Carl Kemp is the man behind the impressive public-relations campaign for the proposed Second+PCH project, and he’s very up-front about his strategy—even the parts that strike some people as a little surreptitious.

Consider, for example, the ready-made letter of support that Second+PCH is sending to people—and offering on its Web site—with a request that it be forwarded to Mayor Bob Foster and members of the city council and planning commission … before the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the project is even published.

Kemp says he doesn’t understand the criticism of that tactic, which environmentalist Heather Altman enunciated on this site Monday. Or, more to the point, he wonders whether critics truly understand Second+PCH’s position.

“The fact that the EIR hasn’t come out doesn’t really determine whether we are going to continue to ask for support,” Kemp says. “If people who support us now don’t like what’s in the EIR when it comes out, they can decide then if they want to continue to be friends.

Kemp maintains that a letter-writing campaign has been part of the general push for approval of Second+PCH’s mixed-use (hotel, residential, retail) proposal for the site of the Seaport Marina Hotel from the get-go.

“We’ve been engaged in community outreach for about two years,” he says. “Along the way we have asked people to be friends of Second+PCH, provided updates on what is going on and solicited them to be supporters—whether that is by writing letters to councilmembers or the editors of newspapers or just being open with their opinions. We’ve done this all along the way. This request to have them engage is no different than that.”

The Second+PCH website, featuring video, music and effects so beautifully executed that it’s practically a virtual vacation, also presents some pretty attractive numbers—including 1,340 full-time equivalent jobs during construction and $2.2 million a year in property tax, sales tax and hotel tax. However, developers David Malmuth and Cliff Ratkovich have acknowledged that these figures are not etched in stone and may change during negotiations with the city.

Combined with the call for support in advance of the EIR, some critics have charged that Second+PCH’s public-relations effort is a campaign of misinformation. Further, many suspect that it is an effort to assemble supportive numbers that will provide a protective rationale for Councilmember Gary DeLong to vote in favor of the project. DeLong, in whose Third District the Second+PCH  intersection is located, has so far insisted he is taking a wait-and-see position.

“I think misinformation is a funny word—depending on who is saying it, they have an opinion,” Kemp says. “We are not out there lying to people. I don’t believe we are engaging in a misinformation campaign.

“I think Delong is doing exactly the right thing. He wants the process to run its course, and at the appropriate time he will render his decision behind the rail. It doesn’t do him, the project or even the project’s opponents any good for him to weigh in in advance of the process.”

Meanwhile, Kemp will continue to asking the public to do so.

“It wouldn’t be wise for us, after sharing all this information with people for all this time, to wait until the back end of the process to allow them to weigh in,” he says. “Anyway, it’s a voluntary process. If people don’t want to send a letter, they don’t have to.”

Categories: News and Politics
  1. Eagle Eye
    April 7, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Carl Kemp master lobbyist, is also adept at massaging the truth, and brillant at it. Granted, Second +PCH has a slick website showing the broken-down SEAPORT MARINA Hotel. Why does it look that way? Because the current owners, the Linns, (who also own Peter’s landing, and will continue) are terrible landlords and have not maintained it. Many of us have stayed at lovely hotels throughout the country–much older–but people cared.
    Carl is right; they do have a Friend’s list for Second + PCH and they encourage the friends to contact city officials–even writing the letter for them!
    But Second + PCH has done public outreach since 2008 and having attended many of the presentations, I can assure you they were not well received. Obviously they took none of our comments to heart as there is no site for “Enemies of Second and PCH.”

  2. Mark
    April 7, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    what a slimeball. i prefer to frequent http://www.thetruthabout2ndandpch.com/

    • April 8, 2010 at 2:02 am

      So his “slimeball” efforts to advance the project’s passage are somehow different than your efforts at trying to do the exact opposite (by way of advertising the anti-project website)? S-s-s-s-slimey!

      • Anonymous
        April 9, 2010 at 12:23 pm

        They sure are chief. The last time I checked (so I could be wrong here) opponents of 2nd/PCH have not hired a lobbyist. It is slimy (albeit legal) to spend masses of money to curry favor from elected officials.

        • An opponent
          April 11, 2010 at 8:47 pm

          Opponent, yep I’m a member of that team. The “opponents” are simply a large number of long time S/E LB residents who are concerned for their neighborhoods. You are right, our side has no “lobbyists”. We spend time going to meetings about this project, we ask questions, we are shocked at the answers we get, we share what we have learned with other citizens, we make our concerns heard–we encourage others to do the same. If the project was good we would tell you it is. If the developers and real estate types didn’t just argue our concerns and actually incorporated our suggestions we would tell you that too. But they haven’t (but they will tell you they have). Truth hurts. And no, I can assure Tom Marchese has nothing to do with this effort, that one made me laugh.

    • Lee G
      April 8, 2010 at 5:05 pm

      Exactly who is behind this “truth” website? It sure sounds like Tom Marchese. And FYI online surveys do NOT represent a valid survey of true community opinion as the respondents are “self selected” and often “loaded” to favor one position.

      • April 8, 2010 at 8:43 pm

        I don’t see anything on that website to make me think Marchese is some how involved with it. I think your comment is ridiculous.

  3. April 7, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    I’d suggest it’s time for the opponents to start their own letter writing campaign. Why not fight fire with fire…just sayin’ “there’s nothing wrong with the tactic.”

  4. name
    April 8, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Has anyone considered the likelihood of liquifaction on this site? It will be interesting to see what the geophysical portion of the EIR says– I don’t expect much more than the usual canned recitation of where the earthquake faults are. The more height, the higher the risk for liquifaction.

    After reading the story on what it used to be, I would love to have the existing low-level building restored, and a restaurant and place to dance in ELB.

  5. marie herteren
    April 9, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    People should start now and ask for Kemp’s emails with city officials re PCH and 2nd, I will bet you there are some good ones – he is so full of himself all of the time; wouldn’t surprise me at all. Even if this ugly high rise project, (12 stories) passes city council it will never pass Coastal Commission. Not with its current design. Owners will have to start over again. What a waste of time.

  6. Do not like it
    April 11, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Do you feel the same way? Join the Facebook group:
    Second+PCH, Citizens Against the Catastrophe


  7. Citizen Against Dishonesty
    April 11, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Since the initial study on this project said “soil erosion or the loss of topsoil, be located on a geologic unit or soil that is unstable — X Potentially Significant Impact” I bet such a tall building here is a geological hazard. Our community really does not need such a tall development.

    So much retail space too. Has anyone cruised the area and counted how many empty retail spaces we have now? I think the projection of jobs and revenue for the city is way overstated.

    In case you missed it, the initial study (calling out need for EIR) can be found here, recommended reading for all LB citizens:

  8. Commentor
    April 12, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Keep in mind the developers for 2nd & PCH are the same guys who developed the Pike in Long Beach. These same guys promised high end retail at the Pike the same way as they are claiming 2nd & PCH will bring high end retail. Did it ever occur at the Pike? Absolutely not. Not only is there zero “high end” retail at the Pike, there is essentually zero retail at the pike.

    Jeffrey Miyaoka, the developer’s General Manager of The Pike was quoted in the Grunion Gazette saying, “The Pike really is a DINING AND ENTERTAINMENT venue, and we’d like to see something (replace GameWorks) along those lines,” Miyaoka said. “Hooters made the decision to open in The Pike … and that will bring some new life …” It’s clear the developers don’t even attempt to hide from their broken promises any more.


    The Pike’s developers are the same guys attempting to develop 2nd & PCH. What makes anyone believe an iota of anything they say considering how little they followed through on their promises concerning the Pike? This is soley a financial issue for the developers of 2nd & PCH. They will tell you exactly what they think you want to hear if that allows them to make a boat load of money on the deal, knowing fully well they have no intent to honor their promises. If the developers were serious about their retail plans, why don’t they commit to permit conditions limiting the square footage of bars and restaurants?

    We can look forward to 2nd & PCH being turned into another entertainment district just like what the same developers did at the Pike. This grand plan didn’t work at Marina Pacifica, even when it was all bars in the early 90’s. So what has changed to make this concept now work blocks away at 2nd & PCH? And is that really what the community wants?

    • April 12, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      Hi Commentor,
      I don’t think the developers for the 2nd & PCH project are the same developers of the Pike. The link you embedded is an interview with an employee of Developers Diversified Realty, based out of Beachwood, Ohio. According to the 2nd & PCH website, the landowners are Long Beach residents, the civil engineers are located across SoCal, the marketing firm is from Laguna Niguel, and the developers are based out of San Diego. Although the projects may look similar, I think you are mistaken in your assertion that DDR is the developer of 2nd & PCH.

      • Commentor
        April 12, 2010 at 7:02 pm

        If you research it, you will find it is the same guys. But good try anyways.

  9. Henry
    April 14, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Question posed:
    Who is behind the “Truth about the 2nd and PCH ” website. No secret–hopefully it’s not another secret Delong SEADIP committee.
    Committee chair is our own Gordana Kajer-assisted by ex LCWLT Adrea Stoker.
    All neophites–and none of them live in the SEADIP area!!!So there.

    • Commentor
      April 15, 2010 at 11:07 am

      Clarification may be needed. Not only neophites, but documented DeLong supporters in his quest to develop the wetlands.

  10. May 16, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    This all sounds like a plan to extend downtown Long Beach to the Southeast side of Long Beach to me. If I wanted to live among high rises I would have moved downtown a long time ago. How do they think they can fill up all that retail space? It’s not like LB is the most business friendly city and much of the surrounding retail space has been vacant for long periods of time. And forget about the traffic problem on PCH keeping me from getting to Seal Beach to enjoy the ocean and Main Street with my grandkids–there is no way to mitigate that problem. Just like in downtown area which I avoid as much as possible, if a monster development causes traffic problems and congestion I won’t go there. I want to see buildings that conform to SEADIP and the California Coastal Act, I want a safe bike path down Studebaker Road so I don’t have to drive down to Marina Pacifica and the Market Place, I want coastal features such as a publicly accessible wetlands and restoring our beaches (note real estate types–quality water front property is more valuable), and I want to see our suburban style neighborhood preserved. People here don’t want to raise their children in a urban/downtown congested high rise atmosphere! I know many others who want the same. A group of tall buildings does not fit into this concept. However I don’t see where our opinions have really been counted by either the developers or the city.

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