Letters to the Editor

Fire Station 17

Spring is here, which means it’s time to clean the cobwebs out of my mailbox to get ready for the oncoming deluge of mail from our mayor, police and firefighter unions that have managed this time to tie Long Beach Engine 17 to the stake to hold the flames or close it down. Be ready to start receiving a series of four-color glossy brochures detailing in gruesome detail why we need to approve another sales tax increase on the city leader’s drawing boards aimed to hike the cost of living for all once again.

It might be a little more difficult this time around since our elected officials in Washington just approved the largest stimulus package bill in our nation’s history in entitlements for all. They may have difficulty handing any grants to cities other than what they have to help the homeless; never mind the working contributing folks that pay for all of it ultimately.

The article, “Federal Dollars Sought to keep Engine 17” that appeared in the March 12 Beachcomber written by Bill Pearl identifies a scenario whereby your house catches fire in the middle of the night, the fire station across the street only has a hook and ladder truck with no water or hoses to pour water from and the home is burned to the ground. That is an account that put the hairs on my neck standing straight up with a cold chill down my spine! Not to worry though because my neighbors and I all voted and approved Measure A preventing closing Engine 17 through September 2021.

Our City Council has so diligently and in a timely fashion requested the federal government to cover the cover the projected costs to maintain Engine 17 through a federal grant merely shifts the costs on to the rest of the country instead of another direct hit on local taxpayers, thanks to Councilmembers Supernaw, Price, Allen and Saro. However, the city manager disagreed with their grant proposal alternative, citing a $900,000 shortfall that would not cover associated expenses.

Maybe it’s time to make an adjustment in apparatus currently deployed. Other fire departments have met this challenge by purchasing fire apparatus that can carry both ladders and a 300-gallon water tank for initial attack on a fire. It would ideal if the other vehicle at Fire Station 17 had this capability. They are referred to as “quints” and are being put in service throughout many fire departments such as Los Angeles County. If Fire Station 17 put a quint in place there would no longer be a need for 12 positions; a quint could also carry a paramedic on board. Perhaps this grant would be sufficient to pay for this adjustment to Fire Station 17 and then be able to maintain response time accountability.

Ward Johnson

[Editor Note: A quintuple combination pumper or “quint” is a fire-fighting apparatus that serves the dual purpose of an engine and a ladder truck. “Quintuple” refers to the five functions that a quint provides - pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device and ground ladders.]


No [wonder] this city is always broke. They cut both fire and police services and question why shootings, murders, violent crime and fire response times increase.

How about the mayor and City Council members take a pay cut or furlough days? They did it to the civilian employees then voted for a $4/hour pay raise of grocery workers – ultimately causing multiple stores to close and more people to lose jobs.

Planning on spending large sums of federal money for homeless; news update, they’re homeless because they want to be! Or let’s just spend it all like the Measure A money or build another new city building not needed so we can be in the exact same spot again in one-two years. Glad to see the Health Department gets fed lunch every day on grant money, at least someone is benefiting with a full belly while others lost wages.

Anonymous (Website)


Belmont Pool

I cannot believe the hypocrisy of Rae Gabelich. When Ms. Gabelich was a Long Beach Councilperson, North Long Beach was selected to be among over a dozen U.S. cities to share a more than $1-billion gift from Ray and Joan Kroc in partnership with The Salvation Army to develop youth centers for impoverished communities. Councilwoman Gabelich voted against Long Beach providing $15 million in matching funding for the $140 million North Long Beach project. The Salvation Army saw this as Long Beach’s lack of commitment and was forced to pull the plug on the project.

Instead, Councilwoman Gabelich voted that same year to tear down Belmont Plaza Pool with the stated intent of rebuilding a new one in its place.

Now Ms. Gabelich has the gall to file a law suit against the swimming pool she voted for as a Councilperson claiming she wants to help underserved areas of Long Beach when in fact, she was one of the elected leaders who created that situation by turning down the gift offered by the Kroc Foundation and Salvation Army. What a hypocrite.

Michael Ruehle



The City Council will be voting on construction of an RV parking lot at 3701 Pacific Place on April 6. Currently the eastside of Long Beach has 17 open space/parkland acres for every acre on the west side. The inequity of this is staggering and shameful. Additionally, the westside has been piled high with industrial buildings and other facilities that are not conducive to clean air and healthy living.  

The Riverpark Coalition is asking for your help. Because we can’t pack the council chambers to show them how much this matters to our community, we are asking you to instead, write the mayor an old-fashioned letter or postcard. The deadline is March 31.

We are calling it Operation 1000 Voices. We want them to hear from us as loudly as possible. Write or call the mayor (mayor@longbeach.gov or (562) 570-6801 and your council person. Please and thank you! Let’s #buildtheriverpark.

Diana Lejins
Riverpark Coalition


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