More than a month after the Quiksilver Pro New York made history in Long Beach, the City, after numerous delays, has responded to a series of Freedom of Information requests from a number of different residents about what went on in City Hall during the planning of the Quiksilver Pro.
In this release of around 25 pages there are included: preliminary agreements, permit documents, a site plan, a long explanation of fees, insurance documents, and three checks. Note: Not all documents are yet scanned
The bottom line, and thing most people want to know is this: how much did the Quiksilver Pro make Long Beach? The short answer is $26,785.
The document pack we received includes a single “Use of City Property Permit/Licence,” for the use of Pacific, Lincoln, National, and Laurelton beaches. The math behind it is spelled out in the documentation, and Quiksilver then sent over a check for the above figure.
The site permit was issued on January 14, 2011 with Quiksilver dating their check on April 5, 2011 – a full five months before the event itself.
An exact breakdown of the beach fees related to the permit are available here.
Further inspection of the documents includes mentions of “film permits,” “noise permits” but then does not provide any follow-up as to whether those permits were issued.
Point 2 here says quite clearly: “specific and separate permit(s) will be issued upon receipt of a site plan…” Again, no additional permits are included within this document pack that requested any and all documents related to the event.
Issued on August 28th – days before the planned start of the competition – the City issued an “Addendum to the Site Permit Application”.
This document again mentions a “film permit,” and introduces a “special event permit,” and a building permit.
Those permits are not included anywhere in the document pack, so one would be led to believe they were not issued, as they should be public documents.
The Freedom of Information request for public documents requested “copies of all contracts, permits, licenses” among many other things. Considering the site permit application is the only permit we were given, therefore leads me to believe this is the only permit the City issued, and the only revenue generating component of the Quiksilver Pro.
I mentioned above that there were two other checks included. They relate to payments made to the City for services rendered, i.e.: paying for the cops, emts, sanitation, and other city services that were required to support the event. That money is not profit for the City.
On the City’s website, they wrote, “Our City received hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees for the event. This includes compensation for all municipal services provided to help make it a success, such as police, fire, sanitation, beach maintenance and other City personnel”
From the information provided in the document pack, the City did receive “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” But, most of that money was used to offset costs related to the event, like having extra police and fire resources on. The way the sentence is phrased, most would jump and say it means “oh, I guess the City netted hundreds of thousands.”
The Long Beach Herald reported that there may have been a $50,000 “citywide media fee” which was possibly scrapped after the event was so dramatically scaled back. Because that fee or permit is not disclosed in the document pack, I assume it was dropped.
There is also the issue of “sales tax revenue” that City Manager Theofan discussed. One resident in the last City Council meeting debunked that theory thoroughly. To summarize, she crunched the numbers and speculated that sales tax through the Quiksilver tent would amount to around $1000 if the store sold $1,000,000 worth of goods. Not exactly enough to be called a real cash cow for the residents.
I’m going to assume the City did accurately respond to the Freedom of Information requests and did disclose all documents that were available. That would lead me to conclude the City’s only revenue generator from this competition was the sole permit issued in January, and paid for in April for a total of $26,785.
What frustrates me so much about this whole process is again, the total lack of transparency. The City knew as early as January 14th – when the permit was issued – what the above permit costs were. Why not discuss this? Further, the January 14th permit spelled out a lot of things residents wanted to know – why not discuss them too in the long series of City Council meetings that were held? The August 28th permit further highlighted so many of the details the residents wanted to know. Why weren’t these documents made public as early as possible? And of course, there’s further the issue why a Councilman was required to, and ignored, when he submitted a Freedom of Information request in August.
I want to make clear that I’m an ardent supporter of the Quiksilver Pro and everything it did for this City. You can read about it in my series called Quiksilver is Good For You. What I want is a straightforward and transparent planning process that the community is actually involved in. This batch of documents the City has provided is a step in the right direction.
The first block of documents that I’ve processed are linked at the bottom of this post.