|(Dec. 11, 2017, 10:25 a.m.) -- LBREPORT.com expresses our appreciation, and urges residents to do likewise, to a number of Long Beach residents who made tonight's (Dec. 11) special Planning Commission LUE meeting possible by making it impossible to ignore the LUE's serious density ramifications.|
|Tonight's meeting wasn't supposed to happen. The issue was supposed to be put to sleep months ago while LB residents slept. Instead, some residents did what responsible concerned citizens should do and in some cases had to do. Their actions woke the town and ignited the largest Long Beach grassroots citywide uprising in the past 25 years.
In February 2017, the LUE with accompanying density increase maps and a decades-long programmatic EIR had already reached the Planning Commission, one vote away from a voted recommendation to the City Council. A number of Wrigley residents, including Mauna Eichner and Lee Fukui testified in opposition to proposed density grounds and derailed the LUE/EIR timeline. Thank you, Ms. Eichner, Mr. Fukui and your neighbors.
The Planning Commission then held an April study session that discussed allocating greater density eastward. 5th district resident Corliss Lee attended that study session, heard what taking place and in late April tried to alert her neighbors and her current Council representaive, Stacy Mungo, to the advancing LUE. Incumbent Mungo denied and publicly disparaged Ms. Lee's accurate information. (LBREPORT.com coverage with audio here.) That experience led Ms. Lee to create a grassroots neighborhood group, The Eastside Voice and enter the April 2018 election to replace Mungo. Thank you, Ms. Lee.
Ms. Lee alerted Robert Fox who had revived LB's grassroots Council of Neighborhood Organizations (CONO.) A veteran of 1980's battles against "crackerbox" apartment density that damaged several neighborhoods, Mr. Fox immediately grasped the LUE's significance and alerted leaders of multiple neighborhood organizations. Joe and Linda Sopo (Neighborhoods First) and retired 8th dist. Councilwoman Rae Gabelich (LBHUSH2) amplified the message. On Aug. 17, residents from multiple neighborhoods showed up in numbers when the Planning Commission was set to send the density-increase maps to the City Council. Their intense opposition prompted the Planning Commission and ultimately led Mayor Garcia to recommend further public outreach.
City staff responded by scheduling four "workshops" with "information stations" instead of allowing "Town Hall" type public input. On Sept. 30, Mr. Fox risked arrest (and says he withdrew enough cash from his bank account to cover bail) and he and his supporters took over the first "workshop," creating a de facto Town Hall that let the public speak and invited city staff to respond. When Mr. Fox warned he'd do it again at the subsequent meetings, staff city allowed Town Hall style public meetings that drew hundreds people and led to current revisions in staff's proposed density maps. Thank you, Mr. Fox, CONO, Mr. Sopo and Ms. Gabelich.
At the same Aug. 17 Planning Commission meeting, 4th district resident Janet West publicly raised the issue of SB 35. A few weeks later in early September, Ms. West came to the City Council and used the period for public commenton non-agendized items [since no Councilmembers had agendized the issue] to try and alert the Council to SB 35. To date, City Hall still hasn't seriously addressed the impacts of SB 35 and other 2017 Sac'to land use bills on the LUE (LBREPORT com coverage here) but Ms. Lee has put the issue on the public's radar where it can't be downplayed or ignored except to the City's peril. Thank you, Ms. West.
A few have reacted to principled neighborhood residents who raised ad factum issues on the merits by hurling hate filled ad hominem attacks laced with age-baiting and race-baiting. In our opinion, such attacks are beneath the level of a great city, discrediting those who find it acceptable and distracting from serious discussion.
We commend LB's neighborhood and homeowner protective residents who've made our city better prepared to deal seriously with the LUE and its proposed density impacts. They deserve citywide appreciation and respect for what they've done to date, with much left to do in the crucial months ahead.
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