Council Approves Three More Years for Motor Classic at Lacy Park

The City Council approved a three-year agreement for organizers to continue using Lacy Park to host the famed San Marino Motor Classic at its meeting last week.
The agreement, which continues an arrangement first struck in 2011 for the inaugural Motor Classic, stipulates that organizers rent out Lacy Park for $3,545 for the annual event, a sum equivalent to all of the park’s rental area fees. The agreement will cover the 2020, 2021 and 2022 Motor Classics, as the outgoing agreement covers the one happening next month.
Local resident Aaron Weiss, the event’s founder, explained to the City Council that the 428 cars slated to be exhibited this year constitute an unusual high (there are normally around 300-350, he said) and reflect the growing popularity of the event, formed in 2011 after the Los Angeles Concours D’Elegance folded.
“The show has taken on a national scope that it didn’t have before,” Weiss said. “Normally, I’d like to get the number down rather than up. We’re a little maxed out. Once you get around 350, you run into trouble with staffing the field. We’d like to keep it around that 300-plus-or-minus mark.”
Weiss asserted that although he expects to pare down the number of exhibited vehicles in subsequent years, he can’t reliably predict attendance patterns aside from consulting prior year ticket sales. He said there are normally around 2,000 sold as pre-event tickets and another 650 purchased at the door. Given how much space several hundred vehicles occupy, City Manager Marcella Marlowe pointed out, it’s unlikely the attendance at any one time could approach Lacy Park’s maximum capacity.
Although the Motor Classic is operated through its own nonprofit group, it makes a sizable donation to other nonprofits, including Rotary Club of San Marino, which in turn makes its own donations to San Marino projects, including the Barth Athletics Complex at Huntington Middle School and the construction of new public restrooms at Lacy Park.
In other business, Police Chief John Incontro revealed a downturn in residential burglaries in reviewing the first-quarter crime stats, a report that also detailed a slight increase in burglary attempts.
For the year’s first quarter (January through March), there were 20 reported home burglaries, down from the 26 reported in the same window last year. There was one commercial burglary this year, compared to none in that period last year, and there were nine attempted burglaries this year, up from the seven last year.
“About half of the homes [burglarized] have no alarm system at all,” Incontro said. “They have no alarms, no cameras, nothing. That allows burglars to spend more time in the home, take more items of value and, at times, be more destructive to the inside of the home.”
Larcenies also were down, with 25 reported this year as opposed to 33 last year. Most of these thefts come from “porch pirates” taking packages shortly after their delivery. Front-door camera devices, like those manufactured by Ring, have helped detectives investigate these cases, Incontro said, and his department is working with the city on a rebate program for those types of cameras.
Overall, the statistics indicated a 17.9% dip in crimes so far this year.
“Things are looking up and I thank you all for your support in what we’re trying to accomplish,” Incontro said.
The City Council also allocated $20,000 for an emergency assessment of the San Marino Police Department building, in response to the growing list of repairs needing to be done following roof leakages and other structural issues.
This measure was taken to add urgency to the matter, as the City Council is already considering a programmed assessment of several buildings starting in the next fiscal year. There are concerns about the formation of mold and other hazards within the building.
“We want our police to be friends of the community,” Councilwoman Susan Jakubowski said. “We want to have a good relationship. I would like for us to consider the assessment for that department separately in the coming months to really get it on our radar screen. I’m concerned with how many ‘Band-Aids’ we’re using.”
The $20,000 was taken from the capital improvements budget.

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