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April 25, 2017

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PACIFICA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE REVENUES:
$192,273 -- 2011
$360,193 -- 2012
$372,893 -- 2013
$382,373 -- 2014
$357,548 -- 2015

The true financial powerhouses are the individual school district parent teacher organizations that, unlike the chamber (burdened by high labor costs), have almost no fixed costs and are run almost exclusively on volunteer labor, and contrary to popular belief, regularly donate to ballot measures.

PACIFICA SCHOOL DISTRICT PTOs ($798,083 COMBINED)
$264,064 -- Ocean Shore (2014)
$185,941 -- Cabrillo School PTO (2015)
$148,367 -- Ortega School PTO (2014)
$114,433 Vallemar (2014)
$085,278 -- Ingrid B. Lacy (2014)
NA -- Sunset Ridge

Other folks emailed questions on these rather small players:
$068,824 -- Pacifica's Environmental Family
$060,646 -- Pacifica Land Trust

And to clear up another common misconception, the Business Improvement District (BID) isn't a voluntary assessment; it's a tax levied by the City of Pacifica, which has a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer to oversee and even audit if it chose to do so. Per California Streets and Highways Code Section 36533, the Chamber of Commerce must annually file a report on its expenditures.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwjvcD64GE0&t=06m51s

Thanks @Larry_Rosenstein: I'll clarify. There are two separate hotel taxes levied by law and collected by the City of Pacifica:
1. The 12% Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)
2. The $1 per room per night Business Improvement District Tax (BID)
___________________
"...The money you're talking about (~$73K) was not from the hotel tax; it was from the separate Business Improvement District (BID) funds.The money you're talking about (~$73K) was not from the hotel tax; it was from the separate Business Improvement District (BID) funds...." (Larry Rosenstein)

Residential development is a loser in the long run for cities -- the only thing that's keeping some cities afloat is a strong commercial/industrial tax base. That's just the way it is under our current system. The system is unsustainable, period. Radical change will involve restructuring how things are paid for, and it will be painful for property owners. Renters are already paying too much.

Having a chamber of commerce that's not open on weekends is like opening a brew pub and microbrewery without beer.

Dan:

The money you're talking about (~$73K) was not from the hotel tax; it was from the separate Business Improvement District (BID) funds. The BID assessment is $1/room/night, while the hotel tax is 12% of the room rate, and totals at least 10X that amount.

The BID money does go to the chamber, but the hotel tax goes into the city's general fund. Back when the chamber operated an actual visitor center that was open when people were interested in visiting (e.g., weekends), the city gave the chamber tens of thousands of dollars from the general fund. That was cut back over the years, and I haven't kept track of the city's budget closely enough to know if the city still gives the chamber anything.

Lionel:

San Francisco has a huge pension problem; just wait till Mayor Lee leaves office.

Expand and build more housing and do nothing for the infrastructure.

I'm not going to insult your intelligence because you're smarter than most, but every city needs revenue to cover expenses. Running a city, like running a household, is expensive.

The no-growthers in Pacifica have limited the revenue and they can't pay bills. If Pacifica slashes pay, the employees all leave.

The city pension plan is vastly underfunded; the bond sale did little to help. The sewer plant is in need of updating and/or replacing, and the roads are a tad behind Aleppo's.

I don't think Warren Buffett could even help Pacifica. The county doesn't care, and the state just laughs.

Half Moon Bay, "the city that doesn't know how," outsources its police and parks & recreation. The fire protection district operation for HMB and the unincorporated Midcoast, with its own board, is outsourced to CalFire; but, unlike Pacifica, it is not a city function. HMB is not a model to follow if one wishes to have a better, more financially stable, long-term future.

@BB:
People here don't want more congestion on the highways, which is probably a futile hope. The irony is that we already have a freeway through much of town, and it doesn't help much. And other beach towns are having fiscal problems as well. I seem to remember that Pacific Grove is one coastal city with big financial problems, and Half Moon Bay, despite the Ritz-Carlton and big public events (Pumpkin Festival, Dream Machines, etc.), has financial problems. Half Moon Bay already has outsourced public safety (CalFire, San Mateo County Sheriff) and gained a few years of fiscal breathing room as a result.

I don't see the tourism industry or "building out the town" as solutions. I'm not sure where the money will come from; it may be as radical as default and takeover by the county if we can't get our fiscal house in order. I don't look forward to that.

@Bill_Collins, this is from 2015, but:
55.0% went to the Chamber of Commerce as a management fee.
1.4% went to advertising.
43.6% went to the PR agency Hook, Line & Thinker.

Further discussion from the past here:
http://www.pacificariptide.com/pacifica_riptide/2016/02/surprise-too-much-information.html

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"If the Chamber of Commerce isn't promoting tourism, then what does it do with the hotel tax revenues the City of Pacifica hands over to it with no accountability each year?" (Bill Collins)

Lionel:

You're one of the people on here whose opinion I respect. Wiping out the downtown probably wasn't a good idea back then, but we are forced to live with it.

How does the city bring in any revenue-producing projects when most people are against it?

Pacifica is the only beach town on the West Coast that doesn't take advantage of that.

The powers to be like it that way.

"The trench for Highway 1 was dug before I was born. Please let it go."

BB: I'd love to let it go, in fact, I'd love to see it disappear, but it won't, and the effect it creates is very real. What other "beach town" in California has such an ugly edifice so close to the beach?

I wish tourism could be used to save Pacifica, but we're so far in the hole from decisions made in the past that it's hard to see how that's possible. The Fog Fest gets a lot of people coming to town, but we have yet to see any financial benefit to the city from it, and it's one weekend out of 52. There used to be an antiques fair along Palmetto years ago, but there wasn't enough money or interest generated to sustain it.

BTW, today's San Francisco Chronicle has a good article (see link below) on Airbnb's settlement with S.F. That could be used as a basis for a local regulation compelling short-term rentals to be regulated and pay hotel tax to the city. There's your revenue-generating idea for the day.

http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Airbnb-settles-SF-suit-agrees-to-register-all-11112109.php

Laurie:

You complain against realtors, out-of-town developers, builders, real estate projects. What is your proposal to fend off bankruptcy?

I saw bumper-to-bumper traffic on Highway 1 this weekend. The Dream Machines show was at the Half Moon Bay Airport. Too bad Pacifica can't have attractions like that. Like a crab derby or striper fishing days. Years ago, Pacifica had Frontier Days with rodeo.

Too bad all those tourists were sitting in traffic not spending any money in Pacifica.

Walking along Beach Boulevard, people have very few places to spend money.

What is your proposal, Laurie?

Lionel:

The trench for Highway 1 was dug before I was born. Please let it go.

Pacifica is the only beach town on the West Coast that doesn't take advantage of being a beach town.

Pacifica needs level-headed, fiscally ethical, and responsible people driving public works decisions.

Mr. Spano was fully endorsed by SAMCAR and ran on a pro-development platform in 2014. A fuzzy-headed idea that a coastal zone side road is Pacifica's "Main Street" makes him appear to be one who would throw good money after bad, and not address the real costs of development (seawater incursion, drought, more and more and more traffic, pollution, etc.).

BJ Nathanson summarized a lot of people's opinions when she said he didn't get her vote:
https://www.reddit.com/r/bayarea/comments/2ki86h/pacifica_city_council_candidate_victor_spano/

Unfortunately, according to his letter to the editor of the Pacifica Tribune, Mr. Spano persists in the mythical belief of Palmetto Avenue as "Main Street" of Pacifica. He is not alone; this has been the most persistent mythical belief regarding development in Pacifica, and it even predates the Quarry proposals.

When a trench is dug through the center of town (Highway 1), the town is split asunder, and the surrounding roads become frontage only. Palmetto Avenue was "Old County Road" in the old days, but the freeway trench of the 1960s ended that -- permanently.

The city has spent millions of dollars on a frontage road -- money we could really use right now -- and more wishful thinking isn't what we need.

If the Chamber of Commerce isn't promoting tourism, then what does it do with the hotel tax revenues the City of Pacifica hands over to it with no accountability each year?

Victor Spano worked in Daly City's Economic Development Office. He would have been the perfect choice for head of Economic Development for Pacifica. Local guy, experienced, wants to see Pacifica prosper. One of the previous City Council members was annoyed that he ran for City Council and wouldn't give him consideration. She is not on City Council at the moment.

I told him he is going to have to wear a cape and a shirt with an S on it for Super Spano.

I'd like to see clear articulation of what the Chamber's mission statement actually is. My understanding is that it is specifically precluded from advocating tourism. If that is accurate, they would be limited to marketing of local businesses to local citizens -- and given the effectiveness of their efforts so far, most businesses would be better off saving the membership fees and shifting the dollars to more modern promotion efforts.

Flores had a lot of grand ideas, but they tended to be abandoned very quickly. So far as I can tell, the Chamber up to now has allowed inept functionaries to claim the title of "CEO" but without producing the results that a real CEO must deliver. After a couple of years, when the ineffectiveness of their job becomes apparent, they can use the title to move on to another host and pull down another "CEO" salary while delivering phuqall.

Hopefully the new CEO is actually effective, but I will not hold my breath. What is needed is serious and solid private-sector experience, not experience on how to milk the system.

The local chamber: not to be taken seriously. Ms. Flores was a joke; Ms. Conlon, a disaster.

Let's hope the Chamber stops pulling the wool over out-of-town would-be quarry developers once and for all.

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