LONG BEACH - Owners and managers of 16 large, medium and small lodging establishments - plus four major area restaurants - represented the hospitality industry from Ocean Park to Ilwaco at last Thursday's meeting at The Breakers of the community's newest organization, the Long Beach Peninsula Lodging and Restaurant Association (L.A.R.A.).

The assembled representatives adopted the following vision statement for the fledgling association: "We are an organization which represents the full and diverse range of lodging and restaurant establishments throughout the greater Long Beach Peninsula community, established to address mutual interests and concerns, as well as to promote a unique and excellent experience to area visitors and residents."

An Organization and By-Laws Committee was formed to explore various organizational formats for the group, to write by-laws, and to establish a membership fee structure.

Discussion was held on a variety of issues, including a concern that L.A.R.A not duplicate the areas of responsibility already addressed by the Visitors' Bureau and the various area merchants' associations and chambers of commerce. The potential impact on the local hospitality industry and the general community - both positive and negative - of the conference center and resort hotel proposed by the City of Long Beach was also discussed. It was agreed that there are many misconceptions as well as many unanswered questions about the project. Interim President Bob Hamilton asked that each member of L.A.R.A. come to the next meeting with five written questions, so that a coherent and prioritized list can be compiled and formally presented to city representatives for clarification.

The next meeting of L.A.R.A. will be held this Wednesday, March 5, at 3:00 p.m., in the meeting room at The Breakers in Long Beach. Representatives of all lodging and restaurant establishments in the area are welcome to attend.

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