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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Save Old Tony's Facebook Page - Fact or Fiction

Dear Friends:

Well, I was pretty concerned when I saw the "Save Old Tony's" Facebook page. I was wondering why, in the world, would the Redondo Beach City Council refuse to extend Old Tony's lease. I wrote to Old Tony's and asked them if they had made an offer to the City to extend the lease for fair market value. I had posted the message to Old Tony's on their Save Old Tony's facebook page. Within about three hours, it was removed. Thus, I am unable to ascertain what, if anything, Old Tony's has done to re-negotiate their lease.

I have read the newspaper articles and have not noticed any particulars from Old Tony's about how exactly the City Council of Redondo Beach is closing Old Tony's down or refusing to extend their lease. From the articles, I noticed that the lease is not up until February 2012. I also went on the Redondo Beach website to get familiar with the enactment of "G" and look over the minutes to see what has been discussed. Unfortunately most of the minutes with regard to the leases are in closed sessions so that was no help.

I was very concerned about the future of Old Tony's. I decided to ask the Redondo Beach City Council members about what their intentions were with regard to the revitalization plan and potential extension of current leaseholders, including Old Tony's.

I am including quotes from the City of Redondo Beach so you can see what their intentions are. I just wanted people to have a good handle of the City's position prior to jumping to conclusions. I love Old Tony's just about as much as anyone who lives in Redondo Beach. It is one of my first choices for birthdays and celebrations in the area. I want to keep the marriage of Redondo Beach and Tony's intact. Please read the emails below so you can be up to date with the decisions that will be made this summer.

I have to add that our City is very responsive to my questions. I have only included one of the 15+ emails with the City including Steve Aspel, Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin and Bill Workman.

Yours,
Christina Wickers

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Dear Steve Aspel:


Thank you for your emails. I truly appreciate your candid responses. And I also appreciate the quick turn around you have had in responding.

I am still not clear on what the intended plan is. I would like to be able to let people know what is going on so they can either: show up at the meeting or understand that the city council is trying to make a good deal, with appropriate conditions, for the benefit of the city, in line with our intent behind "G."

With that said, I need to know whether the City Council planning to assign the future interest of the pier properties to one "Master Lease Holder?" If so, for what time period? Like 20 years, 10 years, 100 years? And under what revitalization conditions?

Since, the city can only assign what it has not already leased out, I am just wondering what type of deal the City is trying to make with a potential "Master Lease Holder." I realize the City wants to get out of the leasing business but if that is the case, the city must either sell the city property or lease it out for some lengthy future time period, still holding on to the fee simple.

Please let me know what the City Council is intending to do. ie: (1) Lease the property to one "master leaseholder?" or (2) lease the properties to many lease holders for a lengthy period of time? (3) or sell the property.

Please forward this email to the person who can respond if you don't know at this time. I really appreciate your assistance.

Christina

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Good Morning Christina!

The City has hired a firm, Kosmont and Assoc., that specializes in waterfront issues. They are in the process of producing a Request for Proposal, which will be advertised in the next few weeks. There are many separate leaseholds in the harbor, but this one (Old Tony's) contains the buildings in Tony's area. That entire block of buildings from Starboard Attitude to Shark Attack.

The length of the lease will be negotiated.

As for people coming top the meetings, I would suggest anyone concerned show up when the actual lease comes on the agenda. Showing up to speak during our Public comment session is ok, but since we have nothing to vote on...or even discuss, all we can do is listen. And the maximum allotted time is a total of 30 minutes. If the item is on the agenda, everyone can speak, even if it takes hours and hours!

I think we have all heard loud and clear that many, many people want to keep Tony's. That was my intention all along anyway.

. . .

You have been wonderful and I will make it a point to keep you abreast of the situation.


Steve Aspel
Redondo Beach City Council

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Hello Ms. Wickers,

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding the lease issues for Old Tony’s.

Tony’s is a landmark and historical restaurant for our City. I’ve enjoyed many meals there and have a few mai tai glasses as souvenirs. The Trutanich Family has been a wonderful part of our community for over 50 years.

The City Council and I have not made any decisions at this point regarding the lease for Tony’s on the Pier.

As a City, we are currently in the process of setting the foundation for revitalizing our Pier and Harbor area. Part of that process will be formalizing opportunities for partnerships with potential investors and businesses who have the expertise and the resources to help make our make our historic pier even more attractive. We hope to have this process finalized this summer.

In the interest of fairness to all of our other longtime legacy and historic small businesses on the Pier who are interested in lease extensions as well, all potential leaseholders and investors will be given the opportunity to participate in the leasehold and lease extension process that we are currently developing that will be ready this coming summer.

I will work to ensure that Tony’s has an opportunity to participate through this process as a partner in the future revitalization of our historic Pier.

Any decisions regarding Tony’s lease will be made through this process this coming summer.

Thank you again for taking the time to write to me on this issue and thank you so much for your support of me in the upcoming election.

Best regards,

Mike

Mike Gin

Mayor, City of Redondo Beach

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