In 1909, W.S. Collins wanted to massively increase the footprint of his Balboa Island development. The land extension would have cut the width of Newport Harbor's main channel by more than half.
In those days, the federal government had final approval of any plans for the harbor, so the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sent Captain D.E. Hughes to assess the situation. In just 960 words, he delivered a masterpiece of a report (part love letter, part manifesto) that amazingly predicted the future of Newport Beach and its harbor with great precision and beautifully laid out the argument that the harbor's waterways should be reserved for the people's enjoyment and not a developer's profits.
His observations killed Collins' plans for a super-sized Balboa Island and set the precedent that the harbor should be enjoyed by all.