City Hall was packed with runners and athletic types on July 28, when more than fifty people showed up to voice support for routing a leg of the Los Angeles Marathon through Santa Monica. The Council unanimously approved a motion to allow changes in local law to allow marathons and half marathons in Santa Monica and to instruct staff to negotiate with L.A. Marathon officials for an approved route.
The Council also stated that any marathons or half marathons proposed in the City must be approved by the Council.
Santa Monica Police Chief Timothy Jackman and Santa Monica Fire Chief Jim Hone both voiced opposition to the current proposal for a half marathon, both citing dangers on a section of the route spanning the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). At one point in the currently proposed route, runners would cross the PCH, a crossing that the chiefs say is dangerous. Jackman also expressed concern about vehicular access on the PCH being limited during the race, a blockage that could prevent the entrance and exit of emergency vehicles and residents. The Council addressed that concern by asking staff to assess the safety of any and all race routes. Hone added that he would prefer a finish line to the L.A. Marathon be situated in Los Angeles, specifically Venice, not Santa Monica. His reasoning was that Los Angeles City service providers, such as police and fire, would be more willing to assist at the finish line of a Los Angeles Marathon.
One other major concern on the marathon issue came from Councilmember Gleam Davis, who questioned whether the races are currently scheduled too close together. The Santa Monica Half Marathon is proposed for February 28, 2010, and the L.A. Marathon is scheduled for March 21, 2010.
Support for a portion of the L.A. Marathon coming through Santa Monica, was expressed by Santa Monica Chamber President Laurel Rosen, L.A. Leggers spokesperson Bill Lockton, and teenaged members of Students Run L.A. Rosen said the L.A. Marathon would bring a much-needed “shot in the arm” to hotels and other businesses hurting during the economic downturn.
Other Council business at the meeting included a unanimously approved denial of an appeal to the rehabilitation plan of an historic property at 236 Adelaide Drive dubbed the Isaac Milbank House. The Landmarks Commission unanimously approved the project on May 11 and the Council.
An ordinance calling for the establishment of a taxicab franchise was adopted unanimously, while an ordinance dictating the future use of beach property leased by the Jonathan Club was held per Mayor Ken Genser, who suggested the Council take time to review the Jonathan Club proposal. The Council approved the Stormwater User Management Fee for fiscal year 2009-10, which will generate approximately $3.9 million for the City to meet state and federal regulations. The Council designated Councilmember Kevin McKeown as the primary voting delegate for the League of California Cities Annual Conference on September 16-19 in San Jose. and Pam O’Connor and Robert Holbrook were designated as alternate voting delegates.
The next City Council meeting will be held on August 11.