(April 2, 2004) -- It was embarrassing when someone at the Long Beach Press-Telegram's echo web site, www.presstelegram.com, erroneously headlined a story today on LB public figure Bea Antenore as "Bea Antenore, activist, dead at 80" atop text that accurately reported Ms. Antenore will "mark her 80th birthday today."
The PT fixed it by early morning but the story deserves more than a laugh line in Tim Grobaty's next column.
The real story is that the PT failed to tell its readers that Ms. Antenore played a high visibility role in one of the biggest controversies to hit LB in recent years. She backed City Hall's now-discarded plan to build a commercial "sports complex" in El Dorado Park.
"The subject never came up," Ms. Antenore told us of her conversation with the PT. "I don't know why."
We share Ms. Antenore's puzzlement. City Hall's plan to put a commercial Sports Complex in El Dorado Park was one of the biggest controversies to hit LB in recent years. It motivated Ann Cantrell to lead a movement that resulted in and over 20,000 LB residents signing "Save the Park" petitions to protect LB park land from commercial development. When City Hall effectively dared Ms. Cantrell to sue them over El Dorado Park, she did...and won.
Ms. Antenore isn't afraid to speak her mind about the Sports Complex controversy now. "I believe it should have been built in El Dorado Park," she told us this morning. "We had $6 million [in County park bond money] that could have been used, it was desperately needed, and it could have making money for the city and provided recreation for youth."
Following the controversy, Mayor O'Neill named Ms. Antenore -- not Ms. Cantrell or Save the Park advocates -- to City Hall's Recreation Commission. We considered the Mayor's action (which was approved by the City Council) a divisive snub of Ms. Cantrell and other community members likeminded.
We respect Ms. Antenore's viewpoint...which is why we reported it even though we disagree with it. We happen to believe history has proven Ms. Cantrell right. We feel so strongly about this that we have advocated naming part of El Dorado Park in Ms. Cantrell's honor (June, 2003: Editorial/Photo Essay: Cantrell Park).
For the record, Ms. Antenore (and the other members of the Recreation Commission) have publicly backed a Charter Amendment (first advocated by Ms. Cantrell) that would prevent future non-recreational use of park land. Ms. Antenore says the El Dorado Park commercial sports complex was different because it was for recreational purposes...an assertion that makes Ms. Cantrell's head spin.
Ms. Antenore told us, "It would have been a money maker would have given impetus to lots of things happening. The [alternate sports complex site at Spring near Orange] is costing a fortune in time and efforts...and who knows if I'll be alive when built."
We hope you'll be at the ribbon cutting, Ms. Antenore. Happy birthday.