Tonight, the City Council will consider a request to extend the security contract for A. G. Coast, Corp. dba California Panther for another five years. City conducted a formal Request for Proposals (RFP) in October 2023, and received 19 different proposals before recommending that the city extend the contract for A.G. Coast.
A.G. Coast Security has been the official security for the pier since January 2022.
The city has been working with A.G. Coast Security since January 2022 to provide security services and SMPD to monitor points of entry onto the Santa Monica Pier. The current agreement with A.G. Coast expires on December 31, 2023; so some sort of action will be taken tonight even if the full five-year contract isn’t authorized.
But the contract extension is not popular with some critics who charge that the Pier remains a hostile place to the independent vendors who sell souvenirs and fruit snacks to visitors.
The city introduced new rules for vendors earlier this year, and Coast/code enforcement/SMPD have been charged with enforcing these rules. Vendors charged at the time that the new rules were too strict and that the city’s enforcement is not fair
”The City’s enforcement tactics are punitive and not solution oriented,” writes Cynthia Anderson-Barker, a lawyer representing a coalition of pier vendors. Anderson-Barker has advocated for a different approach to creating a program for vendors that has more permits for more areas. Rather than a security and police team overseeing portions of the program, it would be overseen by a non-profit.
“The City is spending an inordinate sum on enforcement rather than investing in supporting a community organizer and giving a grant to a non profit to help the vendors self organize and empower alternatives to enforcement and strategize collective solutions to alleged vending violations,” she concludes.