City Council Meeting: August 13, 2013

Agenda Item: 3-M  

To: Mayor and City Council 

From: Karen Ginsberg, Director of Community and Cultural Services

Subject: Santa Monica Civic Auditorium Advisory Group Qualifications and Criteria



Recommended Action

Staff recommends that the City Council:

  1. Approve the establishment, objectives and composition of a temporary advisory body that will convene a community process and serve in an advisory capacity to Council regarding options for the future of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium;
  2. Approve eligibility criteria for the appointment of members to the Civic Working Group (CWG)and its Technical Advisory Subcommittee; and
  3. Authorize the City Clerk to publish the vacancies on the CWG, with nominations to close on September 16, 2013.


Executive Summary

At its meeting on June 11, 2013, City Council approved the concept of an advisory body that will provide professional and community input on the renovation, programming and long-term operation of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (Civic) and directed staff to return with a recommended structure and criteria for members of this temporary advisory group, who will be appointed for one two-year term.



On August 14, 2012 City Council authorized the suspension of the Civic renovation project due to the loss of redevelopment funds and directed staff to develop alternatives for the rehabilitation of the facility. Council considered these alternatives at an October 23, 2012 study session. At that meeting Council affirmed the intent to close the facility as planned and directed staff to return once additional research, including outreach to stakeholders and experts, was completed. On June 11, 2013 Council reviewed and commented on recommendations regarding an interim use of the Civic, long-term management options, strategies to generate revenue for the renovation, and the concept of the development of a cultural campus with the Civic Auditorium as the hub. Staff were directed to return with a recommended structure and criteria for a temporary Civic Working Group (CWG) that will provide professional input on the development of recommendations for the renovation, programming and long-term operation of the Civic. Council also approved an interim operations budget and the one-time allocation of funds for market feasibility and economic analysis of the preferred uses.



Community participation and professional input are critical factors in developing a feasible plan for the future of the Civic. To structure an effective and timely planning process, staff recommends the establishment of a nine-member CWG.



The CWGs objectives would be to work with City staff and consultants to:


Staff proposes that the CWG be composed of nine members, four members would be individuals who currently serve, or have served, on the Citys Arts, Landmarks, Planning, and Recreation and Parks Commissions; the other five members would be people with broad knowledge of Santa Monica and who possess professional expertise in one or more of a variety of relevant disciplines. Staff also proposes that Council establish an additional three-member Technical Advisory Subcommittee (Subcommittee). This Subcommittee would be comprised of individuals with extensive professional and technical expertise associated with the CWG objectives, in particular the financing, management and programming of venues similar to the Civic.


Upon Council approval, the City Clerk would publish the openings and staff would conduct outreach to ensure that the opportunity is widely distributed and well publicized and that applications are solicited from a broad cross-section of the community. Prospective CWG members, as well as members of the Subcommittee, would complete an application (Attachment A) to provide staff and Council with a complete understanding of how the applicant could contribute to the objectives of the working group. Applications would be due on September 16, 2013. Staff intends to review the applications, interview candidates, and submit recommendations for consideration at the October 22, 2013 Council meeting. The four affected Commissions, Arts, Landmarks, Planning, and Recreation and Parks, would be asked to recommend a current or former member at their September meetings and their recommendations would be included in the October report to Council.


Member Criteria

In order to effectively devise an achievable vision for the future of the Civic, the skills and experience of each CWG member should expressly reflect the CWGs stated objectives. By establishing aligned criteria and then appointing members with appropriate professional and personal qualifications and achievements, Council will facilitate the groups work. Staff recommends that Council approve the following eligibility criteria for the CWG and its Technical Advisory Subcommittee:






o   Individuals whose businesses are currently under contract or being considered for a contract with the City regarding the Civic; or

o   Private businesses, developers, investors, operators or producers interested in a near-term opportunity to renovate, operate, program or develop the Civic and/or any adjacent City-owned property.



The City Council could decide not to proceed with establishing the CWG. In such case, staff would proceed with Civic planning efforts and present the findings or recommendations to City Council at major milestones. Considering competing Council priorities, this alternate process could take more time and would require a separate community outreach process. Alternatively, Council could propose an alternate structure for the group or Council could assign the Civic planning effort to an existing City Commission in which case the membership may not have the potential breadth and depth of expertise of the proposed two-year CWG.


Next Steps


1.    In August 2013, the City Clerk would publish the CWG application and staff would conduct outreach to the community for nominations.

2.    In September 2013, the four Commissions would recommend members for the CWG for Council consideration and applications from members of the general public would be due. Staff would interview candidates.

3.    In October 2013, Council would consider the appointment of nine members to the CWG.

4.    In November 2013, the CWG would hold its first meeting.


Financial Impacts & Budget Actions

There is no immediate financial impact or budget action necessary as a result of the recommended action. Existing staff resources would be utilized to support the CWG and Technical Advisory Subcommittee and funds set aside at the June 11, 2013 Council meeting will be dedicated to professional consultants that may advise both staff and the CWG and Subcommittee. Staff will return to Council if specific budget actions are required in the future.


Prepared by: Jessica Cusick, Manager, Cultural Affairs




Forwarded to Council:







Karen Ginsberg

Director, Community and Cultural Services


Rod Gould

City Manager



Attachment A - Civic Working Group Application