(June 10, 2001) -- LB Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal attended the June 9, 2001 LB "Town Hall Meeting" at the CSULB Pyramid as an observer. However we were interested to know his views on QW Bay.
Until December, 1998 he was the Councilman for the district where the project is located. During this period, he voted to approve City Hall's then-plans for QW Bay (some of which have since changed) and expressed his now-famous remark about what he viewed as its lack of a "wow" factor.
Assemblyman Lowenthal is now as a member of the state legislature that has ultimate control over tidelands grants to LB City Hall. The grants govern property that the people of California own and (through the legislature) let LB City Hall manage consistent with the grants' terms. Later this month, the State Lands Commission is expected to weigh in on what it thinks the legislature's grants are meant to let City Hall do on behalf of the public. The retail and entertainment portion of QW Bay sits on state tidelands property.
So, we asked Assemblymam Lowenthal:
LBReport.com: Do you think that the current plan for Queensway Bay that the city has is a good use for that tidelands property?
Assemblyman Lowenthal: I don't know anymore. You know, all along, there are two issues there. One is, is it the best use of the land, and two, if it is the best use of the land to have a development, is this the best kind of use that should be.
I had some real concerns early on about this being, not the first question committing that it was, that some kind of development would be appropriate for there, I had real questions about this development. And that was when I would always say, why would people go to this? There's no "wow."
LBReport.com: The "wow" factor. It was a famous quote.
Assemblyman Lowenthal: Yes, why would you go down to a movie theater? You know, it never struck me as that, having answered the first question, and I was there when we had to make sure that they had view corridors and that the Coastal Commission had enough open space in it.
But now I think that it's gone for so long that I don't even know whether the first question is appropriate. Given what is the overall plan. I thought we had a plan then, and I don't know anymore.
LBReport.com: What do you think? It's state property ultimately. You guys are the ones that...
Assemblyman Lownethal: But it is state trust but when it is state property there are certain rules and regulations by which the state does not make those land use decisions. It grants it to the trustee to make those given that if it's not in violation of the trust, the State Lands [Commission] can look at it...
LBReport.com: I'm not trying to go down that slot...
Assemblyman Lowenthal: Is it the best? Well, I think it's a good time to get everyone together to reassess, you know to look at it. It just seems that it's a different time, you know 2001 is a lot different than 1995-96 in terms of...
LBReport.com: So you'd recommend?
Assemblyman Lowenthal: I would want to bring everybody together to kind of look at it again.