Letters to the Editor

Vaccination Mandate

While I’m glad the city came around to eliminating the testing-in-lieu-of-vaxing option, even if for the wrong reasons, this mandate could’ve been done properly from the beginning.

“We must lead by example,” said Mayor Robert Garcia at the height of the pandemic last year and “follow the science.”

How does having police officers, the persons of authority with whom most people in vulnerable communities interact with most often, at only 51% vaccination rate show leadership by example?

How does allowing religious exemptions for the vaccine fit into following science?

Carlos Ovalle

 

Complaint Commission

The City of Long Beach has completed its listening sessions as part of a Racial Equity and Reconciliation Initiative. This effort, headed by the Long Beach Health and Human Services Department, is mobilizing many departments in the city to meet the challenge precipitated by the Black Lives Matter movement, the death of George Floyd, and many other Black and Latinx people. The one department that has not participated in this effort is the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD).

Demands to defund the police and pass the peoples’ budget are being ignored by the city and monies for the police will increase in 2022. At this time, it is crucial to address the failure of the Long Beach Citizen Police Complaint Commission (CPCC) to provide adequate public oversight of policing, as documented by community groups and the press over the past 30 years.

Established by a ballot initiative in 1990, the CPCC has no ability to gather evidence independently and until this year, has had no subpoena power. The city manager has the final say regardless of the findings of the commission. Even when the CPCC finds fault with an officer, 90% of the time the city manager dismisses the findings. Many members of the City Council and the mayor receive endorsements and donations to their election campaigns from the Long Beach Police Officer Association (LBPOA). These same politicians are tasked with appointing members of the public to the CPCC.

Long Beach Area Peace Network (LBAPN) members have been involved in police community relations since the mid 1980’s. LBAPN would support a civilian police oversight board with enhanced power. This would be a citizen review board whose mission is reviewing and improving police officer conduct.

The board must be independent from the city manager, reporting directly to the City Council. Members of the CPCC must be from impacted communities. The board must have their own independent budget. Further, there must be a budgeted staff of investigators, legal counsel, public relations and administrative personnel. The board must have subpoena power, which would mean the power to collect evidence and bring in witnesses and take testimony for sworn peace officers. The board’s finding must be binding on the Long Beach Police Department with no interference from city management. The board must be transparent and report to the public in a timely manner.

Because these above reforms may be impossible given the politics of the City of Long Beach, our organization would entertain an alternative reform. The reform would be to move this function to state level – for example, the attorney general of the state of California. Attorney General Bonta is already putting together teams and opening field offices to investigate police shootings.

This is a step in the right direction. There is money in the budget and if the political will is present, the state government could oversee all police conduct.

Marshall Blesofsky
Long Beach Area Peace Network

 

Parklets

Recently the Long Beach City Council announced an additional extension for the temporary Parklets through the end ofthe year.

Their decision prompted me to start thinking about the cost to the community for these temporary structures. Belmont Shore is home to 28 Parklets, which consume 128 parking spots. I called the City of Long Beach Public Works Department who provided the information to me in detail. Here then is the cost to the Belmont Shore community to host the 28 Parklets;

128 parking spots x 1.3 turnover rate=$166.40 x 10 hours = $1,664.00 lost parking x 7 days a week = $11,648.00 lost spaces x 4 weeks = $46,592.oo lost parking spaces a month. Yet another way to look at it is $45,592 in lost parking revenue a month!

Of the 28 parklets five are utilized on a minimal basis while the remaining 23 sit unused.

One would think our city officials would have this kind of data when voting to continue this program.

Opinion can be debated, facts cannot. What I have presented here are undisputable facts. It is time for the parklets to be removed from 2nd Street and parking returned to the Belmont Shore community.

Ode bee Jones

 

No Fishing

Have lived in LB close to 50 years now. I’m really looking for an answer how water gets into Simms pond? We have a great migration of ducks geese and shore birds that use the pond on their trek south. It’s is drying up right now with the start of the migration.

I remember when Simms Bait and tackle was at that corner. The other is the No Fishing sign that has been put up in Colorado Lagoon by a city employee. The Lagoon is legal to fish but the sign scares off unknowing anglers. I have seen DFG officers at the Lagoon checking for fishing licenses and they confirmed it is a legal fishing spot.

Hard enough to get our youth out from behind a computer and outdoors; those signs are no help.

Tom Schlauch

 

Solar Panels

Growing up in California, I had the opportunity to experience the beautiful rain that the fall would bring along with its beautiful thunderstorms. Yes, it was a bit scary at times but those are the memories that I hold so dear in my heart about my childhood. I remember walking to school after a night of rain, the floor wet and the cool breeze. Long waves of rain are no longer seen here in California and that is because of the effects of climate change. It is not unusual to see consistent blackouts, wildfires and clouds of smoke here in the city.

Amid the climate crisis the world is facing, three big utility companies like PG&E are lobbying the California Public Utilities Commission to add a $56-$91 monthly solar penalty fee to solar consumers’ energy bills. This would make it much more expensive for people to be able to afford solar panels on their homes. This is wrong because solar energy can bring so many good benefits for the environment, the community and our wallets.

Californians are counting on the California Public Utilities Commission and Governor Newsom to support rooftop solar and stop the utility profit grab.

Carensi Sansores

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