Miffed that sponsors of a winter marathon have not named their race after the city, some City Council members refused to ask Caltrans to close Pacific Coast Highway for the run next year.
The ensuing 3 to 3 vote on the matter this week means it will be debated again next month.
The city's stretch of the scenic highway has been the site of the Pacific Shoreline Marathon for the last two Super Bowl Sundays. About 3,000 runners showed up the first year. The number ballooned to 8,000 runners last year. Race Pace, the operators, want to do it again Jan. 31.
But Councilman Dave Sullivan protested when the item came up for a routine vote Monday, saying the sponsors had agreed to call the race the Huntington Beach Pacific Shoreline Marathon.
"We close down PCH for God knows how long, to the great inconvenience of our residents, and I don't see that we get anything out of this," he said.
Community Services Director Ron Hagan said the sponsors have not changed the name yet because the city does not contribute money to the event. The race pays for everything from barricades to police overtime, he said.
Other council members said the race gives great publicity for the city--name change or not--and draws thousands of visitors on a day when most are glued to TV sets to watch the big game. Several city charities also benefit, they said.
Council members Sullivan, Ralph H. Bauer and Tom Harman voted no, while Mayor Shirley S. Dettloff and council members Pam Julien and Peter M. Green voted yes. Councilman Dave Garofalo will provide the tie-breaker at the next vote Oct. 5.
Garofalo, who is ill, said he is wholeheartedly behind the race. "Having the opportunity to grow with an emerging, potentially national event is a wonderful thing."