Long Beach's 2018

By: 
Steve Propes

January

Since the legalization of medical marijuana sales in Long Beach, several dispensaries opened up. By August, medical marijuana shops were allowed to sell recreational “adult use” marijuana. All dispensaries are legally capped at 32.

February

About 50 and 60 Lakewood Village residents attended a meeting held by Parkview Village management at which village owner Ben Efraim presented a plan to expand under the proposed Land Use Element (LUE) with condos, perhaps for senior citizens and parking garages. Met with skepticism by residents in the room, Efraim presented a take it or leave it proposal, as “change is inevitable. What would you like to see? A two-story parking structure or two-story townhomes?”

March

With the confirmation of an active earthquake fault under Community Medical Center Long Beach, a lease termination notice was filed to the City of Long Beach, which owns the land and facilities, meaning the closure of that facility, whether long term or short term is unknown.

The LUE measure passed by the City Council did not allow the several hundred condos proposed for Parkview Village at Carson and Bellflower.

April

After losing the fight to bring international flights and a customs facility to the Long Beach Airport, principal tenant JetBlue announced “enhancements” that would cut back local flights and bring more passenger action to the Ontario airport. According to the JetBlue press release, the plan is “refining its Long Beach, Calif. schedule to better meet the needs of the market.”

May

One month before his 90th birthday, Belmont Shore resident and former California governor from 1983 to 1991, George Deukmejian Jr. passed away. A well-attended two-hour public memorial service was held at the Long Beach Terrace Theater on June 9.

A petition drive to put a rent control ordinance on the November ballot was initiated by Housing Long Beach (HLB).“Long Beach has largest percentage of renters on the west coast,” said an HLB spokesman. In July, HLB announced the petition drive was abandoned just weeks before a deadline to make the citywide election in 2020. In November, the statewide measure to ease rent controls was defeated.

June

The unthinkable happened on June 25. A fire alarm was triggered at a multi-story senior citizen’s building on Fourth Street in the early morning hours. When the  personnel from the Long Beach Fire Department responded, two firefighters were struck by gunfire. Transported to a local trauma center, Captain David Rosa, a 17-year veteran of the department passed away from his wounds. The suspect, 77-year-old Thomas Kim, a resident of the building was booked for murder, two counts of attempted murder and arson. The second firefighter hit by gunfire, Ernesto Torres was expected to make a full recovery. In early August, Thomas Kim died of a “pre-existing medical condition” while in custody and awaiting trial.

July

Incumbent Councilwoman Suzie Price defeated Gordana Kajer for the Third District seat. In the same election, Stacy Mungo beat back a challenge by former Harbor Commissioner Rich Dines to keep her Fifth District seat. Finally, the controversial Orange County Republican Janet Nguyen lost her state senator  seat to Democrat Tom Umberg.

August

A total of 28 ficus trees were removed from the sidewalks lining the eclectic businesses on Norse Way locations, part of a business corridor improvement program for which the city spent $450,000. Other areas in the program were sidewalk replacement, bulb-out crosswalks, trash can placement and tree replacement. The ficus removal was apparently in conjunction with the citywide ficus removal program from city streets.

September

The use of TigerText app, which erases messages by detectives assigned to narcotics, gangs, intelligence and homicide units and detectives who investigate officer involved shootings was exposed by the Beachcomber in cooperation with Al Jazeera and the ACLU, resulting in multiple official inquiries.

October

With CSULB President Jane Close Conoley stating, “the 1849 California gold rush was a time in history when the indigenous peoples of California endured subjugation, violence and threats of genocide,” the bronze statue of Forty-Niner Man, otherwise known as Prospector Pete, which served in the mascot role for the past 51-plus years, will be removed from the upper campus of CSULB, which is now looking for a new mascot.

November

Municipal Measure BBB which increased the number of terms for the mayor and city council members to three and eliminated the possibility of a write-in candidacy passed.

After over three decades in law enforcement, former Long Beach police chief and L.A. County Sheriff. Jim McDonnell was defeated in his re-election bid by former Sheriff Lieutenant Alex Villanueva, whom McDonnell out polled significantly in the June primary.

December

Long Beach has not had a local radio station since KKJZ moved from CSULB to Westwood, until now. In late in December, when the brand new KLBP-LP commenced beta operation at 99.1 FM.

steve@beachcomber.news

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