Newport Harbor is 'a public trust'

Boat-filled Newport Harbor in the upper center of the picture,    — Photo by MVASCO

Boat-filled Newport Harbor in the upper center of the picture,

— Photo by MVASCO

From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in GoLocal24.com

The rich are doing just fine pretty much everywhere – e.g., they effectively block off much of the coast to the peasantry with increasingly mammoth mansions and now they lay claim to part of the bottom of Newport Harbor: The New York Yacht Club makes available for sale – or rent? -- 17 commercial moorings only to club members and their guests.

I’m with the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council on this: The bottom of Newport Harbor is clearly state-owned and a private entity has no right to treat it as its own.

Deputy CRMC Director Jeffrey Willis wrote:

“A mooring permit is a government-issued temporary license given to a specific person or entity, for a specific duration, to utilize a specific area of the public’s waters for a specific private purpose. The permits do not confer property rights, perpetual or otherwise, on their holders and the holders may not assign, transfer or sell them.”

“It’s not necessarily just about the New York Yacht Club. It’s about any given group that wants to exclude people. The harbor land is held as a public trust for the general public.”

The NYYC’s mooring imperialism takes privatization another step too far.