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City Council Addresses Fourth of July Rowdiness in Hermosa

The Hermosa Beach City Council is already planning for next year's Fourth of July holiday in Hermosa following an increase in incidents during this year's celebrations.

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.

Number9 July 13, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Keep the partying off the beach, strand and streets. Let the neighborhoods be for the family Bar-B-Que. Party at the bars and resturants; they love the business. Zero tolerance for alcohol and rowdiness. The Ironman is a tradition. Keep it. Early sign up and limit the numbers and, as I said earlier, keep the partying off the beach, strand and streets. Move the third leg of the contest to a bar; I am sure they would love to sponsor it. Want to be crazy, rowdy, and fight, go to Huntington Beach. (I bet the person who wins the Ironman on the beach will also win it in the bar.)
Duke Noor July 13, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Leave the public resource known as the beach alone and enforce the Rule of Law. Officers were overwhelmed and way outnumbered. Start enforcement as early as possible, not midday as many knuckleheads were already hammered by then. Cancel the Ironman as it's seen better days. Tripled fines will be thrown out as soon as judges see revelers drinking on the beach in the morning in North Hermosa, but not allowed to do so later in South Hermosa. Can you say "hypocritical" City of Hermosa Beach?
Dave Andrews July 13, 2012 at 03:15 PM
It was all happening on 2nd Street with the High-school kids. They were on the roof of the new bathrooms and just packed in there. Have a police officer in full uniform with a tripod and a camera shooting video 100% of the day there. Have a big sign that says you are being filmed and this video can be used as evidence. These kids will behave immediately. Every holiday they are on 2nd street in the same location. It is not only local kids but all of the people coming in from other parts of LA. The officers should also have someone monitoring social media. Have twitter set up for automated searches of "Hermosa Beach". You will see what is happening where in real time and may have photos and videos you could use as evidence if something happened. Enforce the laws and be strict about it with zero tolerance. The people coming in from out of town have no respect for the beach and destroy it with their trash. We should have more trash cans and public messaging about putting trash in the cans.
Bob Atkins July 15, 2012 at 10:38 PM
God forbid anyone under the age of 50 has any fun. What a bunch of whiners!
Chuck Griffitts July 17, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Historically Hermosa Beach was the place to come and break the law on the 4th of July. Hundreds of officers deployed could not handle or disuade this kind of mentality. It is extremely difficult to control the numbers that influx to a small community and party in public places. It will take many many years to change the culture and what is acceptable by people who call Hermosa home. I liken it to years and years ago - early 80's - when the cruising issue on Hermosa Ave and down in to Redondo Beach was a huge issue. But over time, with enforcement and rules, the culter changed and the things that were happening became unacceptable. The problem always is is with businesses that make lots of money during this free for all. They are the ones that must be controlled.
Chuck Griffitts July 17, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Hermosa's tongue and cheek motto used to be "You can't come to Hermosa and have fun!" or "Drink a beer, go to jail." I think good clean fun is one thing, but the free for all that has plagued the beach cities during summer holidays is ridiculous.

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