Petitioners of a potential ballot measure to eliminate the City of Arcadia’s Utility Users Tax have submitted more than enough signatures but those signatures must be validated in order to get their measure on the ballot at an election later this year or in 2015, City Manager Dominic Lazzaretto told the Arcadia Chamber board of directors Thursday, April 24. If the measure should make it to the ballot and pass, it would cut 15% of the City’s budget, or about $7 million, which would major cuts to police and fire services and much more, including Chamber funding, he told the more than two dozen community leaders in attendance in the Chamber’s conference room sponsored by Foothill Credit Union.
Lazzaretto also noted that the City’s annual budget study session, which is open to the public, will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, prior to the City Council meeting at 7 p.m. that evening with three newly-elected officials Sho Tay, Roger Chandler, and Tom Beck, as well as newly-appointed Mayor John Wuo and Mayor Pro-Tem Gary Kovacic.
Under the expressed Chamber goals for the coming year laid out by newly-elected Chamber President Denise Weaver of Weaver & Associates Insurance, Chamber President-Elect Andrew Gregson of The Executive Factor gave a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation about a concept for recruiting more residential members, which the board felt was worth pursuing, leaving the details to be discussed at a later date.
In her President’s report, Weaver announced she will attend the monthly Ambassadors meetings to welcome new Chamber members, and she and CEO Scott Hettrick summarized a meeting they were invited to attend by local representatives from the Special Olympics requesting the Chamber’s help in supporting and promoting the upcoming World Games in Los Angeles in July/August 2015. As one of 100 Host Towns in the region, Arcadia would coordinate practice facilities, lodging, meals, security, and a couple of brief outings and transportation to those outings for 100 athletes for three days prior to the Games. Lazzaretto said the City has already coordinated with the schools for the practice facilities and will provide transportation and security. Hettrick said several Arcadia Chamber member hotels, including Embassy Suites and Santa Anita Inn, have already offered very generous discounted rates for lodging and breakfasts, and the Chamber has agreed to handle promotion and publicity for the three days.
Reports from other board members:
- Law Day, an annual free legal advice event sponsored by the Arcadia Chinese Association, will be held Saturday, May 10, at the Arcadia Public Library, according to former ACA President Edward Wong – May 10.
- Arcadia Improvement Association President Matt McSweeny said the AIA is finalizing a consulting contract with Jane Garzona and working with the City and Arcadia Historical Society to promote the upcoming Thoroughbred Walk of Champions dedication event Sept. 27.
- John Wilson of the Boys and Girls Club of the Foohills will report on the North Arcadia business district next month and announced the Boys and Girls Club Derby Day fundraising event at Santa Anita Park May 3.
- Santa Anita Park‘s first Spring Meet starts Friday, April 25, with the first 3 p.m. start time for twilight racing on Fridays, and featuring free admission to the infield and free parking at Gate 6 on weekends. The first Cal Phil concert at Santa Anita infield is June 29.
- Marie Taylor of Bacani-Taylor NAI Capital handed out reports on commercial properties for sale and recently sold in South Arcadia, including the former Walgreen/Famima stand-alone shop in the parking lot at the northwest corner of intersection at Santa Anita Avenue and Live Oak Ave.
- Westfield Santa Anita General Manager Ramon Oseguera thanked the Chamber for supporting the recent ribbon-cuttig of the new PlaySpace area at the Promenade and announced a fundraiser for breast and ovarian cancer May 3 & 4 during which mall retail tenants will offer special discounts with the purchase of a $5 card.
In other Chamber-specific reports:
- Taste of Arcadia: Sylvia Ramos of Dilbeck Real Estate has already held a first volunteer committee meeting to recruit and oversee management of the food and beverage vendors, and Chamber Vice President Vicki Knight of Century Rooter Service & Plumbing, as volunteer chairman of the Business Showcase at the Taste, has already booked 23 out of 40 business and car dealer vendor slots among Chamber members which get first crack at the event at 2013 prices. Non-Chamber members can book any remainiing slots as of July 1.
- Networking Breakfasts: Dr. Nina Getz of Phillips Eye Center reported more than 40 attendees at April breakfast and a strong upcoming breakfast planned for May 15 with guest speaker Maestro Victor Vener of California Philharmonic and the Arcadia Business Icon tribute presented to Rod’s Grill.
- Ambassadors: Sylvia Ramos, on behalf of chairman Rich Jones, announced a half-dozen new members.
- Government Affairs Forum: Hettrick, on behalf of Forum chairman Jack Orswell, reported that the speaker next Thursday, May 1, is current Citizen of the Year and multi-term Mayor and recent former City Councilman Bob Harbicht.
Under New Business, Hettrick said he is meeting with the new head of the Small Business Development Center at PCC and there is an opportunity to coordinate a Procurement Workshop to get big companies together with service providers to let them know who to contact about providing painting, plumbing, and other services. Chamber VP Knight said a similar workshop in Pasadena was very beneficial, and board member Mark Ramos of Vista Paint said he also felt it would be worthwhile. Bigger companies like Westfield Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, and Methodist Hospital will need to contact the Chamber if they are interested in providing this information at a Workshop or even on the Chamber’s web site, and service providers are encouraged to contact the Chamber so that it can be determined if there is enough interest and participants to warrant a Workshop.
The Chamber is also looking for those interested in forming and/or leading consumer marketing committees for Asian Consumer Outreach and Visitor Marketing, the latter of which Hettrick said would develop strategies to capitalize on all the out-of-towners who come to Arcadia for horse races and the Breeders’ Cup, the Arboretum, Westfield Santa Anita, and major annual events like the Festival of Bands, Arcadia Invitational, Lawn Bowling tournaments, etc.
In his monthly CEO report, Hettrick announced:
- Former Printing Control consultant to the Chamber, Lisa Ferrick, has been hired as a part-time Member Director to work in the office 20-hours per week in the afternoon hours following part-time Office Manager Cherry Liu, while Glenn Oyoung of turn3 Creative is providing some monthly consulting work on a trial basis for media releases and event coverage as well as marketing support and commission-only ad/sponsor sales and member recruitment.
- Chamber office remodel: Following the Phase 1 remodel of the conference room at a cost of more than $62,000 ($50,000 a three-year $120,000 commitment from the City, and $12,000 for furniture and technology from a three-year $18,000 commitment from Foothill Credit Union), Phase 2 work will begin on the lobby and storage areas sometime after the City’s new budget year begins July 1, 2014. It is expected to cost more than $40,000, with $30,000 coming from the City.
- Chamber Mail update – in the past nine months more than 1,200 new local residents have received direct mailings with ads from Chamber members. The Chamber endorses this third-party service.
Chamber Executives present: President Denise Weaver, Weaver & Associates; President-Elect Andrew Gregson, The Executive Factor; Vice President Vicki Knight, Century Rooter Service and Plumbing; Treasurer Gil Stromsoe, Mark Schaefer Assoc.; Chamber CEO Scott Hettrick.
Other board members present: Chris Andersson, Foothill Credit Union; Andrew Chang Jr., Santa Anita Inn; Imy Dulake, Coldwell Banker; Joan Francone, ORI Global; Doneva Garcia, Methodist Hospital; Dr. Nina Getz, Phillips Eye Center; Bob Hoffman, Merrill Lynch; Bruce Lazenby, Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary; Dominic Lazzaretto, City of Arcadia; Matt McSweeny, Matt Denny’s Ale House; Ramon Oseguera, Westfield Santa Anita; Annette Ousterhout, Jan’s Towing; Romy Rahmanian, Law Office of Romy S. Rahmanina; Mark Ramos, Vista Paint; Sylvia Ramos, Dilbeck Real Estate; Pete Siberell, Santa Anita Park; Marie Taylor, Bacani-Taylor NAI Capital; Wayne Williams, Professional Advisory Services Inc.; John Wilson, Boys & Girls Club of the Foothills; Edward Wong, Arcadia Chinese Association.