Tuesday, April 13, 2010

An open activist letter

Last night I attended a very long council meeting with a study session about Title 11, the zoning code. What came out of it was a bit of a surprise, particularly from one Councilman. He has continually blocked all efforts of the Chamber to advocate for business, has worked consistently to throw up barriers to growth and he and his wife, under color of authority when he was mayor verbally assaulted and harassed me in the City Manager's office. Below is my call to action to fellow business owners. As a business owner and business advocate myself, it has become clear that only by backing up my reasonable requests with further call to action can we assert in a positive way our role in community.

Business is a vital part of any community and we should all be engaged with government, philanthropy, education and service in addition to our role in making a profit. If you live in Seal Beach and wish to know more, please leave a comment or reach out to me.

Fellow business owners and friends,

Well, last night we were blindsided and attacked by Councilman Antos. He
has done several things which are beyond the pale at Council and the
Title 11 study session.

* All special events on the beach, which are NOT City "sponsored"
are to be prohibited unless approved by the Parks & Recreation
Commission as "appropriate" for our community. This would add
60-90 days to the approval process and many events may be turned
down as "not appropriate." That means Easter sunrise services,
weddings, gatherings, sports events non-profit fundraisers, etc. .
.He doesn't want "those kinds of people" (not sure other than
"non-local" what that means) having events on our beaches. I
couldn't believe it. We currently have a functioning process
which is already costly and time consuming for special events.
All of this because he doesn't want Brazilian Sand Soccer on the
beach in May. I specifically brought up houses of faith and he
said NOTHING in support of them. Council approved that
recommendation 5-0. This may also be an item which is open to
challenge by the Coastal Commission, but in particular, I would
like the churches and non-profits to determine if this is ok with
* After 11 pm tonight in the Title 11 Study Session - He BLASTED
Main Street and every business that had an A-Frame sign or ANY
OTHER FORM of outdoor display. During this session with Planning
Commission, he personally attacked me, Main Street Cyclery,
Bogart's, the Sun, Abbey, Seal Beach Shoppe, Up, Up & Away Kites,
B.S. Pearce, Furnace, Subject, Main Street Wine Cellar and others
for their a-frames and / or clothing displays. He had huge blown
up photos of businesses and any display they might have including
benches, chairs or any goods out on display. This came as a
complete surprise and was a shock to everyone present.
* He also attacked all display signs for realtors which were in any
way stuck in the ground. He asserted this a-frame signs or
"staked" signs punctured sprinklers. He specifically attacked
Baytown Realty, First Team Realty, American Realty Brokers and others.
* He made multiple attacks on business and special events. This
signage issue would affect A-Frame signs EVEN ON PRIVATE PROPERTY.
Shopping centers and homes may also be affected.
* If you have an A-Frame sign, be prepared to have the City pick it
up and cite you shortly.

I am asking for a CALL TO ACTION from all of you. I will have a
petition ready for you to sign on for A-Frame Signs and a separate one
for special events on the beach. I will be coming by in the next week
for signatures and to answer questions. I would ask that you further
forward this email to anyone you believe would be supportive of our
business community and those beach activities. We will also identify a
council meeting in which your attendance will be meaningful. Other
council members - notably Mike Levitt and several planning commissioners
were supportive of business.

Antos has identified that he is an enemy of business, an opponent of
reasonable efforts by our businesses to flourish and simply a barrier to
nearly all that the Chamber stands for. We have worked hard for several
years to deepen and improve the relationship with the City. We provide
the engine of resources for most of the non-profit events and
fund-raising in our town. I ask you to make a commitment RIGHT NOW to
be part of the solution, but positively proving to all of the council
that we are a valuable part of the community and are not to be simply
dismissed. This affects all of us!

Please email the City Clerk, City Manager and Planning Director with
your concerns. Their email is below:

* David Carmany, City Manager - dcarmany@ci.seal-beach.ca.us
* Linda Devine, City Clerk - ldevine@ci.seal-beach.ca.us
* Mark Persico, Director of Planning - mpersico@ci.seal-beach.ca.us

Your email should contain the following: your name, your business or
organization, your clear support of A-Frame signs and reasonable local
signage efforts, and your desire to NOT increase the difficulty of
special event permitting on the beach. We will keep you posted on the
call to action for a date to appear for Council and/or Planning Commission.



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