Doug Krikorian / Viewpoint

Krikorian Notes: From A Most Surreal Development That Has Me In A State Of Giddiness---Our Beloved Long Beach Actually Now Serious About Building A New Swimming Pool After Coastal Commission Approval And Strong Endorsements From Such Local Leaders As Mayor Robert Garcia and City Manager Tom Modica and Their Political Accomplices To Mike O'Toole Doing a Solo, He-Man Rowing Act On A 32-Foot Gondola Carolina Filled With 14 People Around Naples Canals To Jill Baker’s Typical Back-to-School Delaying Tactics To My Receiving My Periodic SAG-AFTRA Residuals From My Once Flourishing Acting Career That, Sadly, Went The Way Of My Once Flourishing Radio Career

Mr. Krikorian, an award winning journalist and author of two books, earned multiple awards in his 22 years of writing for the Long Beach Press-Telegram and 22 years for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. He is happily retired.

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No one in's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. 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. 17, 2021, 10:35 p.m.) -- I can dream, right?

I can hope, right?

I can be immersed in quixotic levels of delusions, right?

Our beloved Long Beach suddenly reversing course, suddenly determined to enhance its Aquatic Capital of America calling card by endorsing the Coastal Commission's long-sought approval---which blessedly came last week---of a project that that has been on hold since it started shortly after the 2013 shuttering of the famed Belmont Plaza Pool that during its 35-year existence staged Olympic Trials, NCAA and AAU championships, many, many international and national competitions as well as countless college conferences and CIF title meets?

Not the city that has a harrowing ancestral lineage of committing to historically money-losing ventures as the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific, the city that once rebuffed Gene Autry's attempt to build a baseball stadium here because he would not call his team the Long Beach Angels, the city that shooed away Jet Blue and Gulfstream and the nearly 900 jobs that went with their departures, the city that recently attached by a unanimous vote of the City Council a four dollar an hour ``heroes raise'' to certain workers in local supermarkets with more than 300 employees which resulted immediately in two supermarket closures that left hundreds of people suddenly unemployed.

When I see our often enigmatic mayor, Mr. Robert Garcia, and our notoriously low-key City Manager, Taciturn Tom Modica, come out and express the joyful virtues of such a dramatic undertaking, I become giddy with joy.

Certainly, this undertaking will be costly---$61.5 million in Tidelands Funds long have been committed to it and the final tab figures to be in the $80 million range---but the benefits to the community will be immeasurable.

Think of the thousands of youngsters that will be able to use it throughout the year---Mr. Modica has already revealed his plans to employ shuttle services to transport kids from 11 parks in low income areas in LB to the pool---and the many high school and colleges and even national swimming meets that can be staged there and that would be a certain boon to the local economy.

Think what the Belmont Beach Aquatic Center---that is its proposed name---will do for civic pride.

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I mean, I've never heard one person in our fair metropolis say how blessed we've been to have an ancient boat from England moored in our city hemorrhaging nothing but money year after cloying year and the same goes with a fish tank that also has never turned a profit.

Of course, no one is more gleeful about these latest developments than those whose lives have long been attached to swimming endeavors.

``I'm very, very excited about what has happened, and I hope things can progress,'' says Susie Atwood, a two-time Olympic medallist who competed in two Olympic Games. ``I'm optimistic that this is a dramatic step forward, and what has me so optimistic is that our local politicians also seem to be for it.''

Ms. Atwood retains fond memories of the old Belmont Plaza Pool as she remembers winning the 100 and 200 backstroke there in the national swimming championships.

``I'm keeping my fingers crossed it eventually will come to fruition,'' says the long-time owner of a successful State Farm agency in Naples.

Another person who evinces excitement about the subject and also has bright reminisces of the Belmont Plaza Pool is Kathy Drum, an Olympian who's now a swimming instructor.

``How can I ever forget the Belmont Plaza Pool?'' says Ms. Drum. ``It's where I qualified to participate in the 1976 Montreal Olympics in the 400 meter freestyle. It was a great pool, and I'm certainly hoping Long Beach builds another one that will be beneficial to so many people.''

Olympic swimmers Kathy Drum, Left, and Susie Atwood

It certainly will be beneficial to the City Hall legacies of Messrs. Robert Garcia and Tom Modica, whose City Hall legacies have been teetering on the precipice in recent times. . .

  • Another renowned nautical figure in town, the Naples Gondola Getaway owner & the Naples Improvement Association president-for-life, Big Mike O'Toole, also is closely scrutinizing what has been unfolding on the new pool front.

    Big Mike O’Toole set to row his 32 foot gondola Carolina

    ``It's taken a lot of turns, and figures to take a lot more,'' he says. ``A lot of things have to be approved before construction ever will start, and that figures to take time. How long? I have no idea I just know we started the process in 2013, and it's still an ongoing process. Certainly, I hope it goes through. It would be tremendous for the city.''

    Mr. O'Toole is in a glad mood these days because his Valentine weekend for Gondola Getaway turned out to be quite a success compared to a year ago when it rained for two days and only two gondola rides were completed during that time.

    ``I was fearful the winds would get us Saturday night, but they subsided and there were no cancellations,'' he said. ``And, except for a three-hour period, the wind held on Sunday, too, and we wound up having another good day.''

    Mr. O'Toole, who once sailed a 27-foot sail boat with a pal from Honolulu to Redondo Beach in a thrilling, if not frightening four-week journey, was so overjoyed Saturday night with his company's brisk business that he pulled out his biggest gondola from his Alamitos Bay dockyards---the 32-foot long, 7-foot wide, 14-passenger Carolina---and rowed 14 people around the Naples canals in an astonishing solo act of strength and artistry befitting a powerful gentleman with an old Papa Doc Duvalier president-for-life handle.

  • Now, apparently, Long Beach students up to the fifth grade won't be allowed in a schoolroom until March 29, when it recently was speculated widely it would be March 1 even though I never thought that would be the case.

    And now after the latest convoluted meeting of our local academic bunglers that featured teacher vaccination data and myriad other unconvincing evidence to keep our students immersed in their virtue on-line education that has become a joke, we're also told middle schools students won't be allowed to come back until April 20, high school seniors on April 19 and grades 9 to 11 on April 26.

    I swear my head is going to explode, and I knew all along that the $345,000 gal---that's what LBUSD superintendent Jill Baker has been earning since she took command last August for doing nothing more compelling than keeping kids from attending schools---might finally work up the courage and intelligence to return them to the school room immediately. No way that was going to happen.

    Don't those lunatics rendering these decisions realize they already have ruined an entire school year for the beleaguered students of Long Beach. . .

  • Wonder what the new District Attorney of Los Angeles Country, George Gascon, thinks as he looks across the street from his home and sees the beautiful, renovated Naples Academy schoolyard with its six basketball hoops and various monkey bars and swings permanently closed to the public after being open for 94 years.


    Can't Jill Baker use her vast power to have it open at least for weekends so fathers and mothers can take their kids there to play, as was a hallowed rite for so many for almost a century. If crime is such a worry, then can't Ms. Baker find the money to hire a security guard to patrol the grounds for a couple of days? I know where she can find a lot of money to make it happen. . .

  • The word in Boston is that the New England Patriots' illustrious coach, Bill Belichick, might bring back his abominable quarterback, Cam Newton. If he does, he will join Al Davis, Joe Paterno, Tom Landry, Don Shula, Bobby Bowden on the lengthy list of sporting legends who became sad caricatures of themselves in the winter of their lives. . .

  • Got one of my periodic SAG-AFTRA residuals the other day for my speaking part in an episode in the popular seven-year, HBO-produced Arliss TV series, starring my pal Robert Wuhl. It was a doozer, $4.58, but still, it exceeded the $1.10 I received for a full-screen ringside appearance I made in Director Ron Shelton's fight yarn, ``Playing It To The Bone'' that was headlined by Woody Harrelson and Antonio Banderas.

    Hey, don't laugh too hard, I once took home a 40 buck check for my speaking role in Shelton's ``Cobb'' with Tommy Lee Jones and Mr. Wuhl. Of course, I immediately went out and bought a couple of jugs of 40-rod. . .

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    Previously by Mr. Krikorian:
    Long-Time Belmont Shore Resident Dorcas Baldwin, 85, Endures Frightening Experience Of Homeless Man Breaking Into Her Bay Shore Avenue Home And Taking A Shower Before Long Beach Cops Come To The Rescue
    CIF Southern Section Commissioner Rob Wigod Hoping Gavin Newsom And His Health Department Toadies Come To Their Senses For Projected High School Sports Restart On March 19
    Terry Antonelli Orchestrating Rise Of L’Opera After Its Tragic Fall In The Great Long Beach Memorial Day Pillage & Plunder Festival
    Krikorian Notes: From Mayor Garcia's Spineless Speech To Jill Baker's Passing The Buck Alliance With Gavin Newsom To A Positive Long Beach Vaccination Experience To Welcoming New Neighbor George Gascon To Mike The Hammer Bludgeoning Me About Boxing To The Amazing Tom Brady
    The Memorable Life Of Tommy Lasorda: From World Series Titles To Slim-Fast Diets To Obscenity-Laced Jim Healy Tapes To Pitching To Jack Clark To A Sacred Legacy Of Laughter And Success On The Ball Yards Of America
    "A Lady Shrieking "Wear A Mask!" On Bay Shore Ave. Results In A Mask-Wearing Epiphany For Our Columnist
    A Christmas Tale Of Reflections And Remembrances
    A Christmas Tale Of Reflections And Remembrances" Krikorian Notes: From New LA County DA George Gascon Moving To Naples To LBUSD Superintendent Jill Baker Continuing To Stunt Growth Of 70,000 Students To Distress Of Locked Down LB Entrepreneurs Jeff Cozart, Mike Neufeld, John Sangmeister To LB’s Very Own Kato Kaelin, Steve Folger, Squiring Kelly Clarkson In Nashville
    Krikorian Notes: From Joe Jost Owner Ken Buck Sounding Off On The Lockdowns To Big Ben Goldberg's Boat Parade Party In Huntington Harbor To Bob Ludlam Departing LB For Prescott -- The Leisure World of Arizona -- To LB State President Jane Close Conoley Not Faintly Resembling Her Esteemed Predecessors To Mike (The Hammer) DiMarzo Invading Miami For Nightclub Frolic To LB State Women's Soccer Coach Mauricio Ingrassia Suddenly Looking Like A Matinee Idol
    When Is LBUSD Superintendent Jill Baker Going To End Her Calamitous Lockdown That Has Caused So Much Chaos And Heartache And Disruption Among 70,000 Students?
    Krikorian Notes: From Councilman Rex Richardson Displaying Courage To Show Up At A Long Beach Restaurant Association Meeting To The Countless Millions Lost On Unoccupied LB Buses To LB Health Czar Kelly Colopy’s Latest Mean-Spirited Edict To the Irritating Silence Of LB City Manager Tom Modica To LB Mayor Robert Garcia Ignoring His Constituents For Political Reasons To Bob The Black Labrador Parading Down The Peninsula Boardwalk Holding A Large Palm Limb In His Mouth
    How Many Long Beach Restaurants Will Be Forced to Close After Latest Lockdown Lunacy?
    Where's Krikorian? Temporarily On "Injured Reserve List" Recovering From Shoulder Replacement Surgery
    Krikorian Notes: From Nico's George Mlouk Praising LB Mayor Robert Garcia For Working To Help LB Restaurateurs To A Plea To LB Health Czar Kelly Colopy To Restrain Her Overzealous Sleuths To Lakers Deserving NBA Title To LeBron James Turning Anthony Davis Into Passionate Competitor To Vital Contributions Of Lakers Coach Frank Vogel And GM Rob Pelinka To Sadness Of Passing Of The Great Joe Morgan And Its Impact On Maury Wills' Hall Of Fame Chances
    Famous Long Beach Restaurateur Phil Trani Days Of Joyful Memories And Pandemic Miseries
    Krikorian Notes: From The Irritating Silence Of The Long Beach Politicians In Not Supporting Their Citizens To The Whereabouts Of LB Mayor Robert Garcia To The Whistles Favoring The Lakers Against The Nuggets To The Greatness of Patrick Mahomes To The End Of A European Vacation Streak That Started In 1989
    LBUSD Superintendent Jill Baker’s 70,000 Student Online Virtual Teaching Miscalculation A Disaster!
    Krikorian Notes: From The 9 Unworthies Of The LB City Council To The LB Upstick In Shootings And Speeding To Restauranteur John Morris Horseback Riding On A Wyoming Mountaintop To The Walking Adventures Of Earth Man
    Jeff Cozart's Time Of Torment: Will His Belmont Athletic Club Survive Gavin Newsom’s Latest Lockdown?
    Krikorian Notes: A Labor Day Elegy For Those In The Long Beach Business Community Who Were Violated In The Memorial Day Looting Frenzy To The Palm Tree Limbs Littering 2nd Street To The Scooters Littering The Belmont Shore Bridge To The Virtual On-Line Spectacle At Big Mike O'Toole's Household
    Krikorian Notes: From Long Beach Mayor's Ascent To Dem Stardom Because Of Lockstep Embrace Of The Party's Policies To The Enchanting Parklet Dining On 2nd Street To Tearing Down The Hoops in Belmont Shore To Greg Silver's LB Departure To Huntington Beach To Bob Rice Protecting Me From Isiah Robertson
    Don Kramer Was A Character Like No Other With His Zaniness, Goofiness, Joyfulness, Kindliness Who Left All Who Knew Him With Lasting Memories Of Slapstick Antics And Mirthful Anecdotes
    Krikorian Notes: From Majority Of LB Teachers Skipping Classrooms For The Comforts Of Home To Dr. Jill Baker Becoming Another Maria Montessori To Terry Antonelli Discussing Resurrection of L'Opera To Mayor Robert Garcia Touted By MSNBC's Brian Williams As A Future U.S. Senator To Kershaw's Magical Transformation
    Long Beach's Renaissance Man, Chuckie Miller, Reflects On His Entrepreneurial Life And On Racial Inequity
    Krikorian Notes: From LB's Elected Leadership's Reimagining Delusions To the Gaslamp's Outdoor Wall Video Band Show To The Ghastly USC Coach, Clay Helton
    FDR's Grandson, Delano Roosevelt, Talks Democratic Party, JetBlue, Long Beach And His Life
    LBPD Chief Robert Luna: Stand Up For Your Fifty Ousted Cops!
    What Next From Long Beach Health Boss Kelly Colopy, Hazmat Suits For Our Restaurant Servers?
    Sadly, Our National Pastime No Longer A Pastime For Me
    Parklets! Three Cheers For Long Beach Politicians!
    Memo To LBUSD Sup Jill Baker: Return The Kids To the Classroom!
    A 2 1/2-Hour Commute To Work A Joy To This 86-Year Old Gentleman
    Long Beach Politicians Once Again Fail Long Beach
    Is Long Beach Destined to Become the City That Never Sleeps?
    I Never Thought I'd Live To See These...
    Ben Goldberg Exits Long Beach, Now Nearby Refugee In OC
    Long Time Long Beach Resident Dave Lopez Climaxes Storied 48-Year TV Career
    From Krikorian's Notebook: When Will LB Police Chief Luna Come Clean About May 31 Downtown Long Beach Looting Frenzy?
    From Krikorian's Notebook: (1) LBUSD Mgm't Mulls Keeping K-5 Kids Indoors Without Normal Access To Playground, Cafeteria, Auditorium Activities; (2) And More...
    Will LB's New School Sup't Allocate Untimely Pay Raise To Serve Students?
    Awaiting Governor's Dictate To Decide Fate Of This Year's (July 3) "Big Bang On the Bay"
    Mayor/Council Sounds Of Silence After LB Cops Let Some Pillage Our Village
    Excuses By Long Beach Police & Politicians Dishearten Damaged LB Businesses
    Hallelujah! LB Mayor Pleads For Sac'to Permission To Lift Closures That Needn't Have Occurred
    Speak Up, Mr. Mayor, On Governor's Unwise Edicts. You Can Do That And You Should
    My Beloved Long Beach: A Victim Of Irrational Government Overreach Beyond Reasoned Response To Virus
    Support really independent news in Long Beach. No one in's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. is reader and advertiser supported. You can help keep really 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.

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