Letters to the Editor: Friday, April 6, 2018

Urges ‘no’ vote on Measure T

Speaking for myself, the purpose of this letter is to urge voters to Vote No on Measure T.

Measure T is too risky for the citizens of Avalon and too hurried and ill conceived.

Measure T is too risky because repayment is entirely dependent upon visitor counts from cross channel carriers and cruise ships remaining at least at current levels and there is no mechanism to cover any shortfall in visitor tax revenue under Measure T except the City’s General Fund and the Avalon taxpayer.

I have served as the volunteer liaison between the Catalina Chamber and business community and the cruise lines for 20 years. All of the cruise lines calling on Catalina have advised me that ours is a very, very cost sensitive cruise market where minimal changes in cruise vacation costs significantly impact sales and revenues. This cost sensitivity is more acute for Catalina because it is one of the few remaining ports in the world which require tendering and its related difficulties and limitations for cruise guests, and especially mobility challenged cruise guests.

It is my impression that we are more vulnerable to loss or reduction of cruise ship visitors, and thus the Measure T tax revenues, than we have been in the last 20 years. One cruise line in particular has suggested they may consider alternatives to Catalina in light of this potential change which was done without notice or discussion. The cruise industry is a global industry and we have to compete with other ports for cruise line business.

When Alaska raised their fees significantly without negotiation and support of the cruise industry multiple lines reduced or ceased calling in Alaska. When the Port of LA doubled the fees to cruise lines without notice or negotiation, Carnival left and built their own terminal in Long Beach. This new tax, in addition to the 100 percent increase in fees imposed by the City last year, will result in the industry looking at cruise alternatives to Catalina. Please note that the cruise lines have no contractual or other “obligation” to keep calling on Catalina. If the cruise lines leave or reduce their calls the current fee, and the Measure T tax revenues, will be lost to the City leaving the Avalon taxpayer to cover the payments on the CIMC financing.

As a retail store owner in Avalon for 20 years; as a former member of the Avalon Planning Commission for 10 plus years and as a father of two children raised in Avalon for whom Avalon is their home town, I urge the voters to Vote No on Measure T.

The CIMC has no land; does not know if the construction costs can be limited to $40 million; has no lender to finance the project; has no assurance that a lender would require interest that would limit the total cost to $100 million (principal and interest) and has no plan to fund repayment if the Measure T Special Tax is not enough to make the loan payments.

We raised our kids in Avalon, as have hundreds of other families, with the health care that has been available on the Island and they are healthy and thriving, as are we. To suggest that the proposed medical facility is the ONLY path to appropriate health care on the Island is at best sophomoric and insulting and at worst disingenuous.

I urge the voters to Vote NO on Measure T for the financial health of Avalon and its taxpayers.

Sincerely,

David E. Creigh

 

Catalina needs a bison park

Speaking as a long time former Great White Steamer/Catalina Cruises employee and frequent visitor, it is time for the Conservancy to designate an isolated, huge fenced in section of the island just for bison. Humans and wild animals do not co-exist. The Trans-Catalina trail has been a great addition.

The only danger hikers should have to deal with is rattle snakes. Catalina Buffalo Park could be the islands version of San Diego Wild Animal Park. Tour buses can drive by or “In” similar to the former Lion Country Safari.

I know this letter is upsetting to residents and the visitors bureau, but how much longer can bison attacks continue? Sometimes it is not possible to stay 100 feet away from buffalo on certain trails and campgrounds. Enough is enough!

Donald Crew

Long Beach

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