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Ann Denison: Successfully Fought To Protect Portion Of El Dorado Park Open Space From Commercial Exploitation, Continued Working For Los Cerritos Wetlands And Other Environmental/Animal Advocacy Causes is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(Feb. 20, 2017, 11:40 a.m.) -- is saddened to report the passing of Ann Denison, a CSULB grad, retired Long Beach teacher and ELB resident who selflessly devoted countless hours (with Ann Cantrell and Billie Schaeffer) in successful fighting to prevent commercial exploitation of a portion of El Dorado Park open space (north of Wardlow Rd. near Glider Hill.) Ms. Denison continued working to protect the Los Cerritos wetlands from developer-propelled encroachment, supported animal advocacy causes and sought to prevent destruction of taxpayer-built housing, a pool, gymnasium and other facilities at LB's former Naval Station (today Pier T with a row of red cranes and a major container terminal.)

Photo above: Ms. Denison at a CSULB homecoming event. Photo from son Steve Denison's Facebook page

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Ms. Denison and her husband traveled extensively, and she had just landed in Florida from a trip to Cuba when she was stricken. Her passing came three years to the day of her husband's death.

In 1995, Ms. Denison, a friend of Ms. Schaeffer, began working with Ms. Cantrell to support "Save the Park by Sharing the Facts" in opposing a City Hall-pursued proposal to turn part of El Dorado Park north of Wardlow Rd. into a commercialized pay-to-play sports complex. Ms. Cantrell said Ms. Denison was "a dynamo" in collecting petition signatures (an advocacy effort, not initiative or recall) showing public opposition to City Hall's plan. Prior to the internet, emails and social networks, Ms. Denison and others had only faxes and xeroxed fliers against the full weight of City officialdom, and for their efforts sometimes found themselves sneered or smeared on the pages of the PressTelegram. When their verbal advocacy didn't persuade officialdom, the group filed suit and a Superior Court struck down City Hall's environmental review of project, after which a Council majority dropped the polarizing plan.

Before and after the "Save the Park" movement, Ms. Denison championed animal advocacy issues, protesting performances of the Ringling Bros/Barnum-Bailey circus in downtown Long Beach over its then-use of elephants (now ended.)

Ms. Denison joined in demonstrations against what she and others boldly labeled a "diesel death zone" in and around the Port of Long Beach. The blunt criticism was a game-changer, propelling political and policy changes that have brought cleaner operations to the Port.

Ms. Denison was an original board member of the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust and at her death was still on the board.

And she wasn't shy about speaking her mind at City Council and other public meetings in support of environmental causes. sends our condolences to Ms. Denison's son, Steve, and to her many friends. Long Beach is a better place thanks to her actions, completely selfless, without political aspirations or financial remuneration. If some type of memorial is planned for Ms. Denison, we hope it's held in El Dorado Park, perhaps near Glider Hill, the area that she and others preserved as open space parkland for us and our children.



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