Economic Development Advisory Council
The Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce compliments the City of Manhattan Beach on formalizing the Economic Development Advisory Council. Over the past four years the Chamber has encouraged the City to take a more active role in the future of Manhattan Beach from a commercial and economic standpoint. In this time the City has moved from a laissez faire approach, no staffing dedicated to economic development, and limited resources being committed to this end to a much more proactive organization.
Some concerns have arisen with regards to the mechanism of filling positions within the new EDAC as well as the overall function. In recent days there have been many inquiries into why there was not an initial application phase for this council. No one is questioning the capabilities of those who are being appointed to the council, just the visibility of the process. There was comment made at the council meeting of this becoming a good old boys club if certain groups were to have representatives on the council. What is it called when you name the individuals to the council without public input or allowing people to raise their hands?
There are limited scenarios where a government acting in a despotic manner derive the successful results they are looking for. If there is truly a fear of this becoming a good old boys club, then perhaps there should have been posting of the positions and not an effort to fill them behind closed doors. There are few who do not respect or appreciate the experience and commitment of Larry Kosmont but handing him cart blanche to name the individuals to serve on this advisory council raises some eyebrows.
While the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce can appreciate the desire to not allow this process to devolve into constituency against constituency there should be an opportunity for all groups in Manhattan Beach to make recommendations for any council geared towards making economic recommendations to the City. These groups are the reason the Economic Development Advisory Council, the Economic Vitality Manager, and the City’s focus on economic development have been moved forward. In years past the City felt we are Manhattan Beach and they (businesses, developers, etc..) will just come.
The formulation of the Economic Development Advisory Council is a tremendous step forward for the City of Manhattan Beach. With more visibility to how the group is formed and who will be making recommendations to City leaders it would seem it would create more buy-in. Selling findings and recommendations from a group thrust upon folks will be harder than coming from one they feel they had input in developing. Everyone’s goal is to see Manhattan Beach continue to strengthen its position for the future and can only do so on a united front.