The three-day LGBT Pride Festival, which brought thousands of people and dollars to Long Beach for the last few years, will not be returning this summer, City Manager John Mirando said Wednesday. The LGBT Network and the city are in a dispute over money.
Mirando said the Hauppauge-based gay-rights organization still owes the city $70,000 from last year. It paid $50,000 to the city for the year before, for police and other type services. The LGBT disputes it owes the city the $70,000, saying it is the only organization being charged money to hold events in Long Beach.
David Kilmnick, LGBT Network’s founder and executive director, said the organization decided months ago not to hold its event in Long Beach this summer. He said parking and hotel space were limited. Kilmnick added that the network would hold a larger event this summer at a bigger event space. That space is believed to be Jones Beach.
Kilmnick noted there was a “water crisis” in Long Beach last summer. Kilmnick said the day the Pride event began, in June, tests conducted by the city detected E. Coli bacteria in a distribution sample collected from the Long Beach water system, according to county and city officials. Kilmnick said the “crisis” ended the last day of the pride event. He said he believed the crisis was “fake” and that the LGBT was “caught between warring political factions.”
He said the residents of Long Beach were “wonderful,” but that it was difficult to deal with city officials.
Ian Danby, board chairman of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, said the Pride Parade was “good publicity for the city and it did bring business to the local establishments. He added that if the LGBT Network does owe Long Beach money, that the new council “should take notice and make fiscally responsible decisions when planning future events.”
“We always welcome national events, and the city is a fantastic place to showcase on the East Coast, with its beautiful beach and boardwalk along with proximity to New York City,” Danby said.