Triplicate Staff

Some good things are happening in the Crescent City Harbor:

andbull; The harbor has been awarded a $685,000 grant from the California Coastal Conservancy to design planned improvements, including a waterfront promenade, Coastal Trail segment, public restrooms and pedestrian access to South Beach from Anchor Way.

andbull; Funds have been secured to fix the inner boat basin that was damaged by a 2006 tsunami. The project is still in the design stage, but it's essential to maintaining a fishing fleet here for the long haul.

andbull; Soon, fish processors will be able to hook up to the city's

wastewater treatment plant. We have one fish processing plant now, but

we also lead Northern California in value of commercial seafood

unloaded, so clearly there is potential for more.

andbull; Despite delays caused by disposal issues, long-awaited dredging of

the harbor's federal channel should resume soon. Without the crucial

project, fishing boats would increasingly be left high and dry.

All four of those developments speak to the benefits that accrue when

harbor officials work well with other agencies, from their colleagues

in Del Norte to Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The

harbor itself has very limited financial resources, but through

successful collaboration it's beginning to realize some of its


This is something voters should keep in mind as they assess the

five-man field of candidates for two Harbor Commission seats on the Nov.

2 ballot. We need well-spoken collaborators on the commission, which is

why The Triplicate endorses incumbent Ron Phillips and Kevin McKernan.

Phillips gets things done. As the special events coordinator for

Rural Human Services, he has turned the Saturday Farmers Market at the

fairgrounds into a highly successful enterprise. He helped bring various

parties together to build momentum for the establishment of a maritime

museum in the harbor. That effort may be stymied, but now there is talk

of an interagency visitors center along U.S. Highway 101 at the harbor's

edge, and Phillips talks glowingly of its potential to attract more


He also, frankly, stands out as a straightforward professional on a commission that has sometimes lacked those qualities.

McKernan is the California program director for the Conservation

Lands Foundation and a recreational fisherman. He offers a great chance

to shake things up a bit, in a positive way. Some harbor officials,

including Phillips, bristle at McKevrnan's call for a reassessment of

the harbor's leasing policies. But those policies have led to an

inordinate amount of controversies, and it doesn't hurt to make sure the

harbor is doing all it can to attract and retain quality tenants while

still bringing in a fair financial return on its leases.

We're most excited about McKernan's potential in the aforementioned

area of collaboration. We see him as a bridge builder, which is why we

endorsed his candidacy two years ago (he was not elected) and still give

him our support.

The other three candidates include two former commissioners, Patrick

Bailey and Garry Young, who remain well-versed in harbor issues.

Young, you may recall, finished in a flat-out tie with James Ramsey

in the 2008 election. Ramsey then won the position on the roll of a die.

Some would say Young's return to the commission is crucial because he

is a commercial fisherman - something currently lacking on the board.

He acknowledged at The Triplicate's recent candidates forum, however,

that he doesn't think his fellow commercial fishermen have any huge

problems with the current harbor operation.

He would be a good addition to the commission, and if he doesn't win a

spot Nov. 2, he should be considered for appointment if a vacancy


Bailey is also a former commissioner who lost his re-election bid two

years ago. An entrepreneur in his own right, he's upbeat about the

harbor's potential for economic development and wants a chance to help

it along.

So does candidate Kelley Thurmond, who speaks well of everyone and

would bring a fresh eye to the harbor, as evidenced by his observation

at the candidates forum that we should do something to restrict people's

access to the marine mammals on the docks before something untoward


We all desperately want the harbor to thrive while developing into a

key component of a brighter economic future for the entire region. Good

things are happening, and Ron Phillips and Kevin McKernan offer the best

hope of keeping us moving in the right direction.

- The Triplicate