Letters to the Editor

Say My Name

I am very disappointed in CSULB for changing their Graduation Ceremony for the Class of ‘22. [Graduation Limitations, 4/7 issue] These students have worked so hard for this very special ceremony. It is a moment in time that they deserve.

The 2022-2023 CSULB graduates have done everything right and will continue to make our world a better place. My heart goes out to them. I sincerely hope that CSULB will reconsider this new policy. It is heart-breaking.

Linda Busch


Hug a Tree

Having been unceremoniously gerrymandered out of the Fourth District and catapulted into the Third District’s never-never land of no response, I came across an email from the city councilor of my halcyon Fourth District days, Daryl Supernaw, concerning a 100-year-old pepper tree on Stearns Street.

Apparently, up until the year 2008 there were two of these trees; now there is one. Councilor Supernaw is working toward having this tree preserved and possibly historically designated.

I would like to thank the councilor for his attention to this amazing tree. From some perspectives, this focus on just one tree may not seem like much, but it is actually of great significance. A public demonstration of valuing and appreciating this tree, and by extension trees in general, is a vital first step in moving the cultural attitude in the direction of much-needed conservation.

Tree preservation is more important now than ever. Trees provide the oxygen necessary for us humans to survive. They cool us with their shade, and they clean the air. They prevent soil erosion and flooding. The reduction in our tree canopy is one of the most significant factors propelling us into climate change and fueling the dramatic and destructive new weather patterns we experienced this past winter.

Trees also provide a sense of place and feeling of well-being. Indeed, it has been shown in studies that those of us who live amongst trees live longer than those who don’t.

Trees also increase property values. Neighborhoods with trees are valued more highly and considered more desirable than those without, with the (now sadly disappearing) ideal of the “tree-lined street” being featured as a selling point in real estate listings.

To be fair, there are exceptions to this rule in Long Beach, such as the precious Belmont Shore, darling of the Third District, which despite a lack of trees maintains its high property values thanks to the charm of its proximity to the stagnant, sewage-filled ocean trapped by the breakwater.

I’d rather have trees, thank you.

And, thanks again to Councilor Supernaw, change can begin with one man and one pepper tree.

Happy Arbor Day on April 28. Hug a tree.

Merry Colvin



In another publication, I read with great interest the plight of a homeless person with mental issues. The story was told by a third party who is intimately involved. This account sheds light as to why this issue is never solved and only gets worse.

The story starts at a local Long Beach park where homeless people can be found living. As is typical, the homeless person in this story amasses piles of junk. The park is public and was built and maintained to be enjoyed by the surrounding neighborhood inhabitants including children. The piles were described as personal “decorations” in the story and celebrated as “special” by the storyteller. The piles were located behind the park’s cultural center that hosts after school programs for neighborhood children.

The homeless person was fed and cared for by local nonprofits and their providers.

The story goes on to say that one day the homeless individual disappeared along with her piles of belongings. This person routinely yelled at people if they came too close or tried to move anything out of the way in this public park built for the citizens in the neighborhood.

After a couple of weeks, the caretakers found out that the homeless person was arrested again and had been arrested more times in the past for vandalism and battery. The person was convicted in the past and served time. After release, probation was violated due to failure to report, so an arrest was made.

When crews cleaned up the individual’s piles at the park, they found drug paraphernalia. Does a life of drug use contribute to mental health problems?

The caregivers are frustrated because there is no treatment or housing for these people. The shelters are full, mental health services are beyond maxed out. The Long Beach Police Department recently reported that a motel purchased by the city where homeless have been placed had 167 calls for service in a matter of months, and publicly declared the site as a “crime den.”

38% of the 3300 homeless in Long Beach report being assaulted and 40% report serious mental illness. Do they use drugs too? The individual in this story will be back on the street again, and the cycle just continues endlessly with more coming to the area. The last reported homeless count saw a 62% increase in homelessness in Long Beach in 12 months. Politicians announce grand schemes of “100 days” to deal with this self-inflicted losing battle. LA’s new mayor announced a “state of emergency.” Does all this really matter when the obvious is never an option? Public safety and maintaining quality of life in the city is the number one job of your elected officials and your police department.

When assault and battery, trashing public spaces and parks, public drug use and illegal drug possession do not garner being removed and separated from the law-abiding public to keep citizens safe, the cycle will only continue with no end as you can see with your very own eyes. Many years have gone by with empty promises and zero meaningful results. The laws regarding involuntary detention have to be changed to have any effect on this problem.

Robert Van der Upwich


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