Letters to the Editor

Whaley Park

I was glad to see the July 14 story “Celebrating July 4, Thanks to Michele K.” She is very likable and honest. I wouldn’t buy a house from anyone but Michele K. She has been great at getting things done our neighborhoods. I thank her for it; New Jersey’s loss is our gain. I’m glad we have her in 90815.

Here I am 73 years later, thinking about my days in the fall of 1951 when the section along Chatwin Avenue at Whaley Park was bare ground.

The neighbors across from the park had been complaining about the wind blowing soil into their homes [due to] Santa Ana-type winds. Finally, the city decided to do something about it. I’m sure that Mr. Whaley – who donated the property to the city –wanted something done.

We [Parks Department employees] were sitting in the lunchroom when Mr. Barker, superintendent of parks, said “Fellows, rest up over the weekend because Monday we will be building a new section of Whaley Park.”

The employees were there at 7:30 a.m. [as well as] a big rack truck full of equipment. There was a lot of galvanized pipe – no plastic then. We had one Ford skip loader and a Ditch Witch for trenching water lines. There were no sprinkler heads – only Rain Birds that could shoot water about 30 feet.

The tractor kept breaking down. We had to level the soil by hand. Mr. Barker said the trees will be here at 6 a.m. on Thursday from the city nursery on Santa Fe Avenue. Several trees from the original planting are now gone because of storms and dying.

The park was seeded on Friday. It took 15 people to complete it by late Friday. On Saturday a couple of the guys came out and started watering the trees and grass seed. In a couple of weeks, it started coming up. Thank God.

My wife, who passed away in 2007, and I moved to Montair Avenue in Los Altos in 1955 and loved it here. I’m also lucky to be here at 94 years and to have great neighbors.

Paul R. Miranda

[“Semper Fi” Miranda worked at the Parks Department “all my life – a great job” and became a bureau manager.]

 

SEASP Is Useless

Remember SEASP/Southeast Area Specific Plan? This was the zoning plan which replaced SEADIP in 2021. The public’s main concerns were traffic and protection of the Los Cerritos Wetlands. The city’s goals were to increase housing and retail opportunities. There was much opposition to building 5-7 story buildings adjacent to the Los Cerritos Wetlands, but the Long Beach Planning Commission, Council and the CA Coastal Commission/CCC all approved both the zoning and the Program Environmental Impact Report/PEIR, with no mitigation for the increased traffic and little for wetlands.

There are currently three proposed large developments which will bring nearly 1,300 new housing units and more retail on PCH, south of 2nd St.

The first to be approved by Planning Commission and Council is 6700 PCH at Studebaker and Marina Dr. This is currently the Congressional office building, which will be demolished and replaced by 281 residential units, 3,100 square feet of commercial/retail space, an 86 1/2 ft. building with a 120 ft. elevator. The project has been appealed to the CCC by the Sierra Club Los Cerritos Wetlands Task Force/SCLCWTF and others.

Next is the current Marina Shores shopping mall, once home to Whole Foods and Mimi’s. The development is described as two, 5 story buildings with a total of 563,529 square feet containing 600 residential units and 4,000 square-feet of ground-level restaurant space. However plans show there are actually 6 buildings, connected by a walkway at the top level. This property was deemed as wetlands by the CCC in 1998 and contains a bioswale of wetlands plants as mitigation. The project was approved by Planning Commission and is being appealed to the Council by SCLCWTF.

The third project is at the south end of the Market place where 2 office buildings on PCH, next to the Pumpkin Patch, will be demolished and replaced with one 6 story, L-shaped building in an area designated for 3-5 story buildings by SEASP. For the 17 low-cost housing units, these incentives and waivers were granted by Planning:

1. Include one building in lieu of multiple buildings encouraged by the SEASP (incentive)

2. Exceed maximum height of 80 feet to 90 1/2 ft. (waiver)

3. Exceed the building height requirements along Pacific Coast Highway (limited to 5 stories) and Shopkeeper Road [limited to 3 stories, the first 30 feet) (waiver)

4. Allow six stories within the 30 feet adjacent to Shopkeeper Road fronting the wetlands (limited to 3 stories, the first 30 feet) (waiver)

5. Allow the project to include buildings at maximum height (waiver).

This project was approved by the Planning Commission and is being appealed to the Council by SCLCWTF.

These projects are all in a high-risk zone for public health and safety. They are 1500 feet from the Newport/Inglewood earthquake fault. The area is subject to sea level rise and liquefaction. The projects are within 3200 feet of active and expanding oil drilling operations. There are 2 large power plants and the world’s largest Lithium Battery storage nearby. The housing is primarily market rate, with few low-income units.

As bad as SEASP is, it is not even being followed for these projects. Traffic will increase with no mitigation and the Los Cerritos Wetlands will suffer from the increased height, density, lights, noise, human and pet use.

Ann Cantrell, co-chair, Sierra Club Los Cerritos Wetlands Task Force

 

Excessive Noise

We are suffering from the excessive noise of prolonged city-permitted events that are amplified so loudly that we often cannot stay in our homes. The current Pride Event is the most current example. We cannot open the doors and windows. We cannot talk or listen to TV and certainly not sleep. The bass noise often is so loud that it throbs our ears and bodies and causes prolonged discomfort over as many as 36 continuous waking hours.

Even though the California state says all residents are entitled to a peaceful home, and there are residential noise level regulations, the city exempts these special events from these noise regulations.

Our group comprises five degreed engineers, a former city finance manager, a professor from Cal State LA, a government and community affairs business executive and a former nurse – all representing 115 + others from multiple high rise buildings adjacent to the outdoor events venues near the Convention Center. Our buildings were built from the 1930s, 1960s and beyond. Many lack air conditioning or any insulation to block noise.

For seven years, our group of neighbors have been asking the city to manage the levels of amplified noise from outdoor special events. We have documented the noise levels and presented the information. We have petitioned the Planning Commission, City Council, the development staff, the Health Department, the mayors and the local assembly member. We have had two City Council members personally experience the distressing noise levels and one said it was giving her a headache and she couldn’t live with it. Yet the noise continues to be permitted at levels that cause us to flee our homes.

This week, we received the attached message from Pride Co-President Elsa Martinez that says we can call her for “immediate response.” Yet it’s curious that her phone mailbox in not set up and she doesn’t answer the phone. The main line mailbox is full. So, no one can reach them.

We have also called the LB special events hotline. But the noise is still painful and intrusive in our homes.

We have sent emails to our District 1 Councilmember Zendejas to fix this too. She has experienced the vibrations herself. Yet the noise is still allowed to exceed residential standards and assault us in our homes.

Rex Richardson says Long Beach wants to be a “tourist destination.” Well how about being a great residential area too that does not tolerate noise health hazards imposed on residents?

We think events that are managed effectively will be even more successful for visitors, residents and the city coffers. For concerned residents, who is responsible and in charge here in Long who will fix this now?

Dr. Linda Scholl
Downtown Long Beach Noise Committee Representative, Ocean Residents Community Association

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