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Manhattan Beach Says 'No Thanks' To Proposed Chargers Event

Feb 22, 2023 08:16AM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Composite image via L.A. Chargers

The Manhattan Beach City Council on Tuesday night in effect turned down a large public NFL draft event that the L.A. Chargers had proposed holding at the Manhattan Beach Pier in April. When it became clear that there were not enough votes in support, the team withdrew the proposal.

The event had been conceived as a giant public community watch party for the 2023 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 27. It would have included a viewing of the NFL draft (the Chargers have the 21st first round draft pick), appearances by current and former players, and live music - all at the area surrounding the pier, including the upper and lower parking lots. It would have run until 10:00 p.m.

However, councilmembers expressed concern about the amplified music, the crowds and parking, and the general impact of a large public event that would run late on a school and work night.

"It breaks my heart because it would have been such a great event, but we’ve got to look out for our residents," said Councilmember Joe Franklin.

The Chargers had proposed incorporating local restaurants as partners in food and beverages, and including Mira Costa High School band, cheer, and drill teams.

Local leaders Jill Lamkin, executive director of the Downtown Manhattan Beach Business and Professionals Association; Mike Simms of the Simms Restaurant Group, and David Archer, president of the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce, all spoke positively about the event. 

Nevertheless, councilmembers could not fully satisfy their own questions about how the parking and/or parking shuttles would work, and how much disruption the late-night event would cause in the downtown. Furthermore, although some restaurants would stand to benefit, they said, other businesses would lose out because of the loss of parking with major parking lots shut down.

"There are just too many unknowns right now," said Manhattan Beach Mayor Steve Napolitano.

However, echoing the sentiments of his fellow councilmembers of a desire to work together with the team, Napolitano added, "I wish we could find an event that fits you in here."

Hearing the lack of support, Fred Maas, chief of staff for the L.A. Chargers, said he would withdraw the proposal before City Council would have a chance to vote on it.

"The last thing we ever want to do is to put you in a compromising position or put residents in compromising position," said Maas, in withdrawing the event application. "We certainly understand, we think it would be a great opportunity to showcase your wonderful city, but there will be more opportunities."

In related action on city events, the city granted legacy status to both the Tour de Pier and the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race. Legacy status waives certain fees and guarantees an event first right of refusal if there is a date conflict with a newer event.

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