Less than a week after this year's rowdy Fourth of July celebrations in Hermosa Beach, the city council is hoping to get at early start on plans to keep next year's holiday celebrations under control.
During this week's council meeting, Councilman Michael DiVirgilio proposed that city staff prepare a request for proposal to hire a consultant that can provide a thorough analysis of how other communities deal with annual spikes in visitors, as well as propose a solution to .
"This past July 4th, for whatever reason, seemed to be at a new level of combustibility, and I have been giving it some thought since Wednesday," DiVirgilio said during the meeting. "Both the feedback I received and the things I saw on Wednesday, I think I have moved beyond—sometimes way beyond—my willingness to tolerate."
Next year's Fourth of July holiday falls on a Thursday, which effectively turns the holiday into a four-day weekend, DiVirgilio said.
"I think we are going to need a year to really start putting in place some of the structures and plans for next summer," he said. "While there are things maybe we can do the day of, I suspect we will get advice on things that we can do two months, three months, four months in advance."
Interim City Manager John Jalili added that any report needs to include a comprehensive analysis of not only policing practices, but also city policies and ordinances.
"I would like to make sure that it is comprehensive enough to deal with the whole issue," said Jalili. "There are many, many contributing factors to the problems that you are describing."
Councilman Howard Fishman also proposed that Hermosa Beach look at an ordinance or permitting system, similar to one adopted by Manhattan Beach, which restricts short-term home rentals during Manhattan's Six-Man Volleyball Tournament.
"What happens, along the Strand especially, many of those units are rented for the weekend, and that is where a lot of these issues are coming from," Fishman said. "You have an absentee landlord, and things can get out of control as a result."
DiVirgilio said that he was willing to look at any solution to the problem and said it is not simply an issue with policing during the holiday.
"I think it would be a mistake if we treated this strictly as a policing issue," he said.
The council said it is awaiting reports from both the police and fire chief about this year's celebrations. DiVirgilio's proposal will be added to a future City Council agenda.
Last week, the said that due to increased incidents on Independence Day, the Hermosa jail was filled to capacity by the end of the day.
According to Hermosa police Sgt. Robert Higgins, near Second Street and the Strand helped contribute to a spike in citations and led to a police officer being punched in the face while breaking up a fight.
"It was definitely busier than normal," said Higgins.