City Mgt. Retains Chris Pook As Consultant For Advice On Expanding LB Sea Festival; City Mgt. Memo Suggests Possibility Of Including Series Of Larger Summertime Events
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(March 18, 2005) -- In September 2004, LBReport.com first reported that city management was holding discussions with Chris Pook, the man who brought the Grand Prix to LB and masterminded its rise into a major event, about building LB's Sea Festival into a larger, more ambitious event.
LBReport.com has learned that a recent memo to Councilmembers by city management confirms it has established a consulting relationship with Chanslor Investments, a firm headed by Mr. Pook. The consultant is charged with "making specific recommendations how [Sea Festival] programming can be expanded to feature Long Beach as a destination for summer fun from July through August" and is "developing business models showing how these programs can be packaged to become self-sustaining."
The March 16 memo from Parks & Rec Dir. Phil Hester to City Manager Jerry Miller for the Mayor and Councilmembers indicates that "preliminary analysis" suggests that in addition to current Sea Festival programs, large events could be brought under the Sea Festival umbrella to attract visitors (families, the memo says) -- listing as possible examples sailing regattas, community festivals, athletic events and "Wings Over Long Beach."
The memo says one way to accomplish this is to "develop an oversight group that will have accountability for maintaining the programs." To arrange the activities, the memo says the group would need to create an organizing body to promote and market all events programmed under the International Sea Festival umbrella; operate under a master agreement with City Hall to organize, program and promote such events; create a "franchise permit" to create the series of events to promote Long Beach; and work with LB residents "to reduce the impacts on their community by managing all aspects of the events with a commitment to being a 'good neighbor' and partner to the community."
LBReport.com quotes extended portions of the memo below, which was provided by city management. City management has separately told LBReport.com that the sum involved for retaining Chanslor Investments (Mr. Pook's firm) as consultant in the evaluation and recommendation process is $40,000. (Management has Council authority to enter into agreements under $100,000 without voted Council approval; the Council raised the threshold from $50,000 to $100,000 under former city manager Henry Taboada.)
A public City Council study session regarding the International Sea Festival has been scheduled for Tuesday March 22 at 2 p.m.
The March 16 memo from Parks & Rec Dir. Phil Hester states in pertinent part:
For the past four months, we have been evaluating the International Sea Festival of Long Beach (Sea Festival). The discussions have focused on building the current events of the Sea Festival into a family friendly series of events to attract our residents and visitors to our shoreline, between Independence Day and Labor Day each year. This memorandum provides an update on the discussions with several groups interested in assisting with the rejuvenation of the Sea Festival programs.
The International Sea Festival has been a part of Long Beach for over 50 years. It was originally developed to be a program that utilized the city's greatest assets, our beaches and water areas, and helped to build a sense of community in our water front neighborhoods....Over the past decade, the organization and financial support for the International Sea Festival has waned. The majority of the scheduled evens that were once defined as part of the International Sea Festival are now individually produced events and programs...
A consultant is current evaluating the International Sea Festival activities and will be making recommendations on how to resurrect the once prestigious program. Chanslor Investments is evaluating at [sic] the activities currently included in this program. They have been charged with making specific recommendations on how to programming can be expanded to feature Long beach as a destination for summer fun from July through August. They are also developing business models showing how these programs can be packaged to become self-sustaining. Preliminary information suggests the events be managed by an umbrella organization that will be able to market and promote these activities to a broader audience. Quality controls and community relations are the keys to rejuvenating the programs of the International Sea Festival.
The preliminary analysis suggests the programs included in the International Sea Festival should include three levels of activities as part of this event. There should be basic community programs, such as the fishing derby, the Naples Island swim, and similar activities...The second level should be small community events, such as the Dragon Boat races...that are embraced by community and help bring visitors to our city. These events do charge admission or a participation fee, however they are merely recovering the cost of City support and their direct expenses. The last level of activities should be larger programs that are designed to attract families to our city. Sailing regattas, community festivals, athletic events,and "Wings over Long Beach" are possible examples of the types of family activities targeted for this program.
One of the potential solutions to growing the International Sea Festival is to develop an oversight group that will have accountability for maintaining the programs. To manage these types of activities, this group will need to:
1. Create an organizing body to promote and market all of the events programmed under the International Sea Festival umbrella.
2. Operate under a master agreement with the City to organize, program and promote a series of waterfront events that will raise the profile of the City of Long Beach, as a first class beach city.
3. Create a "franchise permit," to create a series of events that will promote Long Beach.
4. Work with the residents of Long Beach to reduce the impacts on their community by managing all aspects of the events with a commitment to being a "good neighbor" and partner to the community.
The memo adds that "a consortium of community leaders has come forth" to work with the City to achieve these goals. It lists six individuals, one of whom is Mr. Pook.
Mr. Pook was visible at a number of 2004 LB events, including reopening the upgraded airport-adjacent Skylinks Golf course and the Airport Advisory Commission meeting which recommended (6-3) Council approval for EIR purposes of management's proposed sizing for expansion of LB Airport's permanent terminal area facilities.
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