(4/24/2014, Los Alamitos) While watching a recent city council meeting on LATV3 I was taken back a couple of years. I remembered the impassioned talks from the podium about this really cool idea that would add another star to the City’s chart.
After all it was celebrating historical events that were intertwined with a city that was to become Los Alamitos. Part of the sales pitch was that it would probably result in an influx of participants and “tourists” that could only have a positive effect on local businesses.
The Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch and the OC Breeze had articles that noted the organizers intent was “…a celebration of local history…and the people and groups that make the city an unbeatable place to live”. We read also that it will, “…highlight nearby businesses, and feature food from local restaurants…”. And of course, the term Old Town Los Alamitos was mentioned more than once.
Additionally we were told that it would enhance Los Al as a destination rather than a place one passed through on the way to spend their money somewhere else. And of course we were told about the connection with local non-profits. After all, how could one not want to “help the children.”
So, I guess I was comfortable with the city spending my hard-earned tax dollars. But I will admit that I have not been able to find the exact numbers in past city council agendas and minutes.
Moved to Seal Beach?
What brought back those memories at the recent meeting was another impassioned plea from a member of the audience. It was still about the Festival, and a plea for money, but the venue had moved down the street to Seal Beach.
So it seems, this year, our neighbors to the South will be the beneficiaries of any retail business related exposure and direct sales dollars. So I guess the Los Al event is like a highly touted college basketball player…one and done. And I would presume a similar presentation was put before the Seal Beach City Council, as well as the Shops at Rossmoor folks.
In a letter to the Los Al Director of Recreation and Community Services, the promoter requested assistance in the form of fee waivers for any costs associated with Festival activities that required some form of city support. In return, the city would receive publicity on the Festival’s website. Not really sure why this is a good thing, or even something we need, or something we would normally do.
Just as an aside, I wonder if my friends and neighbors in Rossmoor are looking forward to yet another event on their doorstep that will generate noise, air, and traffic pollution.
From the Los Alamitos City Council Agenda dated, March 17, 2014 (Item No: 9A), the council’s options are discussed. Associated costs could include, at a minimum: $650 for police services; $250 Special Event Permit; $475 for City and Traffic Engineering services; $1858 Special Event Insurance. And this does not include the time spent by city staff to attend meetings and prepare reports. The agenda notes that any waived fees will require a transfer from the General Fund Reserves.
Please note: My comments are in no way intended to be critical of an event that I enjoyed on a number of levels, including being an additional “local” gathering, an education on our City’s history, and adding to a sense of community.
I guess my issues are with my perception of the sales pitch and the resulting expenditure (of fee waivers) of my tax dollars.
I must also point out and would like to recognize Councilman Richard Murphy for his nay vote on this issue. He understands that there are so many more effective places that our limited budgetary dollars need to go to.
“I’ve said we need to look at things from the perspective of working people and taxpayers, not from the perspective of government and government officials”
- Scott McCallum (1950 – ). Was the 43rd Governor of Wisconsin. Now CEO of Aidmatrix, a nonprofit that matches corporate donations of surplus food and supplies with groups in need.
…And that’s just the way I see it.