Letters to the Editor: published Sept. 17, 2021

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Catalina Island Foundation: alive and well

For many islanders, 2020 was a year to forget. Visitorship declined, local businesses struggled, and community groups saw their funding shrivel. Fortunately, a few individuals and organizations were able to weather the storm and step in with badly needed support. Among those were the Santa Catalina Island Fund and the Catalina Island Foundation. It’s good news that both remain alive and well today.

Without a doubt, SCIF is among the most successful community programs the island has ever seen. Its combination of SAT tutoring, collegiate prep, and life skills instruction have enabled more than 200 island students to achieve their dreams of higher education. SCIF graduates now occupy professional positions in a range of industries. Some have returned to Avalon, contributing their expertise to entities both public and private. SCIF is wholly funded by private donations and is the principal undertaking of the Catalina Island Foundation

Founded in 2014, CIF is a non-profit fund dedicated to supporting programs that enhance the quality of life of island residents. Since its inception, it has approved almost 40 grants covering a range of initiatives, including education, health care, recreation, youth programs, and more. CIF’s early contribution of $10,000 to last year’s expansion of the island’s food pantry program was pivotal to its success. CIF is run by a board of locals who continue to seek out worthy causes. For more information, visit http://www.catalinaislandfoundation.org.

Mike Rivkin

Dear friends and neighbors,

My name is Bert Scott, exactly the same as my grandfather, father, and son. I am the owner of the property at 310 E Whittley Ave. It has been brought to my attention that a complaint has been reported against me and my dwelling. I wish to address the incident transparently and to assure you that I do not condone these senseless acts of stupidity or take the situation lightly.

Since May of this year, my family has been renting out a unit in our duplex as a short-term vacation rental, and a permanent year-round unit as permitted by the city. On September 10 2021, a group of 6 grown-ups rented out my property. On the morning of September 11 we received troubling information about their stay. During the night of the 10th, two of the guests were causing a disturbance that concluded with a confrontation by local law enforcement, and later a complaint that eggs were thrown at and hit a neighbor’s home.

I am deeply disturbed and disappointed by their actions and wish to inform you that we absolutely condemn any and all of this type of behavior. Immediately when we learned of the situation, we contacted Airbnb and set into motion the eviction of the guests, who were forced to leave that same day and departed the island on the 5:30pm boat. Simultaneously our project engineer was dispatched to the neighbor’s home to inspect for possible damage and to mitigate the effects on the home by the eggs.

I told Airbnb that I wanted these guests off my property, now! Airbnb immediately cancelled their contract and informed them to vacate the premises forthwith. I asked my “on island” manager to inspect the property to ensure it was empty and intact. Finding them still occupying the home, they were given the choice of departing immediately or being cited for trespassing and escorted off the property.

To disrespect a law enforcement officer and to vandalize a neighbor’s home is abhorrent to me. 310 E Whittley is our home, and as such we expect our guests to treat our house and neighbors with the utmost of respect. We wish to apologize to any community members who were negatively impacted by this incident and will continue to do our due diligence by redoubling our efforts to draw attention to the rule of engagement of renting here in Avalon, and informing our guests of the city ordinances to help prevent situations like these from happening.

All things considered, we enjoy helping to bring tourism to the island and look forward to continuing in that effort.

If anyone wishes to speak to me about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Thank you for your time and attention,

Bert Scott