(Nov. 1, 2005) -- At its November 1 meeting, the LB City Council voted 8-0 (Baker abstaining owning property in affected area) the City Council at its Nov. 1 meeting to request the City Attorney to draft an ordinance for a one-year pilot program to standardize entertainment hours and establish tiered operating conditions in a Downtown Dining and Entertainment District, with the inclusion of rooftop entertainment at Smooths (formerly Mums) as it has been for the past 15 years."
The district would encompass an area bounded generally by Ocean Blvd., 3d St., Pacific Ave. and LB Blvd. but would also include the Pike at Rainbow Harbor and Shoreline Village. Hotels within the boundaries would be excluded from the District's requirements and their existing entertainment permits would apply. The area is within Council districts 1 and 2. Councilman Dan Baker was legally required to abstain based on his ownership of property within the proposed district.
City management's recommendation included providing additional police officers for the area and offered the Council two options: additional policing over three days ($543,000) or seven days ($905,000). Councilman O'Donnell indicated he favored phasing in additional downtown police beginning with three days a week, but Councilmember Lowenthal (who made the motion) and Colonna both urged the additional officer presence for seven days a week.
The item will now return to the Council for approval in the form of an ordinance in roughly a month.
Vice Mayor Kell (who seconded the motion) indicated she supported the item because it was a pilot project and could be reevaluated, but Councilwoman Reyes Uranga pointed out that once put in place, a pilot project of this nature is unlikely to be withdrawn in the future.
In its agendizing memo, city management indicated it plans to cover the cost based on "[r]evenue projections to the General Fund [which] have increased based upon the transfer of Redevelopment Agency Port-related tax increment revenue to the General Fund, which must be approved annually." At the Council meeting, City Manager Miller indicated that as a practical matter, he viewed the annual transfer of roughly $1.3 million to the General Fund by the Redevelopment Agency (the first was made this year) as a continuing revenue source, even though it had to be requested annually by the City Council.
(City management's agendizing memo had indicated the added police costs would "add to the General Fund's structural deficit if the identified funding source is not maintained, or if an alternate on-going resource is not identified.")
From where will the cops come? "The officers that are going to be staffing this proposal would come from overtime officers specifically out of the South Division, which is the Division that's responsible for Pine Ave.," said LBPD Deputy Chief Tim Jackman. "The officers there, while they are not going to be a permanent detail, do have familiarity with the Pine Ave. area and the entertainment district as it's conceived...The only difference would be if this goes to a seven-day long period, we may have to draw upon other parts of the Police Department on overtime in order to staff this," he added.
Councilmembers Richardson, Gabelich, Reyes Uranga and O'Donnell variously indicated that their districts also needed more police...but voted for the plan. "You've got...people here [downtown businesses and residents in the Council Chamber] who are very eloquently expressing the crime concerns of Pine, but we can also on any given Tuesday I can bring people in further up on Pine, from Pacific Coast Highway to 2000 block who could equally say their crime concerns," said Councilwoman Richardson...but added "I'm satisfied with the answer that currently the officers would be coming from [South Division], what I'm just looking for is any new officers, new programs that we have, that there would be a full, open discussion of where people [new officers] are going..."
At the invitation of City Manager Miller, LBPD Chief Batts followed up on the point. "Because of the overtime that is going on with downtown, that doesn't have any impact on how we deploy officers. We will continue to deploy them in the fashion that we have over the last three years based on our computer program and our workload, and we'll continue along those lines."
Councilwoman Gabelich asked. "Chief...are you opposed to a downtown [police] detail?" Chief Batts replied, "I'm not opposed to it, I think it's something that we can research and take a look at. Initially when the Pike project came online we had recommended almost ten years ago that we have a downtown detail but we were unable to do it as a city. I will converse with the city manager and based on our recommendations I will submit a report back to you."
Councilwoman Lowenthal, as the maker of the motion, also agreed to grandfather rooftop entertainment for Smooths (formerly Mums) owned by Pine Ave. pioneer John Morris, who has been allowed to conduct rooftop entertainment at the location for roughly 15 years.
City Mgt. Asks Council To Approve One-Yr Pilot "Downtown Dining & Entertainment District" w/ Standardized Hours & Tiered Conditions; Public Cost For Add'l Police Est. $543,000-$905,000/Yr., Proposed To Be Covered By...