Concerning the 2019 ARP Long Beach Sprint Nationals Presented by Nick Rose Insurance:
Race fans, this has been the most difficult and baffling deal in my 40 years in the sport and 21 years as a Promoter. We have encountered one smokescreen after another after last years race. I have a 20 year relationship with the City of Long Beach, Special Events Dept, Fire, PD, etc. and we always were able to sit down and discuss any issues that might have come up from the previous year and found a way to handle it. Not this year, I haven't gotten 1 phone call back from Special Events, Fire, etc. despite calling and leaving messages since October. We have not hurt 1 Spectator/fan in the 20 years I have promoted the race and that should have been the primary consideration for Public Safety and Fire but instead they continued to ignore my calls/emails requests for a meeting to answer any of their questions.
I was told in September the event was going "under review" with the City agencies, when asked what that meant the Special Events coordinator didn't have an answer other than to say it was going to be reviewed for safety considerations from Public Safety, Fire, City Atty, City Manager, etc. I asked when I could expect an answer, they couldn't give me a time frame. I started calling in October, leaving messages to Special Events (Tasha Day/Jay Lopez) and despite previously getting a return call/email all I got was silence. It wasn't until February 1 of this year that I received the 1st denial letter with supporting letter from Fire on what they wanted "fixed." I revised my permit/site/safety plan to include the Fire Departments "new guideline" issues and resubmitted on that same day. I again called and sent emails asking for a meeting with all parties to discuss any issues but again, silence. I didn't get a response from Special Events dept. until almost 3 months later, April 22 when I got a vaguely worded email saying it was denied again but this time NO reasons were given. When I called and left messages again silence. I reached out to several people who know people at the City, Fire, etc. and supposedly the pressure was coming from Councilwoman Price from the 3rd district who also sits as chair of the Public Safety committee. I contacted Councilwoman Price directly via email and she acknowledged that she didn't like the event but denied she "killed" the permit. I revised my permit/site/safety plan yet again for a 3rd resubmittal on April 24th increasing and going way above and beyond at great expense to our organization in an effort to guess and appease those against the event. Once again, calls and emails left asking for a meeting, discussion, conference call, etc. all went unanswered. It wasn't until May 16th when I got another denial letter from Ms. Day from Special Events eluding to "new safety guidelines from Fire Department" but NO supporting documentation from Fire as to what these "new safety guidelines" are, or how to find them. Again, like the email in April, NO specific reason was given but included in the May 16th letter was a line about it now being too late to resubmit, which is complete nonsense. I contacted and am working with an atty who knows th in's and out's of the City of Long Beach. We have submitted a letter to the City Manager which I hope doesn't fall on deaf ears. If this fails then there is one last step. I truly hope it doesn't go there.
BTW, I was contacted by Tim Grobaty with the Long Beach Post, I did not solicit him to do an article about this issue as I was hoping our letter to Patrick West, City Manager might turn things around but since he interviewed me on Friday and posted the article yesterday the response from the public, racers, families and crews have been overwhelming.
It would appear that some within the City of Long Beach have chosen to send smokescreens and stall me long enough to effectively kill the permit. This is not acceptable, not fair and not legal so we will see what happens as again this is not a 1st year event, this event dates back to the 40's with SCSC and 20 years under myself and the board. If you want to help please contact Deputy Fire Chief Matt Gruneisen, Councilwoman Price, Tasha Day with Special Events, City Manager Pat West and Mayor Garcia and express your feelings (respectfully please).
Deputy Fire Chief Matt Gruneisen: [email protected]
Tasha Day: [email protected]
Pat West: 562-570-6916 , [email protected]
Councilwoman Suzie Price [email protected]
Mayor Garcia: 562-570-6801 , [email protected]
Thank you for all your support and I will update once I know what the City Manager's response is.
Ross Wallach, President/Race Director