|(July 17, 2019, 7:55 a.m.) -- Meeting at 2:30 p.m. on Monday July 15, the City Council's "Housing and Neighborhoods Committee" (Andrews, Supernaw, Austin) voted
Chair/Vice Mayor Andrews (without committee objection) cut public speakers' time to 90 seconds each. 17 speakers spoke in support, variously citing Ms. King's athletic and (with Title IX) legislative accomplishments as well as equity grounds as ways to inspire LB library users. Testimony in support came from LB's Century Club, individuals currently or previously associated with LB school or college athletic programs, members of LB's LGBTQ community and a statement read by LB School Board member Dr. Juan Benitez.
Five speakers opposed the proposed renaming, including individuals with current or past supportive connections to LB libraries. They unanimously praised Ms. King but said the process to rename the Main Libary for her [as advanced by 2nd dist. Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce] wasn't inclusive or transparent and had been done too swift for serious consideration. Former 3rd dist. Councilwoman Renee Simon (who spoke in opposition at the July 9 Council meeting) modified her position and proposed that the Committee eliminate "confusion" by renaming the facility the "Billie Jean King Long Beach Main Library."
[Scroll down for further.]
Following public testimony, Committee member Al Austin cited letters (previously submitted in the record) from various area elected officials and sports figures and said his office had received overwhelming support for the proposed renaming.
Committee member Daryl Supernaw said his office had likewise received "tons of support" including Supervisor Don Knabe and at one point asked staff to check if the maker of the July 9 Council motion (Pearce) had invited the Committee to suggest other names. [Staff didn't respond but the Council motion that Supernaw and the full Council had voted to advance to the Committee didn't include other names.] Councilman Austin subsequently made clear that the motion before the Committee was to recommend renaming the Main Libary the "Billie Jean King Main Library."
And after supportive comments by chair/Vice Mayor Dee Andrews, the Committee voted 3-0 to send that recommendation back to the City Council.
The new LB main library -- over 30% smaller than the previous Main Library and lacking its previous public auditorium (LBREPORT.com coverage here and here -- is scheduled to open on September 21 (a couple of months later than initially planned.) LB's new City Hall/Port HQ are set to open to the public on July 29.
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