Organizers said they expect the 104th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade to be smooth sailing, despite a threatened boycott from those who oppose increases in the California coastal city's residential dock fees.

"At the end of the day, the boycott backfired on itself," said parade Chairman David Beek. "The mentality was boycott the boycott."

The five-day parade, 6:30-9 p.m. each evening, runs through Sunday.

About 83 boats have signed up to participate — more entries than last year.

The boycott was launched by a group of disgruntled boaters who, under the banner Stop the Dock Tax, object that the City Council voted 5-1 last week to raise yearly residential dock fees from a flat $100, no matter the dock size, to 52.5 cents per square foot.

It's the first increase in 23 years and affects about 1,200 property owners with docks. For most owners, the fee will jump to as much as $300.

Pete Pallette, who has been outspoken on behalf of the Stop the Dock Tax group leading the boycott, said it'll be difficult to quantify its effects, but he plans to keep his home dark.

"Will we be shutting the community down? No, I don't think so. Frankly, I wouldn't want to," he said. "Personally, I'm going to follow through."

Click here for a report by the Los Angeles Times and click here for an opinion column by the Orange County Register.