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Centennial Committee Seeks City Council Advice

The volunteer committee appointed by a previous City Council and charged with formulating and executing special events in observance of the city's 100th anniversary asks the current City Council for guidance after their plans for a beach ball with alcohol

After spending $133,026.57 on the Taste of Manhattan Beach and being told their centennial Beach Ball cannot include alcohol on the beach, Manhattan Beach's volunteer centennial committee, which includes Mayor Nick Tell and Councilman Richard Montgomery, wants City Council to weigh in and tell them what to do.

Such is the gist of a special City Council meeting the committee asked its vice president and MB Mayor Nick Tell to convene. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 30 at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers at 1400 Highland Avenue.

The special meeting comes on the heels of three council member's expressed opinion that the beach ball not include alcohol. The subject of having alcohol at the Sept. 22 Beach Ball was brought before council at its April 16 meeting.

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Mayor Pro Tem Wayne Powell and council members David Lesser and Amy Howorth cited a variety of reasons why they did not want to adopt an uncodified ordinance and resolution so that alcohol could be served at the Sept. 22 Beach Ball.

Tell and Montgomery, the committee's president, were obviously not happy with the three's positions. Tell suggested that the city now might have to foot some of the bill for the upcoming centennial events; Montgomery said that the idea of serving alcohol on the beach during the beach ball had been public knowledge for quite some time, implying that council was now disrupting plans cast many months before.

in January, the centennial committee via a permit application and letter to Tell were informed by L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors Director Santos Kreimann that the county, which has jurisdiction over the beach in MB, would be willing to approve the application if the city was able to suspend its own ordinance banning alcohol on the beach. Other conditions included appropriate insurance coverage and proper regulation of any alcohol service.

Beyond the idea of serving alcohol at the Beach Ball, details for the Sept. 22 gala have been relatively unavailable. At issue, too, for the three council members opposed to working around the city's alcohol bans was knowing who would be allowed to imbibe on the beach: Would it just be centennial event sponsors and their friends and, if not, how many Manhattan Beach residents be included. The city's population, including children, was more than 36,000 in the 2010 census; the Beach Ball, according to the city's permit application, would allow up to 500 people to be admitted to the cordoned off event.

In an article published by the Beach Reporter on Wednesday, Montgomery said, ""The centennial committee is paralyzed with the loss of direction. The focus of (the special meeting) will be: how do you want us to move forward? Chevron, Skechers, everyone who contributed money, what are you going to tell those people? Are you going to go back on your word and burn them?"

Tell told the newspaper reporter, "The purpose of the meeting is to try to resolve apparent differences on city council regarding the centennial events and how to pay for them.

"As a result of comments made at the last council meeting, the centennial committee has informed me that they cannot move forward with any of the planned events without having these differences resolved."

The next centennial committee event, a parade and picnic, is scheduled for Sat., May 19. The committee's website calendar lists a Manhattan Beach Centennial Festival, Downtown Open House and Pier Event on July 7, the Centennial Ball on Sept. 22 and holiday fireworks on Dec. 9.

Previous events include holiday fireworks in 2011, a centennial carnival at Manhattan Village and the Taste of MB.

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Robert Benard April 26, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Hey...$133,026.57 for a few hundred people to eat in the rain...why not spend more for 500 "select" residents to break the law on the beach! "The centennial committee is paralyzed with the loss of direction"... please, is your imagination that limited Council should get a new Centennial Committee!
WeDon'tWantYourAttitudeHere April 26, 2012 at 08:09 PM
The issue is not about how to pay for the very (exclusive) events, but it is should we rewrite a law about serving alcohol on the sand for a select few? Obviously a main contributor is a beer company and these clowns want to set a precedent for high falutin VIP parties on our public beach. They are actually admitting that they promised their friends and contributors a glass of wine with dinner in the elite tent by the surf and if they don't get to do it, they will pull their financial support. The nerve thinking they could change a law because they feel like they are THAT important!!! Elitism is still not OK here by an overwhelming majority!
Kathleen April 26, 2012 at 11:50 PM
The issue inot even about the alcohol or rewriting a law (I think that ship has sailed and will not be revisited). The real issue is that the Council should have provided clear direction to the Committee from its inception, not halfway through the Centennial Year when events have already been planned (with full Council knowledge). Whether there is alcohol or not is besides the point (I personally think there should not be alcohol). However, the City made a deal months ago to accept sponsorships based upon certain promises to those sponsors and now appears to be going back on it's word. All of this could have been avoided with clear direction from the beginning. If I were a committee member (and these are MB residents who are volunteering their free time to do this), I would be incredibly frustrated right now.
Sad to loose Centennial spirit April 30, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Sounds like you MIGHT be a committee member because you have the same lame arguments, word for word. How clear is a Municipal code that prohibits alcohol on the beach? You wanted to change that law because you feel you are "special." If events ARE planned, you sure don't ever tell anyone the details until the last minute. Then you change things, like you did in the staff report for tonight. And you promise even MORE changes tonight. To quote your concluding sentence in the the Staff Report, "Staff is working on the details of this idea as this report is being written." When you say STAFF you mean Centennial Committee Members. You say above: "The City made a deal months ago to accept sponsorships based upon certain promises to those sponsors and now appears to be going back on it's word." Why did you promise something you knew was prohibited? And you say, "The City promised and went back on their word." It was YOU, the Centennial Committee, not the City, who led your sponsors to believe that you could arrange this. Clear direction from the beginning??? How about you not imagining that you are so privileged that you can change laws? Quit whining and take responsibility that you (acting independently of the City Council, as you made very clear from the beginning) caused this train wreck. You are embarrassing yourself and MB.

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