|(December 27, 2020, 3:20 p.m.) -- On December 26, 2020, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia (passed over by President-elect Biden for a cabinet position and by Gov. Gavin Newsom for a U.S. Senate appointment) wrote that he'd "been thinking a lot about the over 330,000 Americans that have died and the tens of thousands more that we are likely to lose before this is all over. The United States must build a national remembrance memorial. And Iím looking forward to helping anyway I can."
What Garcia omitted from his Dec. 26 Tweet (inviting readers to attribute the idea to him) was that on Dec. 8, NPR published a story detailing in positive terms the concept of a national COVID-19 memorial
And the NPR story omitted something else: on July 16, 2020, Congressman Adriano Espaillat [D, NY) 3ntroduced HR 7629 proposing to create a Commission to examine the possibility of creating a National COVID-19 memorial in the Bronx, New York. (House Dem leadership referred HR 7629 to the House Committee on Natural Resources.which sent it to its Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands; it held no hearings on the bill meaning it will die when the current Congress ends in January 2021.)
HR 7629, dubbed the "COVID-19 National Memorial Act".proposed to create a 15 member Commission (including the Nat'l Park Service Director and 14 members chosen by the Secretary [presumably Secretary of the Interior.].to within three years submit "a report containing recommendations for the planning, design, construction, and long-term management of a permanent memorial and the boundaries of the memorial site..."
But there's no reason why other proposals -- on a COVID-19 memorial's location and how to implement the concept -- have to follow that model. Other proposals could be very different.
The idea (given mainstream momentum by NPR) could easily advance in the new Congress or elsewhere. With his Dec. 26, Tweet, Mayor Garcia has quietly positioned himself to advance the idea further.
Mayor Garcia is already a prominent media presence in national coverage of COVID-19, with outlets frequently noting that his mother and step-father perished from COVID-19.
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Garcia has previously sought to attach himself to high visibility issues advanced by others. In late June 2020, Garcia Tweeted his desire to join a group of eleven U.S. Mayors (including L.A., Stockton and Atlanta) in supporting a "guaranteed income" ("universal basic income" or "UBI.") Since LB's Mayor has no policy setting authority, Garcia agendied the item to have the City Council support the idea, which it did (9-0) on Sept. 1, 2020. (The Council voted to ask the City Attorney to draft a Council resolution supporting the universal basic income initiative established by the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, as well as federal and state efforts to support residents disadvantaged by the COVID-19 pandemic" and ask the "City Manager to seek grants and private foundation support to fund the pilot and to bring back specific grant approval to City Council" and " report back to the City Council on progress of pilot development.")
[Side note: On November 3, 2020 Stockton voters voted out their Mayor who proposed "universal basic income."]
Other Garcia proposals included publicly Tweeting an offer of a downtown Long Beach location for a George Lucas museum (Mr, Lucas chose downtown LA) and (although independent sources decline to confirm details on the record) in offering a downtown LB location for a new Angels stadium (the Angels remained in Anaheim.). Both proposals generated major media attention although neither of them were publicly discussed or approved by LB's policy setting City Council.
Following his April 2009 City Council election, Garcia held a high visibility press event (January 28, 2020) to rename part of Oregon Ave. "West Coast Choppers Place" (next to a motorcycle business owned by Jesse James, then married to Hollywood actress Sandra Bullock.)
When the James-Bullock marriage ended, the street was quietly restored to Oregon Ave,
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