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LA Inc, South Bay, Ralphs Grocery Store, Pavilions and the proposed Business tax hike

By Joy A. Kennelly

My stomach's upset from something I ate last night and I can't sleep so here I am. It's pretty bad when you get sick on the food you cook yourself! LOL It doesn't always happen, but sometimes it does. I think I need to learn how long you can keep uncooked meat in the fridge before it goes bad. Any chefs care to leave a comment?

Hopefully my girlfriends who came over last night aren't facing queasy stomachs too. I'm so bad. Oh well. Live and learn right? It could have been the rich chocolate cake I ate with whipped cream that Kirsten, my girlfriend, brought over too so I'll try to comfort myself with that thought. Or maybe the Martinelli's that Deborah brought over - that always affects my digestion for some odd reason too. Oy Vey!

In any case, just wanted to check in and say hi. I'm so thrilled that linking to that little address listing of Bay Cities Community Church has brought their real Web site to the forefront of Google!!! Now if any of you are interested in learning more about what my church is all about, or where it's located, check out the link ok? Would love to have you join me sometime. Seriously!

Jim Mackinga and his wife Sandy are the most loving, special people. Their whole family is really wonderful actually. Everyone I've met at this church is so friendly, open-minded and great. I just love being part of this community. Say hi to me, since I'd love to meet you as I don't know too many other people down here yet though. Who knows, if you walk through the door, maybe you'll see people you know already!

Did I tell you all that I had a meeting with the Director of Media Relations, Robin,  from LA Inc aka Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau to discuss future work together? We're in the negotiating stages so we'll see, but I'm hopeful this will work out well since they've always appreciated my work to date. It's all a blur on what I've shared here and what I haven't. Excuse me if I'm repeating myself.

I've been writing for LA Inc since 2002 and it's really helped me learn how to present the city of Los Angeles as a whole to the travel media. I've written copy for their Web site, pitched media for special events, and written numerous press releases highlighting all aspects of the city. I love it since it keeps me in the loop for the entire city and I enjoy doing the work. Plus, I'm good at it, if I do say so myself.:)

I'm planning to develop the travel aspect of my business as it applies to the South Bay since I have this experience, knowledge and connections gained from my relationship with LA Inc. Why not? Should be good.

Being away form the South Bay for so long I see it through a tourist's eyes right now. Sometimes that's good. Sometimes that bad. However, there's always room to grow in either direction so I'm excited to see where this new experience will take me and my hometown as a whole.

My Beach Writer group is excited about participating in my new endeavor which will be great because they're all very accomplished writers too. More to be revealed, but just know it's going to be good once it gets going.

I had a great meeting with Gary, my ad/marketing bud, yesterday too and we made some real progress on the concept. I'm excited to see where this all takes us since it has such great potential for positive outcomes for many people and businesses and the community as a whole. God is moving!

Just think - my public relations, Gary's design, and my Beach writers writing -- the skies the limit! I've been very fortunate to create a group of quality professionals (see my links to people I do business with  on the left of this column - those are my colleagues) who support my business in a variety of  ways which is great when I'm working with bigger clients. Now to get some interns to work with me and I'm all set.

So, for those of you still trying to decide what to do tomorrow (or should I say today since it's 4:30am in the morning Sunday - oy vey - someone give me a tranquilizer or pump my stomach...:) Ok, where was I? Oh yeah, what to do on Sunday after you've gone to church? Here's a few blurbs from the Easy Reader on a couple of fun events that only happen in the South Bay and I quote:

"Surfers Walk of Fame inductions
Eight surfing figures will be inducted into the Surfers Walk of Fame today at 4 p.m. Sunday at the base of the city pier. Inducted at the fifth annual Surfers Walk ceremony will be honorary members John “Whitney” Guild, Alf Lewis, Mike Stevenson and Donald Takayama, and pioneer members Toby Erlinger, Bev Morgan, Patrick O’Connor and Rosemarie Reimers-Rice."

The induction sounds cute and since you're down here, why don't you go to dinner, enjoy yourself and then hurry over to the beach to claim your "seat" for the huge summer Sunset Concert that happens at 6pm? Here's more details, again from the Easy Reader:

"It’s The Shondells, dude!
Hermosa Beach’s second Sunset Concert of the summer offers up the near-edible “Crimson and Clover” and “Sweet Cherry Wine” Tommy James & The Shondells. 6 p.m. on the sand, just south of the pier, and best get there early. 310-318-0280."

Now I'm not really into oldies music, but I am curious to see who is so I'll pop by for a bit. I just have this real curiosity about the people and the customs down here since some of it is new to me. I like to see what demographic these kinds of events appeal to too because then it helps me with my marketing.

If you know who you're trying to reach and what they like, then you have a better time of appealing to them. Just a little PR tip. Duh, right? But so many people just blindly create things without understanding the market and they fail as a result. That's why I'm trying to take as many meetings with influential people of the South Bay as possible so I understand where people's heads are at. We'll see.

I'm excited, more good meetings to happen soon. I'll keep you posted once there's a little more concrete plans in place. Hope you'll join me. I look forward to getting to know my South Bay neighbors better.

Ok, now that I've blogged, maybe I can go back to sleep. Have a good morning. Maybe I'll see you at the Pier events today! Just think, maybe an older, more mature, non-drunk population shows up for these events changing the demographic of the Hermosa Beach pier for once - what a novel concept, eh?

Would be nice to walk around there and not have to avoid the barf left staining the concrete from some stupid person the night before. ICKY! Since when is our Hermosa Beach Pier the place for 20 year olds to come and get wasted? Time to grow up people! 

Go to Alcoholics Anonymous, go to Rehab, go to church, go somewhere, but get your drinking under control if you're barfing in public and ruining a public place for others. YUCK. That's what I'm talking about people. The first step is accepting the fact you have a problem. If you need me to be the one to make you stop and look at yourself, then so be it.

I just hope you don't kill someone first driving home drunk before you wake up and smell the coffee. Yes Devin, everyone is responsible for their own drinking, but when it begins to affect the public and create the possibility for drunk driving, then that person's responsibility has obviously gone out the window and it's time someone speaks up. Plus, who wants to date or be married to an alcoholic? I feel like I'm doing an intervention for my city! Okay, enough of my soapbox. I need an Al Anon meeting.

I'll leave you with this cute story since it's so South Bay to me. Remember that very sweet slow boy I told you about who works at Ralphs? Well, last night I popped in for some things I needed for my dinner with the girls and he was in my check-out line.

As I was standing there waiting for the cashier to ring up the guy in front of me, all of sudden, quite loudly, I hear him say to me, "YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL IN PINK TONIGHT." I was really embarrassed since he said it so loudly that people were turning to me and smiling, but I thought he was so cute and sincere I responded thank you and pretended like that happens to me all the time.

Then he tells me loudly again that his birthday is December 1 and do I know how quickly 8 months goes? VERY QUICKLY, very quickly. I agreed with him and made a mental note that I want to give him a birthday card on his birthday since it obviously means a great deal to him. He seemed content that I'd acknowledged him and was nice to him and didn't speak much until he wished me a great evening as he passed me my bags.

If you ever get a chance to visit the Ralphs down on Sepulveda just up from Pier Avenue, do. I think that guy is the sweetest person he makes me shop there because I enjoy my visits so much since he's so innocent and pure in all his communications.

I remember reading in some mag about another similar slow guy at another grocery store who was challenged by his store manager to make a difference as part of a store-wide initiative to bring in new business. This directive was given to the entire store, but this little guy took it to heart.

He began writing little positive sayings on slips of paper and putting each slip into people's grocery bags as he bagged their groceries. Pretty soon people began to stand in his line to receive the sayings they were so popular. He totally changed the m.o. of people visiting that store and business flourished ten-fold as a result of his small action. They began talking to each other in line and were happier.

That's how my little Ralphs guy makes me feel when I shop there. He's always courteous, interested in how I'm doing, and obviously cares about doing a good job. I think it's great that Roger Bacon of Ralphs has hired him. I hope he keeps him around for a long time. I hope that business flourishes just like that store with the other slow guy does.

Maybe Roger should implement the sayings too? Just think, maybe then he could afford the raise in business taxes that's being proposed - LOL. Does anyone else find that funny that he's so vocal about the measure? I could see some of the smaller stores in town being upset, but a major grocery store - give me a break!

Yes, it's a bummer to have to pay more taxes, but since when does $168 a year really pay for how much business you generate Roger? Where's your sense of civic duty?  Santa Monica charges small business owners twice that amount! Why shouldn't we bring our taxes current?

Going back to my original point of customer service being key, who knows what a different community this might be if that little effort to personalize your store's service was made? I don't know. Not saying it has to be done, but hey, if it worked at another similar store, then why not give it a try? You never know.

I do know that one of the main reasons I like shopping at the Pavilions down the street even though their prices are higher is because every single time I've ever asked for help finding something, the person working there who I've asked has personally walked me over to the section for my item and told me to have a nice day. That type of customer service is unheard of up in Hollywood. I love it!

It's nice to live in a community where you see familiar faces, people are sincere in their greetings to you when they see you, and there's a real sense of community tangible in the air. It's hard to describe to people who don't live here, but trust me, it's here. That's why I moved back and that's why I enjoy it.

On another note... I'm sure there's plenty of bars that have a lot at stake in this measure to increase the business tax too. Wouldn't it be nice if they actually gave back to the community rather than just take? Just a thought from an objective public relations specialist viewpoint.

What a great publicity angle to say, "Yes, we're making a shitload of money (excuse my French as my friends always say) from this city and as a result, we've decided to do the right thing and give back to the community by being willing to pay more taxes since we obviously use a lot more of the cities resources in police, trash, and other business." What a great story that would be to the greater Los Angeles area!

I can see it now - the Los Angeles Business Journal, The LA Times, CNBC and other news outlets picking up this story. Very interesting thought, eh? Maybe they'll read my blog and find it interesting that a city that has had the same business tax for years and years is having such great difficulty even putting a measure on the ballot for the general public to vote on. What are they afraid of?

I doubt the Beach Reporter finds it a story though seeing as part of the service the Manhattan Beach Chamber offers is an article in that paper for membership. Kind makes it difficult to keep your editorial perspective clean when your advertising revenue is generated by so many of the businesses you're writing about right? So many small papers will offer you a story if you buy an ad (not saying The Beach Reporter does it though) and I find that practice despicable from a journalist standpoint.

If someone has to buy their way into a paper to have a story written what does that say about the integrity of the story? It happens all the time with small papers though. The ad department begins to control the editorial which makes the balanced ethical reporting of an issue go out the window.

That's why when people want to pay me as a PR person strictly based on whether or not I can guarantee they'll get media coverage I refuse. If the media is doing their job, then they won't be bought and I won't influence them to write a story about my client unless there's a real news story there. That's why I'm real particular about who I work with and very selective on when I send out press releases.

If I can't help you or I don't think you're newsworthy, I won't take your money. I just turned away a short filmmaker the other day who was just oozing money because I didn't think his film would get picked up as news until he got it into a festival. Now him as a filmmaker, he was very interesting and I could see him personally getting coverage now, but a short film- not so much. I used to produce film festivals for years and know this world quite well.

Plus, I bounce things off my other colleague, Marcia, who also has done lots of film publicity and she agreed with me. We always collaborate. Same with my friends Kim Koury and Adrienne Dorsey. Great people to collaborate with.

I have found it interesting that every press release I've ever sent The Beach Reporter which has been picked up by other news sources numerous times, hasn't been picked up by that paper. Makes me wonder if my letter to the editor will see the light of day since I'm not a chamber member, nor have I bought an ad to promote my services since that would defeat what my business is all about! Maybe since my letterhead has my Santa Monica mailing address there's a bias in that regards too? Who knows...LOL

Ok, back to the proposed Hermosa Beach Business Tax Increase issue at hand.

What's up with the "private" meeting on July 31? I don't get it.  Makes you wonder what the city council is thinking doesn't it? What's going on behind those closed doors? Aren't they supposed to be the ones who help the city to take care of itself? Why wouldn't this measure not be a no-brainer - raising the current tax of $168/year to something that's commensurate with your business revenue?

I'm confused and just asking that's all. I'm not into politics, but thought that's why people put these people in office-- to make the city a better place to live, not keep things status quo. Think of the money that would bring in the city! Pretty amazing things could be done then.

That's one of the things that drive me crazy about the South Bay (small town politics!), but there's a lot of good things down here too which I'd rather focus on and move forward with. Stay tuned.  But don't worry. I'm not running for office any time soon. Have you ever watched the city council meetings on TV? BORING!!!!!! It's like watching paint dry. However, the city characters do liven it up a bit when they speak their piece.

So, now I really better try to go back to sleep because I want to hit the 9:30am service of Bay Cities and get chuched. And no, I didn't misspell that word - that's a spillover from my days at my gospel church.

See ya!


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