Letters to the Editor

Streets of Shame

Our street has been patched many times over the last 24 years and never resurfaced: “00” block of East Platt Street in North Long Beach,

The potholes have been reported month-after-month and year-after-year.

We have decided to move out and find a neighborhood where we can have a smooth ride home.

Stephen Sandoval

 

Senior Gas Bill Relief

“The Long Beach Utilities Department is here to help, and we suggest contacting them at 562-570-5700 to determine your options.” So goes the word from Fifth District Councilwoman Megan Kerr in an online constituent letter about the possibility of seniors getting a break on their currently significantly increased gas bill.

Let’s examine the reality.

There’s really no such thing as calling that number. First two times, after enduring various self-serving recordings, a recorded male voice told me there are too many calls, try calling later. When? Who knows? Goodbye.

Finally, I got up early to try calling 562-570-5700 in the morning. After more than a few messages about reading your gas bill to see why it’s so high, I got through. After I pressed 7 to speak to a person, I listened to the same message I heard when the phone picked up. I was told there are two calls ahead of you, but “your call is very important to us”. It wasn’t that important when I called yesterday and was told to call back later.

Then came the messages, over and over again, one about how great the parks department is and how some web site is going to be developed. Other numbers with high call volume ask you to punch in your phone number and they’ll call you back. Maybe the utility department which “is here to help” should consider that 21st century development in customer convenience.

About 20 minutes later, a rep came on the line.

I asked about the senior discount, learned that they’d send me an application for a discount, no online application, it must be sent through U.S. mail, the same system that prevailed a century ago.

What are my chances of using that discount for this month’s budget-busting bill as Kerr’s letter implied? The rep was very polite in telling me the application must be approved by higher authorities after it’s routed to and fro by the post office.

In other words, on what planet would the utility company even consider doing such a thing? Certainly, not on the planet called Long Beach.

Name Withheld

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