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Santa Monica City Council Addresses Sharknado, Tony Bennett

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark


Rusty's Surf

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

July 25, 2013 -- The Santa Monica City Council's discussion of the Pier Restoration Corporation Board ran the gamut from flying sharks to lounge acts to racial politics Tuesday night.

Council member Bob Holbrook told Pier Restoration Board chair Judy Abdo that he wants to see Michael Buble and Tony Bennett perform at the Twilight Concert series held every summer at the Pier, while Council member Tony Vazquez said he wants more Latino acts.

Everyone on the dais wondered if the T.V. network SyFy owed the City money for using the trademarked Santa Monica Pier sign in its recent epic film about a tornado full of sharks that destroys the century-old Pier.

“For those of you who watched Sharknado, it was destroyed,” said Council member Gleam Davis, “the Pier was destroyed.”

In the movie, the world-famous Santa Monica Pier sign is demolished by a run-away Ferris wheel after it is knocked free by a tornado full of live sharks. The Ferris wheel eventually crashes into the side of the Wyndham Hotel across the street.

Tuesday's discussion wasn't just about flying sharks, however. The Council heard Chair Abdo's update on the progress made by the recently-restructured Pier Restoration Corporation Board.

In March 2012, the City Council appointed a seven-person board to focus on marketing, planning events and solidifying the Pier's reputation as a world-famous destination.

Until then, the Pier Restoration Corporation's primary responsibilities had focused on revitalizing and rebuilding the Pier, which was condemned after it was battered by storms in 1983.

“I think we gave you a daunting task and very little time to do it,” said Davis.

Abdo said that it helped to have a Board of experts. “You, as a Council, appointed a board that really knew how to work together,” Abdo said.

The Council lauded Abdo and her board for their work over the last year.

“I think you all have worked tremendously together,” Davis told Abdo Tuesday, adding “it is just tremendous to watch the Pier function.”

The reconstituted Board, which includes three former City Department heads and the head of the city's tourism bureau, handles special events, monitors performers on the Pier, manages filming permits, solicits sponsorships and coordinates community outreach and education.

As part of Tuesday's meeting, the Council voted to explore creating a special promotional zone around the Pier that would include part of the beach, which, Abdo said would be “very helpful to understand what we can and can't do.”

She admitted, however, that the laws are complicated and would require an investigation by City staff.

The Council also voted to extend the current Board's terms. In 2012, the Board members were appointed to serve two-year terms. However, Tuesday's vote extended those terms until June 30, 2015.

At the request of Vazquez, staff will also explore adding another Board member with expertise in multi-cultural programming.

Vazquez was disturbed by the fact there were no Latin groups included in the line-up for the 2013 Twilight Concert Series, which in the past has featured Latino acts like Ozomatli, Pancho Sanchez and Los Lobos.

“On any given day, you go to the Pier, especially on weekends... it's very heavily populated with Latinos,” he said “When I saw the line-up for the Twilight concerts, we don't have any acts.”

Davis included in the motion a direction for staff to explore whether the producers of Sharknado were authorized to use the image of the Santa Monica Pier.

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