Pier Merchants Back Three Council Candidates
By Jorge Casuso
October 11 - In a nod that carries more nostalgic than monetary value, Pier merchants backed incumbent Councilman Michael Feinstein and challengers Matteo Dinolfo and Bobby Shriver in the race for four City Council seats.
The Pier Lessees Association, which represents ten merchants on the historic wooden structure, is still deciding whether to pick a fourth candidate, said Chris Volaski, the group's president.
"We're still discussing a fourth one," said Volaski, who owns Santa Monica Pier Bait and Tackle and the Oatman Rock Shop. "We are not through interviewing, and we want to give everyone an opportunity."
The group conducted interviews and asked the candidates to answer 13 questions addressing key issues on the pier and the obstacles facing businesses there, as well as their vision for the landmark's future.
The survey included questions about the City's recent smoking policy for the pier, the possible return of sports fishing and boats, winter parking rates and the impact of large corporations.
"We would like to see a few more restaurants, sports fishing back on the pier and lower parking rates," Volaski said. "We wanted to know what their positions were."
The association has endorsed candidates since it was formed in 1994, making individual donations to the candidates, who can tout the group's backing on the campaign trail, Volaski said.
"Moneywise we will help them," she said. "If here is anything we can do, obviously that's what we will do."
Candidates who won the pier lessees’ endorsement said the group’s backing was special.
"The Santa Monica Pier is one of the most endearing and enduring attractions Santa Monica has," Dinolfo said.The business owners "have been there a long time and have a unique and wise perspective on the challenges the city faces," Dinolfo said. "They're sort of the heart and soul of the city."
“The Pier is a large part of spirit and soul of Santa Monica,” Feinstein said. “I am honored and thrilled that the small, local business people who help make the Pier work every day are supporting me for re-election.”
Copyright 1999-2008 surfsantamonica.com. All Rights Reserved.