Dolphin at Miramar Park
After more than 180 days in captivity, the Dolphin at Miramar Park has been rescued. At least, that’s the message proclaimed by Brian Diederich via a gofundme page established today seeking private donations to replace the rubber surface beneath the statue.
According to Diederich, Jody and Jamie Davis from The Rosalie Ellen Company have already provided a very generous commitment to fund the repair and refurbishment of the iconic dolphin statue and that it is now “up to us, the locals, to finish the job.”
In a post appearing on the Nextdoor website, Diederich initially claimed that the City of Torrance didn’t have the money to fix the statue and that he was in charge of the private fundraising effort. In a later post, he backed off his claim that the City didn’t have the money explaining he took action because he did not want this project to get tied up in red tape and become a political issue.
The posting on the gofundme page claims that the “City of Torrance spent countless hours researching archives and making numerous phone calls to find the original dolphin manufacturer but was unsuccessful. The City knew it was time to reach out to the community.”
Deiderich did not respond to an inquiry soliciting whether he is acting in an official capacity with the City and it is not clear from the gofundme site whether the City of Torrance approves of the fundraising effort. That could be an issue as the City will ultimately have to approve any modifications made to the park.
A chain link fence that has surrounded the dolphin for the past 6 months was recently replaced with orange cones and caution tape.
As of this writing, the gofundme site had raised $560 of the needed $9,850.
Tomorrow evening the City Council will determine whether to approve a $132,025 payment to the South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG). The payment is to cover membership dues for the next three fiscal years. The breakout by year is $41,464 for 2017-18, $43,959 for 2018-19, and $46,603 for 2019-20.
The SBCCOG Board of Directors approved a 6% annual dues increase on June 22, 2017. The increased dues payments owed by the City of Torrance are reflective of that increase. The stated purpose of the dues increase is in order to grow the SBCCOG’s reserves.
The SBCCOG is a joint powers authority established in 1994 that comprises 16 local cities. The mission and vision of the SBCCOG is to improve the quality of life and maximize the productivity of the South Bay region through local government collaboration.
According to the staff report, the City of Torrance has been an active member of the SBCCOG and has taken a leadership role on regional issues such as improving transportation and infrastructure, sustainability, green environmental initiatives, homelessness and livable communities, legislative issues, as well as strengthening economic development.
The staff report did not list any specific initiatives or achievements that the City of Torrance was able to accomplish due to their involvement with the SBCCOG.
Kim Fuentes is the #2 ranking staff member of the SBCCOG currently serving as its Deputy Executive Director. Fuentes is a familiar face at City Hall due to a longstanding contract she holds with the City of Torrance providing Rideshare Consultant services. That contract pays her $65,000 a year for her part-time assistance. Torrance City Councilman Kurt Weideman also currently serves as Chair of the SBCCOG.
Should the City of Torrance not approve the membership dues payment, it would likely put Torrance’s membership in the organization at risk.