The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade will be held Dec. 19 to 23. No ifs or maybes. Count on it, and plan to be there. Despite what you may have read, the parade is not canceled. In fact, parade planning is on par with previous years, with more than 60 boats paying a fee to register and planning to participate as of last Friday. In fact, the recent publicity has brought new boaters to the table that want to join in on the fun.

It is not our place to evaluate whether or not the Stop the Dock Tax supporters have a point with their protests about the dock fee adjustments. But we do take exception to hijacking a valuable community event that thousands enjoy every year and is a defining attribute of our city.

This event transcends Newport Beach and has generated valuable coverage in the New York Times. It was named last year by Yahoo as the second most popular Christmas event in the country after Rockefeller Center. That's no small feat. Our community benefits from the event economically and socially and it is one element that makes our community special and unique. It is part of who we are.

Visit Newport Beach Inc. and the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, along with the Commodores Club, which is the chief organizer of the event, plan to get the word out even more powerfully that our parade will continue and will be a proud symbol of the season and of this city's pride.

This event belongs to Newport Beach. No single group can take it hostage and threaten to hurt others because they have their own issue to resolve. The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade will shine on, despite any one disruptive group's efforts. So invite your friends, family and guests to come down for a great show.

Gary C. Sherwin

President/Chief Executive, Visit Newport Beach Inc.

Newport Beach

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Roadway planters

I read the letter from the concerned Costa Mesa resident regarding the new planter boxes and curb modifications on Broadway ("Mailbag: I'm concerned about Broadway planters," Dec. 2). In the letter, the author complains that cars will have trouble turning on and off Broadway because planter boxes intrude into the street at the intersections. I had to see for myself, so I drove over to Broadway to check it out. I didn't have any problems turning onto Broadway or any of the cross streets. I could see a problem if I were driving a cement truck or something like that. But I wasn't. And I don't think most locals drive cement trucks either.

I don't see a problem. But those planter boxes can really jump out at you when you're not paying attention. I almost hit a couple of them, and I knew they were there. I'm sure hundreds of drivers are going to run into those middle-of-the-road planter boxes and many local front-end alignment shops will benefit from the absent-minded drivers. But one thing is for sure. Those planter boxes really slow down traffic, and that's not a bad thing.

Robert L. Macfarlane

Costa Mesa