Editor’s Back-Story: For a brief time — 2006-07 — it appears, Heather Osgood, then publisher of The Bay News invited me to serve as publisher. It was then owned by the Colhouer family. Heather and Lani Colhouer had developed a partnership to produce what has grown to be the highly successful Inspired Home & Health Expos at Madonna Plaza and the Paso Robles Event Center in 2019. Obviously their budding ownership was taking off and Heather needed to focus elsewhere.
It meant I needed to give up reporting to take on the duties of the publisher — mainly find a productive sales rep to fund the product or do it myself, manage the staff of three, and produce a weekly paper even if it meant staying well into the night to send to the printer. I had great support from the family, but it meant giving up regular reporting which I loved.
However, periodically, I found time to write a community commentary, which in hindsight it was one of the community pieces published at just the right time that was the catalyst for an offer to write my By the Bay column in the SLO Tribune literally the day we closed the Morro Bay office since Bret and Lani Colhouer merged to create Tolosa Press. But that’s another story for another time.
Now in 2019-20 as the current Morro Bay City Council work on current goal setting with new council members led by Mayor John Headding and a fairly new city manager in place, Scott Collins, Additionally, the Chamber of Commerce has established a Governmental Review Committee (GRC) and is working side-by-side with the Tourism representatives.
And City Tourism has assumed production leadership of the Citywide Yard Sale realizing its attraction for a broader network of visitors. And both the Morro Bay Rotary Club and the Community radio station The Rock have created Saturday night events for community and visitors to attend after the Yard Sale neighbors have closed for the evening. April 4-6 is the Yard Sale at NO COST to the vendors to be on the map; Rotary’s 2nd annual crab feed is at the Community Center and The Rock’s Jam Concert is at the Veteran’s Hall.
I thought this flashback timely. Do things really change? I don’t believe positive change happens unless leadership, business and community members seek to work together. It happened briefly in 2006. I’m looking forward to seeing more sustainable fruits of collaboration happening again.
From The Bay News — 2006
Your Community – Stepping-Up by Judy Salamacha, Publisher
Times, they are a-changing. While most of the changes are subtle they are often significant and noteworthy.
About 18 months ago, four Embarcadero business owners – Ed Biaginni, Stan Trapp, Paul Van Buerden, and Doug Redican – met to discuss what they could do collectively to bring more business to Morro Bay. They discovered the business community’s political strength once they determined their common direction and established a forum to voice concerns and support to elected representatives.
As tourism was currently the only viable industry, supporting events to increase tourism became the common direction. A loosely structured Business Forum that was open to all began to meet weekly on Thursdays at 9am at Rose’s Landing upstairs. Chamber of Commerce Director Peter Candela was tasked with chairing the forum and offering topical speakers, yet all who attended had a voice, thus it became the methodology to share information and plan strategies.
Speaking out against and suggesting viable solutions with commitments to participate in each other’s event was the action taken. This group would be the last to take credit for the success of event planning in Morro Bay, however, utilizing the Business Forum as a collective body of individuals seeking community success, it is noteworthy that the Harbor Festival recovered from a $40,000 debt with a healthy bank account to plan 2007.
What the group should take credit for is creating a partnership between business and city leadership to implement a vision for a healthier economy through successfully planned and executed events.
And although the Morro Bay Kite Festival was the brightest star so far in 2007 for events held by the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce, Peter Candela recognized a critical changing community attitude at the Jazz Festival. Not only did the business community and the city support the concept and risks of consuming major public parking on the Embarcadero for a temporary festival staging area, but for the first time Peter saw more than the regular Chamber volunteers at the event. Community members, city staff and elected officials were there not just attending an event for their own entertainment, but working the event to make it a success.
And if you missed the first edition of the season of Morro Bay Art Association’s Art In the Park, note it was bigger and better this year, but also recognize that again the city staff, elected officials, business supporter and the artists community collaborated with Morro Bay Beautiful to transform ten non-descript trash cans into beautiful works of art and recommend to our visitors they visit all the sites from Main Street to Morro Bay Blvd. to Tidelands Park to Market Street. When was the last time an event collaborated to have visitors visit all parts of the Morro Bay? Oh! The Morro Bay City-wide Garage Sale!
And when the Morro Bay Fire Department indicated they needed the community to step-up if we were interested in getting 40 teams and families from all over California to come for a fireman’s muster, a community committee joined forces to allow this event to return to Morro Bay after a hiatus of 20 years.
Times are subtly changing in Morro Bay through the coming together of community members collectively interested and willing to give their time, expertise, and even expendable dollars to build a new economy for the city. Each event has its own culture of community leadership to spark the idea, promote the benefits, reach out for sponsorship and welcome volunteer help. Yet each time people cross-over to get involved beyond their specific interest area, it has allowed new community friendships and understanding.
If there is a day for community bonding and family fun, it has to be 4th of July. For years the Chambers of Commerce in both Morro Bay and Cayucos have created an All-American family friendly day. There is music and games and sandcastles and parades and picnics and pancake breakfasts and barbecues all capped by a wonderful Fireworks display. Yes, they have become tourist-driven community events, however, what Morro Bay has discovered in the last 18 months at the Business Forum is the real secret to making successful community events is not always the slick, well organized activities, it is the “feel-good time” for the visitor realizing they are in a special community where so many smiling residents work together and play together to host guests from afar.
Why not give your Chamber a call today and join the 4th of July family fun in your community. They need you and a successful community needs more smiling people to welcome and host our visitors so they continue to vacation here for the health and wealth of our economies.