AUDIO: Mayor Says Queen Mary Should Be Preserved, Contends City Has Tried "For Past 40 Yrs" To Get QM Right, Blames Lack Of Right Partner And Right Preservation Plan
|(May 20, 2020, 6:20 p.m.) -- Asked during a May 20 press briefing (scheduled topic was COVID-19) if the City had properly overseen and protected the Queen Mary in recent years, and whether the City should preserve the Queen Mary in light of recent reports of at least $23 million needed (well-posed question by Kelly Puente), Mayor Robert Garcia today avoided a direct answer about the City's record in recent years (his tenure), saying the City had tried for the past 40+ years to get the QM right and blamed lack of the "right partner and the right preservation plan in place."
[City Hall's latest "QM preservation plan" ($23 million in taxpayer sums/debt spending) was approved by the City Council in a November 1, 2016 voted action 6-1, Price dissenting, Gonzalez and Richardson in China. In his Jan. 2020 State of the City message, Garcia touted a development plan for adjacent "Queen Mary Island" offered by Urban Commons.]
In his May 20, 2021 comments, Mayor Garcia also said he believes the ship should "absolutely" be preserved. "There's obviously a very complex process right now with the [Urban Commons] bankruptcy but that I think has got to be at the center of what happens in the future so I very much believe in that."
Since the Mayor's COVID-19 briefings don't allow follow-up questions, the Mayor wasn't asked about the City's 2020 termination of its contract with the QM's veteran inspector (turned increasingly audible whistle-blower) Ed Pribonic, a management action taken without voiced opposition by the Mayor or any Council members. At the same time, city management issued mainly upbeat descriptions of repairs and plans it said were being undertaken by lessee Urban Commons (now bankrupt.)
AUDIO of the Mayor's response here.
LB's Mayor has no policy setting authority or voting power. In April 2021, the Council voted to ask city management for a plan to transfer control of the Queen Mary to LB's non-elected (Mayor chosen/Council approved) Harbor Commissioners. If such a transfer were approved, the Council would effectively spare itself and the Mayor political accountability for the ship's future.
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