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May 21, 2014

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Monday, June 9, the City of Pacifica has private discussions of contracts with Teamsters union.

May we be sure they will not increase the pension payouts?

Or will they negotiate down the amount of pension funded by the public?

I'm glad that it appears that the Pacifica City Council is going to fund the Resource Center again this year. I have no comment other than to say that the library certainly deserves funding, since city workers' pensions are well taken care of, due to creative financing.

Thank you, Chris and the rest of the Chamber of Commerce, for all your hard work to promote Pacifica. God knows, $10,000 is a drop in the bucket and money well spent. Some naysayers here just don't like the chamber because they are against the much-needed highway modernization. Don't worry, you can't please everyone.

There have been many posts lately to RIPTIDE, usually from Dan Underhill and Bill Collins, regarding the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce and why they should even be considered for a $10,000 stipend from the City of Pacifica. The City of Pacifica is funding the Visitor's Center, which is open weekends from May through November. Just the payroll for this time frame far exceeds $10,000. Within the past 12 months, the chamber has developed Pacifica's visitor website, VisitPacifica.com; launched the mobile app, iPacifica; centralized the community calendar on the website and the iPacifica app; hired a public relations firm to market local hotels and Pacifica; hosted two groups of travel writers on three-day stays within the city, which resulted in coverage in or on VIA magazine (AAA), Travel and Leisure, Senior Living and Diablo Magazine, SF Examiner and Contra Costa Times newspapers, eGloral Travel media, ontravel.com, Postcardsforyou.com, LocalGetaways.com, and KGO810News. Contrary to stated facts, our membership dues are not used for PAC activities, which are monies voluntarily contributed and earmarked by the business contributing such to go directly to the PAC, but used for the activities listed above. We have contributed to the new Devil's Slide Shuttle, which brings visitors into Pacifica to view the newest tunnel in California and then stay in our town for lunch or at least fill up their gas tank. We have revamped the kiosk in Rockaway Beach to show the latest activities and events in Pacifica. This Saturday we will be hosting Taste of Pacifica, which showcases the restaurants in this town and gives information on how to locate them and make reservations. This "private organization," as you call it, brings people into this town who spend dollars, which helps the city and our entire community, not just our members. Do you want to target and reach all demographic groups for your business to be successful? The Pacifica Chamber of Commerce provides these 21st-century products and services to help our chamber member businesses succeed. If you feel there is worth to being in the directory, being on our website, being on the iPacifica app, and joining us in community events like the Taste of Pacifica, the Annual Golf Tournament, the Oktoberfest, and the Rockaway Tree Lighting, then join us. If not, do not negate the importance we bring to this city as its marketing arm. In 2011, the total transient occupancy tax (TOT) was $940,000, which increased to $1.1 million in 2012 with the 2 percent increase in the TOT voted in by the citizens. In 2013 the $1.1 million increased to $1.3 million through marketing Pacifica as a tourist destination by the chamber. Let's give credit where credit is due.

5/27 City Council meeting gave the Chamber of Commerce a lot of time to promote itself in the guise of promoting Pacifica. It was a shamelessly self-serving sales pitch for our limited tax revenues.

There's no evaluation of the effectiveness of the $10,000 in taxpayers' money given to the chamber. The chamber talks to people after they're already in Pacifica -- it's easier to find a hotel or restaurant than the visitors center, if it's even open when you get there.

Tonight we saw (thanks to asking by Mike O'Neill) that the city collects some $70,000 of which the chamber keeps $35,000 (separate from the $10K).

Why don't the businesses assess themselves, and then contract with whomever to promote their businesses? Why is Pacifica government funding this?

There are plenty of businesses in Pacifica that are NOT promoted by the chamber, because they cannot afford the membership.

It's clear that the public would rather fund other priorities rather than the Chamber of Commerce. But will City Council heed the public?

Don't readily fall for the "What shall we cut?" ploy of Pacifica's City Council and staff.

The city has not said much about how our city employees have shared the pain of balancing the budget.

Isn't Pacifica still paying the highest pension level allowed by law? Reducing pensions for new hires to the prior level wouldn't likely solve the entire budget shortfall, but it was short-term thinking when City Council said that Pacifica would borrow money to pay what is owed for pensions rather than adjust the pension levels.

City staff appear relatively unaffected, with so many highly paid employees, yet the Resource Center appears to be in peril.

It's like when Washington shuts the Washington Monument to get the public to holler over budget cuts. Is City Council seeking to punish the public for rejecting the tax last year?

What sacrifices have staff made, other than firing staff, which reduces public services?

Do not provide the City Manager with an assistant. It is not something Pacifica can afford.

The Chamber of Commerce is a private organization of people of independent means; there is no basis for public funding. I heard that the chamber receives 40K from the city, not 10K.

Give the $10K or $40K to the resource center, the library, and the beach coalition.

Cut staff hours to make up the difference.

Renegotiate pension payouts down. Outsource the police. To start.

I concur with Linty and Todd: The benefits of the libraries and the resource center are obvious. The benefits of a Chamber of Commerce that excludes non-members from a city business directory and funds PACs that undermine the will of the people is in no way deserving of city funds.

Once again it is public pensions versus people. But I do agree with Linty Marr about the Chamber of Commerce. If it can raise funds to create a PAC to further its own agenda, let it further fund the $10,000 we give it from the public pot.

The PRC deserves our support because it serves the entire community, and helping our fellow citizens is the moral thing to do, but 10 beans to the C of C?? For the life of me, I can't find how the public benefits there. In fact, the "chamber pot's" only activity beyond ribbon cutting is to organize politically against the greater good, such as support of the highway widening. Let them write their own checks.

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