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    QM Discount Expanded: Now All Californians (Not Just LB Residents) Can Come ABoard QM Free In April, Change Prompted By State Lands Comm'n Policy Re Equal Treatment On State Tidelands

    (April 5, 2007) -- Following-up on a story previously reported by, now all CA residents -- not just LB residents -- will be allowed aboard the Queen Mary free of charge in April [caveat: parking fee still applies], a promotion to emphasize the 40th anniversary year of the ship's 1967 arrival in Long Beach.

    The expansion of the discount to include all Californians comes after the CA State Lands Commission learned of the LB-residents only discount (timed for the QM's 40th anniversary year in LB) offered by the RMS Foundation (the non-profit entity currently running the city-owned ship)...and the state agency advised City Hall that the LB-only promotion conflicts with the grant under which the City holds the tidelands for the benefit of all of Californians.

    And that means the April free admission to the Queen Mary must be for all Californians, not just LB residents.

    A letter dated March 29 from a State Lands Commission lawyer to the LB City Attorney's office said in part:

    As you are aware, the Queen Mary was purchased by the City in 1967 with revenues derives from public trust lands, granted by the State Legislature to the city of Long Beach in 1911. In addition, the Queen Mary is currently located on these same public trust lands. Discrimination in rates or charges associated wtih the management or operation of public trust lands and assetys are strictly prohibited pursuant to [the tidelands trust]. Moreover, these public trust lands and assets are held in trust for the benefit of the entire statewide public, not for local or municipal benefit [1956 CA Supreme Court citation omitted.]

    Therefore, neither the City nor its lessees may discriminate or otherwise provide a discount, subsidy or other cost difference to Long Beach residents and not applicable to residents of California involving admission to Long Beach residents and not applicable to all esidents of California involving admission fees or activities located on public trust lands or involving public trust assets. We expect that the City will clarify this matter with the RMS Foundation Inc. to insure that Long Beach residents will be treated equally with all other Californians.

    State Lands Commission Executive Director Paul Thayer told thatr this isn't the first time this type of issue has arisen; it's happened in other CA cities where an entity or municipality wanted to offer some local discount...and the State Lands Commission simply applies a consistent policy on this...amounting to "no."

    City Hall did convey the message...and the RMS Foundation responded by issuing a release stating:

    Rather than cancel this special hometown [free boarding] offer and disappoint Long Beach residents, Howard Bell, president and CEO of RMS Foundation, Inc...made the decision to expand the offer to include all of California. "We may lose a few dollars in attraction revenue during April," Bell said," but we'll more than make up for any losses with new, repeat visitors. We look at this expanded promotion as an even better opportunity to reintroduce the 'new' Queen Mary. In fact, I wish we'd thought of it sooner," he laughed...

    "We wanted to do something special for the city the Queen Mary has called home all these years," Bell added, "however, we're sure Long Beach won't mind if we broaden our invitation to other California cities. After all, the goal of our Anniversary campaign is to make the ship more accessible and welcoming. 'A Place to Celebrate' is our theme for the 40th Anniversary," he concluded, "and we want the community - and all of our California neighbors - to know they're invited to the party!"

    The April free admission offer includes the Self-guided Shipwalk Tour, highlighted by a new chronological look at the ship's 70-year history titled "Queen Mary Historic Exhibit: Her Story is History." Besides furnishings, objects and documents from the ship's archive, the new interpretation is made more personal with revealing quotes and stories from former passengers and crew.

    To enjoy free admission, residents are asked to present their driver's license or other photo ID at the Queen Mary box office during normal attraction operating hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. This invitation is for individuals (not groups) and the tickets must be used the same day as issued. The offer does not include parking, but free Passport Shuttle service is available from various downtown Long Beach locations. Normal posted fees will be charged for those wishing to book guided tours, the Ghosts & Legends Show, the new SPY-Fi exhibit (opening April 7), the Russian Submarine Scorpion or other ticketed attractions.

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