Newspaper Archive of
The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
August 25, 1955     The Catalina Islander
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August 25, 1955

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THE CATALINA ISLANDER Thursday, August 25, 1955 or On Wednesday, 7 September 1955 at 10:00 a.m. there will be a hearing at the City Council Chambers in Avalon regarding the proposed suspension of all transportation serv- ice by the Catalina Island Steamship Line. Be in attendance and tell'the examiner what lack of adequate steamer trans- portation is doing and will do to you and your business. This is a hearing by the Public Utility Commission of the State of California and is being held to protect your interests. Be there and speak up. It is felt by the writer that the survival of Avalon itself rests in an adequate steamer operation, an-operation which means two steamers in the summer, x~r a two trip daily schedule by the one steamer and adequate service in the winter months so that~ose uncounted thousands of pros- pective Island visitors that are now tu~ ed away by the Catalina Island Steamship Lines agents and the Catalina Island Steamship Lines offices may be able *to travel to Avalon and Catalina for their enjoyment and for Avalon and Catalina's betterment. It is ineonceiviable to entertain the thought that reduced transporta- tion facilities or the suspension of steamer transportation can lead to an increased volume of passengers. And, it is inconceiviable to think that any resort, any city, or any business can sustain itself on less and less customers. It may well be true that the Catalina Island Steamship Line can make more money with a one steamer operation in the summer months with that steamer filled to capacity each day But with the vast majority of those people being sold one day-round-trip tickets, and the CISL ticket agents on the steamer selling the great majority of those passengers tickets for the CISL and SCI Co. sightseeing rides and trips on that same day, it holds that other businesses .must by lack of customers alone be forced to curtail operations and retrench in order to survive, And with a curtailing of operations by Avalon merchants and inn-keepers, less can be offered the visiting tourist, and Avalon loses more of its attractiveness to the vacationer, It is known tothousands of intended and actual Avalon visitors and residents that to procure a ticket on the CISL steamer Catalinh and tile motorship Descanso can, at times, be a most difficuht if not impossible task. On many, or most, days during the active summer season, and in the winter months when the small motorship sometimes operates, the CISL agents have to tell the inquiring customers that the stbamer or motorship is sold out for the day they wish. For the past three years many people have been advised by CISL agents as much as five days ahead of the date the traveler wants that the s~eamship or motorship is sold out. This situation is further con/used, with damaging results to Avalon and Catalina, by the leaving on the dock of, at times, hundreds of people, many with reserved tickets in hand. The ship Catalina has many times, I have been irtformed and witnessed in part, been ready to sail with half a family on board.and half a family on the dock, with pets on board and t he masters oh the dock, with the result that it was necessary to debark the on board passengers or pets and leave them all on the dbck in anger and disgust. f There are few merchants in Avalon that have not heard the disap- pointed crys of visitors and Islanders alike regarding the inability to procure passage on the steamer Catalina, or the seemingly endless waiting in line for cancellation space so that they might travel to or from Avalon. If only those people who have told me at my office of the complaints they were going to register with the agent that sold them steamer tickets did. in fact, make that complaint to their agent, then we can readily assume that many .agents are reluctant to sell Catalina Steamship tickets for fear the service, or lack of service will so offend their client that by the agents association with the steamer operation the client ~lll be angry with them. W~ must admit that a satisfied customer is the earnest desire of any travel agent, and we must assume, that an agent would, at times prefer not to sell a service that may offend, and in so offending reflect upon his travel office business. This reluctance to sell Catalina is a cancerous thing, for only by enthusiasm on the part of an agent can Catalina and Avalon continue to grow and prosper. With a half-enthusiasm an agem can create the impression that Catalina is not what it should be as a resort, ~and like a movie star that disappears from the screen from lack of publicity so will Avalon and Catalina die as a world famous resort. can Avalon prosper and advance, and not to advance means to fall ba~ and decay. All things in Avalon, or any city, hinge on people, for without you have no life, no business, no prosperity. All things in on transportation, and the most desired mode of transportation to is the large steamer. We must, however, have adequate steamer transpor ration, and today we do not have it. The market for Avalon and Catalin~ business is just twenty miles away, and that market wants to come to us" but it can not make the trip because they have been told by cISb agents or by friends that the steamer is full. And this feeling is becoming so prev~ile'nt that many days in the heart of our summer season .t~ steamer has made the trip to Avalon with 1600 or 1700 people. And~,~- in face of the fact that the population of Los Angeles County has gro ,~ from 2,776,190 in 1940 (when the steamship company operated thrt~ steamers} to almost 5,000,000 in 1955 when we now haveone steamer~ an~ that one stearffer only in the summer time. And now, to put the co~ in the bottle, the CISL wants to completely suspend all passengeraria freight service and leave us high and dry with no large ship transportati !0~ or freight service for the winter months. It is a sad thing to see a community of people gasp for a civic breat~ but that is what Avalon is facing if the CISL suspends service for a~ period of time. We, as a city, are suffering now with inadequate tran~ portation. Can't you or does it scare you to imagine what will hapl~, to our community with the whole of Southern California being advise that Catalina is closed down again. We have never recovered from the shock of the publicity of past suspension periods, there is a better good chance that a new shock will knock,our city down so that we never be able to regain our place as a resort leader. Yes---it is true. many of our citizens are tied to the CISL or SCI Co'S 'apron strings by employment relatives emp!oyed, the lease of or residential space, the favoring of business contacts with the the time has come when through desperation alone the Avalon citizens must rise together and fight for survival. Our City Council and Chamber of Commerce have appeased the Companys in past suspension periods by supporting the suspension prO" posals to the Public Utility Commission. and always promises were made by the Companys that next year things would be better. But the nex year the demands were there again -and instead of the community gainilag strength thecommunity was bled. There must be a stopping place short of ruln, and the time to call a halt is now before all is lost. The people M'ill be heard if they speak but;,to remain voiceless is to invite financial disaster You must speak to those that can help us, a~d those that can help are the Public Utility Commission of California, Ti~es' Mirror Building, Los Angeles. State Serlator Richard Richards, Sacranqe~t ' Calif State Assemblyman Vincent L. Thomas, 1221 Sunside St San pedr~ Calif.; and Governor Goodwin Knight, Sacran~ento, California. If you, think you are being silly in writing your elected representatives, ju:~ remember you elected these people to guide and help you in times need and this is a time of need. Too many of us think a State official is beyond hearing of a voite from little Avalon, but don't you believe it. Our little town of and the Island of Catalina are known the world over . . . and our are legion. All we have to do is call for help and we'll get it. are hundreds of thousands of folks who honeymooned in Avalon, their wives and husbands here, vacationed with us and took, away ories of a day a week -- a month that are stored away again and again. All those friends of ours Will help fight our to survive if only we have the guts to start the ball rolling. Avalon and Catalina have the .greatest potential of any the west coast, but we can't swim our guests over. If we adequate steamer transportation we will all go ahead. And we'll prosper including the CISL and SCI Companies, If you love your cit]9, want your city to survive and t to see your property regain its real value, and want to be a true' zen, set down right now and write that letter . . . and sign to it. If you aren't-strong enough to stand up and be counted the chips are down and your city is threatened, then you aren't of an American. Let's get this transportation mess cleared up so our town ahead. With a stable~ s~amer operation~to base upon. all of transportation (which we want and need} can project planning into the future for improvement and enlargement of services, and Avalon and Catalina will again bounce back into places as the most popular of the west coast resorts. Without reproach, I can now state that'-Avalon and Catalina are dying, for the maximum of 1963 steamer passengers that the shiP Catalina can bring to our island each day can not maintain the economy of Avalon. nor PAID ADVERTISEMENT