West L.A. Chamber Names Bureau Team
By DANNY KING
The West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce has named a 25-member committee to organize a Westside Visitors and Convention Bureau and is planning to ask the city for seed funding next month.
The chamber’s executive board voted to form the committee because of concerns that the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau focused a disproportionate amount of its efforts downtown.
With the committee set, the group plans to request funding from the L.A. City Council in mid-March, according to Jay Handal, president of the Chamber of Commerce and a committee member.
The group will request between $750,000 and $1 million to be drawn from the estimated $3 million in transient occupancy taxes generated by Westside hotels annually. Between the tax-revenue funding and annual dues, the bureau would have an annual budget of between $1.5 million and $2 million, according to Handal.
LACVB Senior Vice President Michael Collins has been critical of the idea of siphoning off funds for the new bureau.
The only downtown member of the committee is Brian Fitzgerald, general manager of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites. The Westin Bonaventure was thrown out of the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau after its owner refused to pay $58,775 in back membership dues as a protest over the bureau’s performance.
While the committee plans to meet with Westside City Councilmembers Cindy Miscikowski and Jack Weiss before making a formal request, the ability to get the council to approve a funding measure remains in question.