Beachcombing

By: 
Jay Beeler

The phrase “to put lipstick on a pig” means making superficial or cosmetic changes to a product in a futile effort to disguise its fundamental failings. Such was our reaction to the following item in Councilwoman Stacy Mungo’s online newsletter, stated “Just this last week, a newspaper headline inaccurately published that the [artificial turf soccer] field would cost $3.1 million. At the meeting, we shared that the construction costs are $1.3 million. Hopefully that paper will acknowledge their typo. Even with the cost of materials, the field is budgeted at under $2 million.

“Typo?” The $3.11 million sum comes in a city published document – visible at this link: “https://measurea-longbeachca.hub.arcgis.com/pages/parksrec#ElDoradoParkA...” – titled “Measure A Improvements: Parks & Recreation” and listing various projects city management plans to fund using the Measure A sales tax increase. The city document doesn’t explain from where the additional roughly $760,000 will come – listing it only as “other” funds – or for what purpose(s) it will be used.

There’s a graph demonstrating the cost here: https://www.lbreport.com/20pix/eldopark/3milcost.jpg.

Reporter Bill Pearl has been following and documenting the artificial turf controversy and states “Councilwoman Mungo linked to the Measure A document (without mentioning its new estimated total cost) in her Oct. 22 “Neighborly News” promoting her then-upcoming Zoom meeting.

“As we also note, in seeking Parks/Rec Commission approval for the field on Nov. 21, 2019, parks management said the cost of maintaining the artificial turf field would be the responsibility of Long Beach’s Parks/Recreation Department – not Public Works – and said the cost had ‘not yet been identified’ but would be provided ‘as part of the FY21 budget process.’

“See ‘Fiscal Impact’ section here: http://longbeach.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=7903571&GUID=2EA051F7-DDF....

“No, that cost wasn’t seriously discussed during the FY21 budget. No, it wasn’t and isn’t now visible now. We’ve asked and management hasn’t told us or taxpayers how much it will be.

“By trying to limit attention to the low bids (about $1+ million) to install/construct the field, Councilwoman Mungo is trying to divert attention from the current council-approved budgeted installation cost she and her council colleagues voted for – $2.35 million line item in FY21 budget – or someone’s estimate of $3.11 million total cost.

“Yes, the ultimate management recommended sum may or may not be less (another taxpayer ‘surprise’ coming in December) and we’ve acknowledged the $3.11 million listed is someone’s estimate, but who and based on what? Was it prepared by a city-paid vendor or city staff? From where would the roughly $760,000 in additional sums come and for what purposes?”

Stay tuned. Rest assured that Reporter Pearl will be following this controversy until the pig gets its lipstick properly applied.

 

Have you prepared your holiday greeting cards yet? Please remember to include your Beachcomber carrier if he/she has done a good job getting our newspaper to your home address.

Each year we suggest that you consider sending a card and small token of your appreciation to: Beachcomber Carrier, PO Box 15679, Long Beach, CA 90815-0679. Upon receipt we look at your return address to determine who your carrier is and forward those envelopes in a timely manner.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

publisher@beachcomber.news

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