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Tour of California

We had Lynne Diehl and Christine Wallace on today talking about the big Tour of California that hits town on Thursday and Friday morning. I assumed that the community was behind this international bike race one hundred percent. Guess not. Here’s one letter I received today from a downtown merchant:

“Dave,
Sorry I missed your show today. I really do want to chime in on this issue. As a business owner on Monterey Street I will effectively by shut down Thurseday for the race. I have a lot of problems with that. First, the bike race is a for profit event. I is a sport event being put on by AEG a company that owns mores sports teams and events than any other company in the world. When their for profit event interferes with my for profit event it creates problems. AEG pitches a deal to the city showing how they are going to bring revenue to the coffers of the city, Room tax ( 600 rooms) permits etc. and the city sells out their local businesses.

I think it is very short sighted ( and I am being kind here with that term) that the city is willing to look at increasing their revenues at the expense of others. What is really ashame here is that the public is more or less being manipulated here. Few relize that this is a 5 year plan by AEG develop a money making event to drive their revenues.

When I contacted the city (Chris Wallace and then Linda Fitzgerald) I had to pull teeth even to get the contact information of the event organizers. When this was first brought to the City Council by Staff the documents indicated that an area of one block around the finish line would need to be closed for 4 hours. Now it is many many blocks for 15 hours. I am attaching a document from the city of Santa Barbara showing the road closures in their town which is an end point of the race just like SLO. You will see a big difference in in street management. AEG owns/ manages the Staples Center. I defy you to tell me that they would ever allow a for profit event close down or inhibit the access to the center during a basketball game day.
I think one can make a good analogy to the filming of that Sandra Bullock movie in town a few years ago.

The street was also closed for filming for the better part of the day. This was a for profit company that negatively impacted other for profit companies. Well guess what? Castlerock Pictures had to take out their check book and pay the affected businesses. What is really frustrating here are details like why Monterey Street? Why not Higurera St. This would showcase the heart of our downtown for our moment of fame on ESPN. Could it be that if it did go go Higuera it would negatively impact the city’s revenue from the Farmers market? Do you think FOrdens id going to sell fireplaces on Thuresday? No john Ewan might out at his store out of the downtown area though.

The city acts as if these events make money for the local businsses. I think unless you are a bar or a food related business, it does not. Look at farmers market how many regular stores stay open for the market. few to none. I know that when there is an event in the Plaza, my business drops. people that are not going to the event stay away and people going to an event are there for the event not to shop.

And I particulary liked the call for volunteers to work the race. Volunteers for a for profit event? Can I do that Can I hire, no strike that get volunteers to work at my store for free so I can make more money? ” Yes you too can be part of the exicitement of a real live camera store. Experience the exitement of selling film, talking digital cameras and learn about the world of retail” No we are not going to charge you for the privilege of these life experiences we just are not going to pay you. I think if I really did this I would have a book of labor laws thrown at me.

From a standpoint of doing business in this town the city is most unhelpful. I think that the city should be a support system for it’s residents and businesses, not a system that just cares about filling it’s coffers for the sake of itself.”

What do you think?

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  1. Alan from South County
    February 22, 2006 at 6:05 am

    Has someone done a cost / benefit analysis on this bike race? Obviously not all business owners are happy about having the downtown blocked off. No
    doubt this will affect certain businesses negatively.

    Also, I heard your guests say that local police, highway patrol and CalTrans are all providing
    services for this race. These services must be incurring a cost locally as well as state-wide. Just curious if perceived benefits of this event are
    really worth the costs.

  2. Anonymous
    February 22, 2006 at 7:44 am

    I too wonder about how the police, Highway Patrol and Cal Trans employees are being paid. Are our tax dollars paying directly for their overtime/wages for a for profit enterprise? All reports seem to indicate that our state, county and local governments are all strapped and are trimming as much as they can. Is the promoter paying for the law enforcement and Cal Trans wages? Inquiring minds and all…

  3. Bob from San Luis
    February 23, 2006 at 3:43 am

    Dave: My call into your show when Lynne and Christine were on was meant to ask how the city was attempting to minimize the impact of this promotion to the downtown retailer. Somehow my concerns were interpreted as though I was against the promoting of this event, and I am sorry if that is how listeners heard me. As a small business owner operating in downtown San Luis Obispo let me state one thing that must be made completely clear: My opinion is just that, my opinion; I do not speak for anyone else at all. Having said that, I love living in San Luis Obispo, and having my business in downtown is what I feel has allowed me to be in business for 12 years. The promotions that go on in downtown are a good thing for the city as a whole, and most businesses do benefit in the long run. San Luis has a special mix of small independent retailers along with the big corporate chains that gives the shopper a good selection, and the tourist something to explore. There are other promotions throughout the year that also can impact some or most of the retailers, and for the most part it is just a part of doing business in downtown. I choose to have my business in downtown because it is a thriving, bustling downtown, and if I think the promotions or anything else hurt my business, then I can move if I want to. Please understand that most businesses are very happy to be in downtown San Luis Obispo, other wise they would move or quit. Just a side note, I do appreciate professional bicyclists and the sport, and will probably close my store for a short while when the riders come into town. Thanks for this format Dave.

  4. Anonymous
    March 2, 2006 at 4:07 am

    In response to the downtown merchant that is complaining about the bike race for “one day”, how would you like to be a business that is not in the downtown being held hosatge to pay fees to an organization that does nothing for their business. I am talking about the Downtown Association…your association. I pay fees to help your for profit business with nothing in return. Now, before you say it, yes,if I do not like this situation I can move and so can you.

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