Things We Need, Don’t Need in 2023

Steve Propes

Newly sworn-in Congressman Robert Garcia’s professorial trifecta, USC, LBCC and CSULB, co-founder of the Long Beach Post and interlocutor of Tim Grobaty at the Beverly O’Neill Theater in 2016. This month, Democrat Garcia had to cool his jets, waiting out the first Washington week with families and friends of many of his freshman class to be sworn-in while 15 grueling votes to elect a speaker took just over four days.

As part of 34 freshmen, Garcia was sworn-in early Saturday morning after the speaker crisis resolved, nixing his plans to give the oath atop totems of his life: a photo of his parents who died of COVID, his citizenship document and a first edition Superman on loan from the Library of Congress, which helped him learn a new language after immigration from Peru, the start of a DC learning curve, DC comics, that is.

Newly-installed Fifth District Councilwoman Megan Kerr might be advised to take a familiarization tour where Stearnlee Avenue narrows to the newly created park path head which ends abruptly in shambles of loose asphalt past the duck pond to the bike path. Suggestion: don’t wear heals.

Her predecessor had Parkcrest Street and the mostly unknown Osler Avenue repaved and re curbed ending up at Hanbury Street which got limited benefit, all of which could have used this dramatic dose of improvement. But the most egregious lack of follow-through was improving the pathway to Heartwell Park, while ignoring the broken-down asphalt path where skillful improvement intersected with neglect.

Among things not needed in the Fifth are the five $100,000 plus changeable message traffic signs that have not been in operation since they were installed in 2010 in anticipation of heavy residential traffic once Douglas Park opened. Lacking a residential component, there was no such need and commuters ignore these dodo-bird message boards.

Not that the electronics aren’t needed. Some advocate for lighting the duck pond section of Heartwell Park, where the control panel for the sign has already been replaced once after being hit by a motorist, causing a $18,000 cost of repair for an $111,671 sign that never blinked once.

Since 1992, a Lowenthal has held public office at the city, state or federal level. That dominance was challenged by the defeat of Bonnie Lowenthal and Suja Lowenthal, both of whom ran for mayor. When the progenitor Alan Lowenthal retired from Congress this month, this competitive role was taken by son Josh Lowenthal who was elected to the State Assembly. His only known previous public service was city cable commissioner, a role made irrelevant when the state overrode the idea of local control over cable operations. This was during the honeymoon of Gov. Schwarzenegger and Fabian Nunez, who enjoyed golf weekends financed by Verizon and then cancelled local control and public access at the Verizon building, which no longer uses that name since Verizon sold out to a troubled competitor, Frontier.

Frontier began charging a fee of $2.99 for paper bills to save threatened tree species or something like that. Hopefully, no other local utility will catch on to this plan of generating a monthly Vigorish of $3.16, charging a fee to a customer who needs the info to pay Frontier’s monthly charges, tax included. Of course, Vigorish isn’t the exact term here, the $3.16 is a set monthly amount, Vigorish would be a percentage based on the amount of the bill, which might well save even more endangered trees.

The most recent emergency broadcast radio for Alert Long Beach was CSULB campus-based KKJZ, which moved to Westwood in 2014. How a station 30 miles away could be expected to help with a local emergency is unknown. Or perhaps there was an unannounced change. There is no local emergency TV station for Long Beach, as the 42nd largest American city. We’ve never had one and local origination on cable doesn’t count. Radio? Except for low-power KLBP, there is no originating Long Beach radio. Receiving KLBP outside of downtown? Best of luck.

Speaking of moving on, the Angels will not be moving their stadium to the empty lot at Shoreline Village or to the neglected part of the yet-to-be named El Dorado Park as was the plan in 1963, when the team was interested, but city leaders insisted the team be named the Long Beach Angels, a deal killer. Maybe they’d have gone for Los Angeles Angels at Long Beach, a similar name Anaheim has had to live with. Empty lots have been in our collective memory when a Union Station edifice was proposed for Cherry Avenue to shuttle commuters in and out on trains in the 1930s. That major lot is now a western zone for the LGB airport.

JetBlue’s departure left LGB with Southwest as the anchor tenant, a seemingly great choice until the holiday meltdown last month, leaving cancelled flights throughout the system at a time when family meets ups meant the most. Now wave g’bye to American Airlines’ thrice daily service to Phoenix on Feb. 28. However, Southwest will continue with Phoenix service for locals who need to be there.

Stay tuned for the upcoming emergency declaration on the part of Mayor Rex Richardson to assist with the homeless, a very similar strategy to the L.A. Mayor Karen Bass’ earlier declaration.


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