Saturday, September 20, 2008

L.A. City Council Approves Sale and Date Change

I was flipping channels Friday night and I came across our local Public access channel that broadcasts the city Los Angeles City Council meetings. The topic at the time was a motion to approve the sale of the Los Angeles Marathon from the current owner to the McCourt Group, the same people that own the Los Angeles Dodgers, and move the date up 3 weeks to President's Day Monday. They have over-corporitized (if that is a word) the Dodgers over the last couple of years that they have owned the team.

I have no problem with the sale of the marathon, but I do have a problem with moving the date up 3 weeks. Several churches here in Los Angeles made a stink about how the marathon affected their Sunday morning services, one day a year. The city council heard testimony from both clergy and Team in Training and the Aids Marathon Training group. Both groups had no problem changing the date, but they wanted it changed for 2010, not 2009 as they had already begun to recruit trainees and the marathon training schedule was now off by 3 weeks.

Only 2 city council members voted for a separate motion to approve the sale but not change the date. I am not a fan of the Los Angeles city council and I think one of the motives for this vote was to collect $530,000 of delinquent fees that were to be paid upon completion of the sale.

The city council made the case that the Boston Marathon is run on a state holiday in April every year and that President's Day would be great for the L.A. marathon. Remember, not everyone gets President's Day off and the traffic caused by the street closures would be a greater impact on President's Day than on a Sunday. The L.A. City Council wants to make the L.A. Marathon a world class race yet as a resident of Los Angeles, I don't care to run it as it is a boring point-to point course that is a logistical nightmare. The L.A. Marathon will never be in the same class as Boston or New York.

If you have any thoughts on this, please share them.


Ryan said...

Clearly you have no clue what is really going on. Bill Burke and Devine racing along with Marie Patrick have ruined the reputation of the Los Angeles Marathon. You are right that LA Marathon is not in the same paragraph as New York or Boston but that is the fault of Bill Burke. Los Angeles has the potential to be great and with a new changing of the guard, it is possible to turn things around, develop a course that will attract great runners and bring the 7th largest marathon in the world to a more prestigious level. The LA Marathon is a great race to run. You should try and run one first before you decide it is a boring point to point course.

I am not a fan of the city council either but regardless who bought LA Marathon, Devine owed them money and they were only getting paid what they were owed. In fact Devine had 1.8 million dollars owed in unpaid debt to various agencies.

I have ran New York and Boston many times and the biggest attribute which makes theses races so great are each of these cities truly embrace these races. We each need to do our part to embrace the marathon in this city and believe what the new owners will bring to the table. Embrace it, run it and give it a chance. This is OUR city!!

beaton33 said...

I am cautiously optimistic about the sale. I like that someone who has an interest in the city purchased the team but I am concerned that the price of the race will skyrocket.

As for Monday, I don't think President's Day is enough of a holiday, many people do not get it off and traffic will be a nightmare. I also really do think that the date change should not be until 2010. Just not enough time to notify people, for change of time off, change in reservations for out of towners, and for those that have other races scheduled.

This can be a good thing if the new owners and city council listen to Angelenos, all runners who visit, and local businesses.

I'm not a fan of any politicians but if anyone wants to voice their concerns, Tom LaBonge would be the best council member to contact. He seems to be the one who actually cares about the city more than himself. He's actually a cool guy who is approachable. He can be contacted on his webpage I believe.

I'm going to remain positive about the sale. This can work in the long run and if runners, volunteers,spectators that watch every year, residents, and businesses are kept well informed and as long as the race remains affordable. I'm actually hoping the new owner would like a change in the course in the future.

Whatever happens, I still love L.A.. It's a fun city with some neat people.

Bob said...

Ryan & beaton33,

You guys make some good points. I dont have a problem with the sale, I just think if they want to change the date, wait until 2010. I think they are asking for more problems on President's Day rather than a Sunday.

Ryan, you are probably right that I should run one before commenting on the boring point to point route. Having lived in LA for over 40 years, I have seen just about every inch of this city and the route is not appealing to me, maybe for out-of-towners it could be.

Thanks for reading and commenting.