Letters to the Editor

Cell Tower Nixed

Moira Hahn and Mark Hotchkiss should get the Medal of Honor for what they have been through and accomplished. [Bits ‘n’ Pieces March 24] The telecommunications industry has become pure evil putting profits over human lives. This is no small accomplishment. The industry will do everything to destroy these efforts and get bad publicity.

Few know that the commercial liability insurance industry will not insure wireless technology for harm from exposure to electromagnetic frequencies. They have done their research and understand the tsunami of lawsuits that are coming their way for what many scientists now call “assault and battery” from this technology.

David Morrison

 

Non-Transparent City

So now we have this behemoth of a City Hall, all glass, supposedly to symbolize the “transparency” of our city government. Well, I guess someone must have pulled down the shades. There is no light shining through those windows, and this city government is anything but transparent. This shouldn’t be a surprise when one of the first things our newly-elected Mayor Rex Richardson did was to decide he needed more staff, and then bury his proposal to hire “deputy mayors” in a seemingly unrelated budget item at a council meeting in hopes of avoiding public scrutiny.

When it comes to the homelessness crisis in Long Beach, Richardson has been similarly secretive. We the public have never been informed as to what was already happening at the winter shelter in Community Hospital: the plumbing and sewage issues, the lack of hot water and showers, the brown water issuing from drinking fountains, the need for outdoor Porta-Potties (in the middle of a series of rainstorms), the death resulting from an overdose of Fentanyl, the outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent ban on anyone returning to the site after leaving it, and on and on. We would not permit an animal shelter to operate under these circumstances, yet we are “housing” human beings in these filthy and inhumane conditions.

And now the new mayor has taken to holding invitation-only meetings concerning the homelessness crisis, with no – or very limited – press allowed to attend. I called the mayor’s office to inquire about this practice and was informed by the “community engagement deputy” that these events are called “focus groups,” a convenient euphemism for non-inclusive secret meetings. Though they are held by public officials in public venues, only members of specific groups are invited (or allowed) to attend, excluding citizens who don’t fit the target demographic for that particular meeting.

These meetings are performative, giving the mayor and city the appearance of caring about the homeless – and the appearance of caring about engaging with the public – for the selfish political purpose of promoting a certain image with the least possible resistance: it’s all show and no go. It seems a rather obvious way of controlling the narrative (and possibly creating multiple narratives when advantageous) by keeping the groups small and separate, with no public input beyond the target group, presumably no contact between the groups, and no documentation by the press.

I haven’t noticed opposition to this secrecy from any of our City Council members, nor from City Manager Tom Modica, proving their complicity in this crusade of smoke and mirrors.

Interestingly, this secrecy campaign regarding the homelessness crisis began as a result of the city’s embarrassment by the well-deserved public outrage at the proposal for the gym at Silverado Park to be converted into a winter shelter. Since they can’t pour hot oil on the public anymore, they are instead restricting public participation and engagement.

What is going on here? Why the secrecy? What is being hidden? Of course, it also begs the question: what else is being done, or not done, behind the dark blinds of our “transparent” City Hall?

Citizens of Long Beach, let’s roll up the shades!

Merry Colvin

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