Now that the news is out, that most of the cruise ships are discontinued, it is time to rethink what we are doing. Less than 6 months ago we were bickering about whether to allow an additional cruise ship or two per week here. Now they are gone, and so is most of our business. It is time for bold leadership. Our City and its economy are in a dangerous position. It would be much better to act decisively and soon, rather than waiting until insolvency is upon us. A number of small businesses have already shut down. There will be more. And then, what about the large organizations here? So, what is required?
In my opinion, two actions by our leaders could reverse the current trend. First, the cost of the Catalina Express trip here needs to be significantly reduced … enough to get the attention of people! This might take the form of a fare reduction, a two-for-one deal, or some other incentive. Second, the same kind of effort needs to be made to re-attract the boaters here. For example, for short-term visitors, say less than two weeks, the mooring fees could be cut in half. For long-term boaters, the mooring fees could be reduced by one-third to make them more comparable to what other ports charge. I am acquainted with boaters who sometimes choose to go elsewhere because of the high fees here.
In our mini-world here on the Island, there is an urgent need for bold leadership (e.g., Churchill, FDR, Kennedy, Reagan). Does anyone out there have this much courage and determination to save our wonderful and unique community? To try to “hunker down” and weather the storm, is not going to get the job done! Ignoring it, is also not an option.
Glen Craig Gustafson