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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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May 4, 2018     The Catalina Islander
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May 4, 2018
 

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Horrel From page 1 ulation and the Island Company were generally pretty good until a few years ago, when "they got worse. A lot worse," he said. Herrel said when he first- cameAo the island, community engagement created a "more positive" relationship and, for the most part, stayed that way until the recent deviation. "There are small, vocal minorities," that seize upon fear and negative sentiment to drive wedges in the population, said Herrel. "They are ripping apart the (social) fabric of the commu- nity," the CEO cautioned. The Island Company was founded more than 120 years ago with a specific mission, said Herrel. His job as CEO is to oversee the management of Wrigley's legacy and manage the business affairs of a company dedicated to showcase island tourism while protecting one of the most pris- tine protected areas remaining on earth. Also, the Island Company is interested in business activities that, in some way, contribute to their overall vision. Having said that, however, Herrel said the Island Company is also interested in helping the island enhance its overall quality of life, both for Island Company employees and those who are not associated with the company. "We give to most every legiti- mate fundraiser, we never say no to a fundraiser for a farewell or family member and we con- tribute to many local causes," he said. Moreover, Herrel said the company's management team has adopted a strong reinvest- ment plan that puts most of their earnings back into the island. It makes sense to get along, and Herrel is clearly hoping to find a way back to better rela- tions with islanders and its gov- ernment. "We wish we could help more, and could, if people would posi- tively and professionally work with us," he said. Complicating issues even fur- ther is the small amount of land available for development. Most of the available land for development is owned by the Island Company, leading to additional frustrations with their decision making regarding its use. Herrel said the Island Company does have stringent standards for development since such a small area remains for development. "If the Wrigleys (and the suc- cessors) had said yes to every request for land, there would be none available today." The management team vigor- ously investigates every request made to the island company, said Herrel, adding that they are open to ideas. "We never say no to a meeting." Once in the door, prospective businesses have to prove to the board that they indeed have the money to build, the money to sustain, a viable business model and the proper experience and documentation to run a business. Once those goals are met, he said, only then will the tom- Island Company CEO Randy Herrel pany's board seriously consider a request. But when the conditions are met, said Herrel, the Island Company will act accordingly. The new Von's Supermarket under construction is one of the more recent examples of that, he said. As far as the Island Company itself, Herrel says their willing- ness to be open with the commu- nity is perhaps partly responsible for some of the misconceptions about the company and inten- tions. For instance, he acknowl- edged the Island Company did present "ideas" to the commu- nity years ago about a "resort style pool that would be open to the public, building new homes, a location for a community cen- ter and another soccer field," etc. Those were "ideas, not plans," he said, recalling having pre- sented them to the community as a vision for the future. "Our mistake may have been telling the community about ideas that could not come true (because of circumstances soon to befall the entire state)." Shortly after the ideas were presented to the-community, Herrel said California began to ff reat Boats suffer from a "drought" which rationed water and effectively shut down any development hopes whatsoever. He said the "emergency water situation" prevented any sig- nificant development then (and now). Some residents obviously interpreted the earlier vision as "promises," said Herrel, and the lack of overall development, coupled with the factional splits, made a bad situation even worse. "We are willing to sit around the table to help non-island com- pany people as well as our own," said Herrel, "but there is a vocal minority who may not believe in that," he added. "This needs to go away for the sake of the kids and the future of the island's residents." "Are we interested in facili- tating a better quality of life for everyone on the island? Absolutely we are and we should," he added. Next week: We will continue our conversation with Randy Herrel to learn what they are doing to accelerate development as he explains their five-year plan and what the Island compa- ny is doing to resolve the water situation on the island. iCatalina.com The construction of the new Vons is an example of a project meeting all of the Island Company critiera. Drone photo by Glen Gustafson Apd127th through 17th Shows Nightly at 7:30pm Rated t'G-]3 Admission: Adult $15.00 $13.00 For More Inftmmtimt Call 310-510-0179 TIlE CATAIJNA IILANDIR Friday, May 4, 2018 i 6