Letters to the Editor

CPCC a Paper Tiger

We civilians always seem to underestimate the abilities and skills of those who lead us. After years of observation I’ve determined that too many of these types are of low moral character who also excel in the practice of corruption. My question is why are these villainous persons so often found in government?

Is Mr. Downing’s [Page 1] article not a complete validation of my theory? It seems a roadmap of tenacity, deviousness and resilience! I’m astounded that these people invest so heavily in actions to punish the citizenry of Long Beach. Can you find one thing they have done to foster good governance in this beautiful city?

Joe Viola

You are absolutely correct in your evaluation of the CPCC as a paper tiger. As an ex-commissioner from 2015 to 2019, I became aware of some of the discrepancies and addressed them to the then executive director, Anitra Dempsey, who side stepped every question. I repeatedly addressed the commissioners and some, privately said that they agreed, but none would say anything during our meetings. As the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.”

I was also at the Aug. 12 commission meeting when Ian Patton presented his 3-minute, limited, listing of the complaints and how they came about to the commission. I agreed that, with the facts laid out it should have been one of the “easiest decisions” that the commissioners could possibly make, so I don’t understand the 5-3 decision on the first count.

Richard Lindemann

Is change to civilian oversight and transparency possible?”

While I’m cautiously optimistic that Polis Solutions will make some good recommendations vis-a-vis the CPCC, the fact remains that the foundation of the commission is flawed. How is the commission funded and staffed, who controls it and what does the commission have oversight of?

In the end all that will be done is a bit of reform, when what is needed – which became apparent during the George Floyd protests with testimony by then commissioner Porter Gilbert – is a brand new commission built from scratch that is truly independent from City Hall. Suffice it to understand that just about every elected official is funded in part by the LBPOA and as the saying goes, the dog doesn’t bite the hand that feeds it.

Carlos Ovaille

Polis is good but that doesn’t mean they’ll succeed in Long Beach.

I did an interview with Polis and found it to be highly professional and my interview to be serious, focused and knowledgeable. But the super-spreader complaint is indicative of the hurdles Polis faces, if its goal is to achieve something in Long Beach.

First, its job is to write a report. If the report makes strong recommendations but is ignored in substance while being complimented on its surface, it will serve as just another fig leaf for corruption (as the CPCC itself has for decades).

Second, if the CPCC is reformed, you still need commissioners with the courage to push back against intimidation and take up the investigative tools they’ve been given on paper.

One of the CPCC’s biggest problems is not ever using even the insufficient tools it already possesses. The super spreader tally shows that at least some commissioners remain cowed, even in the case of the most obvious complaint of misconduct conceivable.

Lastly, as I pointed out to Polis, one reason they were probably hired is that City Hall sees them as the less burdensome level of reform option out of their two options.

Real police reform would of course mean looking at the Police Department itself. Polis isn’t directly doing that. They are looking at the commission, which looks at the Police Department.

To do that alone is frankly kind of a joke, which isn’t Polis’ fault. But they could just as easily have been hired to do both but weren’t.

That means that even if they supply real CPCC reforms and even if they’re adopted and even if we have courageous commissioners, all we can expect is a very long path to any progress with the LBPD itself, if ever.

Under the circumstances of heightened scrutiny following George Floyd, that’s exactly what the police union expects and would consider a hell of a deal. They basically don’t have anything to worry about as its business as usual in Long Beach for the foreseeable future for them.

Ian Patton

 

Water Usage & Rates

I urge that instead of drilling more wells, we conserve the water we have.

What happened to watering on only Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for 10 minutes? What about cutting down on toilet flushing and shower time? Reuse of gray water? Drought tolerant yards? Limiting development?

Not so long ago this city made a big effort to cut down on water use – and the public responded. Then it occurred to city officials that because of less water use, the tax revenue was going down. (Remember, there is a 5% Utility Users Tax on every bill.)

Even in the middle of the worse drought in memory, there has been no mention of water conservation from the city. Instead, their solution is to raise rates.

In just 2019, the water rates were raised by 12% and in 2020 by 6%. Now, the rates are proposed to increase 8% for all water rates and 10% for sewer – over $60 a year for the average family – plus the 5% tax.

I agree that ongoing maintenance of wells and pipes must be done. However, the publicly owned Water Department is supposed to be non-profit. Instead of illegally giving “excess funds” to the city’s General Fund, the money should have been spent for needed maintenance.

If the rates must be raised, they should be raised on oil production, not residential use.

Right now, Long Beach gets about 50% of its water from city water wells. We are using water that has been here for millions of years. This latest rate raise includes drilling new, deeper wells, which will use up water needed by future generations.

I vote “no” to raising both the water and sewer rates.

I urge the water commissioners to concentrate on conserving the water we have and being better stewards of the public’s money.

Ann Cantrell

 

Redistricting Protest

[Sent to the Redistricting Committee]

I have owned a home in the Los Altos neighborhood for 40 years. It’s always been District 4 with the exception of one time it was ‘moved’ without notification, to District 5. I only discovered that by calling City Hall to inquire why I hadn’t gotten a ballot for a District 4 election many years ago. I gave my address and was told I was in District 5, which I adamantly protested. I was never informed that our neighborhood had been reassigned. I was furious to say the least. The next election cycle, we were back in District 4. Check your records.

I live 1/4 mile from CSULB. I want to be represented in the local neighborhood community by my elected councilman, Daryl Supernaw, who you are also cutting out of his elected position as 4th District councilman, as he also owns a home in this neighborhood. I voted for and support Daryl as my representative.

He has been active for years in our little corner of East Long Beach. He was instrumental in filling in the dangerous irrigation ditches that run parallel to Atherton on the north side. I want to continue to have a say in matters concerning issues at CSULB, parking and traffic in my neighborhood, not Belmont Shore, Naples, the Peninsula, Belmont Heights and other District 3 neighborhoods.

City Hall has once before tried to railroad District 4 for their own agenda. They proposed making Atherton connect straight through to the 605 freeway to “ease east and westbound traffic” by taking a large load of traffic off 7th street. This would’ve destroyed property values in this 4th District Los Altos neighborhood, not to mention the dangers posed by thousands of cars driving through our residential neighborhood. One can only imagine the impact it would’ve had on CSULB, Tincher and Minnie Gant elementary schools. Fortunately, District 4 banded together and fought to terminate that idea completely.

Sadly, it seems the city is once again ready to manipulate this neighborhood for their own agenda. This is Los Altos, always has been and should remain so. There is no such thing as a “Palo Verde” neighborhood. What city authority secretly came up with that new, unannounced neighborhood name?

Removing our small tract in East Los Altos for the convenience of “equalizing” population numbers for another central Long Beach district is ridiculous. Remove a small tract of residences on the west side of District 4 to meet those needs. Our small wedge of Los Altos has been “thrown under the bus” before by the city to meet their needs, with no consideration, notification or votes by those who live in this neighborhood of District 4.

Leave us in District 4 as always and go find another small neighborhood tract to toss into another council district. We are tired of being moved about to please City Hall’s agenda.

Barbara Hawkins

 

Land Density

Why are Long Beach politicians so late in discussing SB 9? I see several reasons.

  • SB 9 provides political cover for something they already want to do.
  • Putting two to four units on an existing lot will trigger a huge property tax reassessment. More money to spend without an in-your-face tax increase.
  • Developers will show their love to those in power.

Is it already too late for Long Beach to take a publicly supported stand?

Jim Outwater, Sr.

 

KLON’s Helen Borgers

It’s already years since Helen’s passing. I still miss her and the quality of jazz that was presented in the past on this station. First on KLON and then on KJZZ.

And then all this become a station for “soft jazz” (what a horrible word for a horrible kind of jazz!) and elevator jazz. And here we went into the dungeons. Now, four years later at least we hear the same old ... again and again.

With hosts that are producing and representing a very mediocre form of jazz and can’t even pronounce correctly his own French surname. Didn’t his parents tell him? I’m terrified that next we’ll be listening to and being hosted by Kenny G, David Sanborn and the likes.

Who is this person, who are these people who program this station with every day the same kind of jazz? It’s a disgrace and a shame.

Gerhard Kleindl

 

Free, Accessible Food

I bought a bird feeder. I hung it on my back porch and filled it with seed. What a beauty of a bird feeder it was, as I filled it lovingly with seed. Within a week we had hundreds of birds taking advantage of the continuous flow of free and easily accessible food.

But then the birds started building nests in the boards of the patio, above the table and next to the barbecue. Then came the shit. It was everywhere: on the patio tile, the chairs, the table – everywhere!

Then some of the birds turned mean. They would dive bomb me and try to peck me even though I had fed them out of my own pocket. And other birds were boisterous and loud. They sat on the feeder and squawked and screamed at all hours of the day and night and demanded that I fill it when it got low on food.

After a while, I couldn’t even sit on my own back porch anymore. So, I took down the bird feeder and in three days the birds were gone. I cleaned up their mess and took down the many nests they had built all over the patio. Soon, the back yard was like it used to be – quiet, serene and no one demanding their rights to a free meal.

Now let’s see... Our government gives out free food, subsidized housing, free medical care and free education and allows anyone born here to be an automatic citizen.

Then the illegals came by the tens of thousands. Suddenly our taxes went up to pay for free services; small apartments are housing five families; you wait six hours to be seen by an emergency room doctor. Your child’s second grade class is behind other schools because over half the class doesn’t speak English.

Corn flakes now come in a bilingual box. I have to “press one” to hear my bank talk to me in English and people waving flags other than “ours” are squawking and screaming in the streets, demanding more rights and free liberties.

Just my opinion, but maybe it’s time for the government to take down the bird feeder.

Vance Frederick

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