Mid-Term 2023 Long Beach Review

Steve Propes

As we wave goodbye to the July-long heat dome that damaged our air-conditioning bills, we bid a not­-so-fond farewell to Congress, for the five-week period known as the August recess. But what a Congress it’s been. More than Mitch McConnell rehearsing his pose for the Statuary Hall, where just two and a half years previous, Stop the Steal demonstrators did their thing.

In the adjoining House of Representatives, post-2022 election activity was more apparent. Long Beach’s 42nd District Congressman Robert Garcia was a regular interviewee on MSNBC in contrast to his predecessor, long-time Congressman Alan Lowenthal, who rarely, if ever, opined on the several cable news networks.

As to Garcia, one of his most compelling causes is to shine a bright light on the misadventures of his Republican Congressional colleague George Santos of Long Island, which also has a Long Beach, south of Santos’ district. Ironically, Garcia’s website shows Garcia as “the first openly gay immigrant elected to the House” whereas Santos is described as “the first openly gay non-incumbent Republican to be elected in the House.” Both Congressmen hail from South America. U.S.-born Santos claims US-Brazilian citizenship, Garcia was born in Peru, however these entities have no other known conflicts with each other.

However, with a GOP majority in the house, Garcia’s proposal to eject a member of that party’s slim majority was deep sixed by the Speaker of the House, who sent it to committee, a waiting room for the next election. Would a Fox News slot for Santos after the next election and an eventual MSNBC commentary job for Garcia be surprising?

Garcia, a member of the House Oversight subcommittee on UFOs helped to uncover a somewhat suppressed, little known fact, that the military really calls these “objects” UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena). Whether or not a full-fledged UFO/UAP committee will be created with Garcia as a member, perhaps that universal federal office (UFO) might tour Area 51 to view the remains of saucers and their preserved operators.

With a UFO-style (“halo”) grill introduced in 1947, the same year that the UFO craze took hold, the "bullet nose" (or "spinner") front sheet metal design, the classic 1950s era Studebaker Champion was marketed when Studebaker Road in the far east of Long Beach was already in use. Now in desperate need of upcoming resurfacing, when the $38 million Studebaker Road project is completed, an appropriate convoy of classic Studies might be borrowed from a local Studebaker car club. Here’s hoping there won’t be a donut phase of the safari of Studebakers.

Speaking of road openings, the twin bridge scenic link between San Pedro and Long Beach is the Vincent Thomas into San Pedro and the newly opened replacement for the vintage Gerald Desmond bridge. Shame that the fun of the two-bridge journey will be postponed by Caltrans closing the Vincent Thomas – or at least limit lanes – in 2005 for road replacement. Would coordinating those the two projects been a difficult goal? And will there be donuts served at the finish line?

Speaking of donuts and street takeovers, that activity pales in comparison to concerns on Nextdoor over distressed pets and homelessness. A very recent posting about homeless encampments on the San Gabriel Riverbed asserted “looks like the police cleared out the homeless encampments along the riverbed between Carson Street and Wardlow. Anyone have the info in that?” A few posters did.

“Looks like some moved up on Los Coyotes and Carson and Willow.”

“They are still behind that storage area by Taco Bell on Norwalk and Ball.”

“I saw some of the vagrant cars in Heartwell parking lots after being gone for weeks.”

“They just moved to the streets along Spring and Willow and into the side of the Campfire Girls property.”

“And now the motor homes are all over Walmart parking lot by gas station.’

On the other side of town, the course of the L.A. River provides another problem, that of the 88 cities and towns in L.A. County that send their sewage or refuse down the banks of the waterway, resulting in the shoreline off-limits to swimmers and sunbathers. Every L.A. County city except Avalon contributes to the problem, and we’re not too sure about Avalon.

The trash from this as well as regular household and commercial activities needs to be picked up on a regular basis, however in Long Beach, that regular basis (trash day) has lately been delayed on account of not enough collectors on the job. In the most recent several months on the east side, a Wednesday trash day is often delayed to Thursday, just after the weekly street sweeping, cleverly timed to arrive after the trash is out and gone.

Ever had that didn’t order it, don’t want it, too dangerous, can’t return it, feeling? An item that can’t be trashed is the lithium battery pack gratuitously sent to fiber-optic landline customers by Frontier with the advisory that it’s needed to keep power on during an outage. Worried about the known dangers of a lithium fire, a customer contacted Frontier about returning it and was advised to give it away (a literal hot potato) or dispose of it in a proper way, that making an appointment to return it to Frontier would incur a $100 service visit charge.

Speaking of utilities, on June 20, Long Beach Utilities customers received an portentous email captioned “don’t risk a utility shutoff.” Turned out to be about the resumption of August 15 penalties for late payments, but a quick glance indicated a more immediate problem…you know, that scary word “shutoff.” The customer service phone line was overwhelmed that day, but the very accommodating rep said it was “sent out by mistake…don’t worry, no shut offs.” Oh, okay.

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