Letter to the Editor: published March 11, 2022

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Questions about air regulations
To: Anni Marshall, Mayor, City of Avalon; Ted Apodaca, Editor Catalina Islander

I have to ask Avalon’s governing body some questions around all these “guest editorials” in the Catalina Islander.

The editorials are concerning the California Air Resources Board (CARB) pending regulations for boats in the Southern California coastline, which Includes Catalina Express, and the need to further reduce fuel exhaust emissions.

Am I reading these articles correctly, that Catalina Express and the City’s governing body has known for years (2010) that this was coming? And why on God’s earth have you waited until the 2022 implementation date to address this issue? This certainly falls under the “sticking your head in the sand” behavior pattern.

It seems presumptuous for business owners and/or governing entities to ask the State of California to somehow assist in this private business effort. The citizens of California do not want State Income used to bail out a private business. The State and County governing entities do not bail out private companies.

It is sad to see Avalon’s business community faced with a serious event Impacting the revenue line. But it will be hard to define how a government entity can finance a company needed to keep a small business community financially viable.

Catalina Express needs to seek the necessary professional advice now, to develop a feasible plan to move forward, that is not based on “help from the State.” That might mean doubling passenger fares and selling off a portion of the fleet to raise money to equip the remaining fleet. And possibly negotiating with the necessary officials some sort of time extension.

In the recent visitor numbers quoted for January, there Is no reference to the number of visitors arriving via the Express. Why is that?

And here the community Is looking at a possible serious financial Impact to the Avalon business community and the governing body is balloting a 1/4% sales tax and a 1% Increase to the occupancy tax which will then be 13%, one of the highest in the State for this size community.

As a resident of Southern California for over 50 years, I have spent many vacation months on the Island, observing the politics associated with Avalon.

Claire Bourke

Cypress, California

Editor’s Note: The monthly visitor counts released by Love Catalina Island (our local Chamber of Commerce) include the number of visitors who come to the Island by cross channel carriers, but does not break down that information by individual carriers (Catalina Express versus Catalina Flyer).