Austin (Saying He Wants Evidence Of Public Support) Steers Council Committee Members Supernaw + Allen To Decline -- For Now -- To Recommend Richardson-Sought Naming Of NLB South St/Jaymills Green Space "Pressburg Parkway"
|(March 24, 2021, 7:10 p.m.) -- City Hall's newly created "Government, Personnel and Elections Oversight" Committee (chair Supernaw, vice chair Allen, member Austin) has declined to forward for Council approval without evidence of public support for the proposal by 9th dist. Councilman/Vice Mayor Rex Richardson to name the green space at South St,/.Jaymills Ave. the "Pressburg Parkway" to recognize years of community advocacy by Mr. Pressburg.
Mr. Pressburg now publishes North Long Beach News which (using a Facebook platform) has gained a sizable readership in NLB and beyond with its independent coverage of NLB events and curated coverage by other publications (including LBREPORT.com.) . .
The March 23, 2021 Committee agenda item included a Dec. 15, 2020 memo to the full Council from Vice Mayor Richardson praising Mr. Pressburg and his record...and Committee member Allen moved, and Supernaw seconded approval of the proposal.
But Committee member Austin balked, inquiring if there was additional community input in support of the action beyond Richardson's memo. (When he inquired, Austin could see none was agendized.) There were no additional written communications or public testimony in support at the mid-afternoon March 23 Committee meeting. Austin then contrasted a Committee meeting agendized letter signed by multiple individuals and groups that supported renaming the Long Beach Performing Arts Center as the "Beverly OíNeill Performing Arts Center."
Supernaw then backed away from the motion-to-approve that he'd just seconded, and launched into a policy discussion with Austin of overall City practices on naming City-owned facilities for living (as opposed to deceased) individuals.
Austin ultimately made a substitute motion to await evidence of public support for the Pressburg Parkway item. Supernaw seconded Austin's substitute motion and the Committee voted 3-0 not to recommend the item for Council approval for now without evidence of public support. It left unclear on what timeline and by what process that would occur AND left unclear what actions it might also take to possibly amend current City practices on proposals to name City facilities.
On December 15, 2020, Vice Chair Richardson initiated his proposal to name the green space for Mr. Pressburg by agendizing a memo praising Mr. Pressburg's record along with a PPT displaying photos of the site. On that basis, the Council voted 9-0 to forward the proposal to the Parks and Rec. Commission and Housing and Neighborhoods Committee for recommended Council action.
In early Jan. 2021, Mayor Garcia (with Council approval) eliminated several Council Committees including Housing and Neighborhoods, and gave a newly created "Government, Personnel and Elections Oversight Committee" chaired by Supernaw specific oversight on policies for naming city facilities.
Richardson's Dec. 2020 memo to the full Council (attached for the March 2021 Committee meeting) stated in pertinent part: .
Dan Pressburg has lived in the Deforest Park Neighborhood for more than 35 years and is a respected pillar in the Uptown Community. As such, his charitable acts and knowledge of Long Beach's history are invaluable to all who meet him. Pressburg's leadership is vast, as his work has supported neighborhood beautification, enhanced civic engagement, and fostered community. Every year, Pressburg provides Long Beach families with turkeys and rescued trees for the holidays. His innovative spirit of giving was also lauded by Neighborhoods USA (NUSA), receiving two national titles for the "One-Day Christmas Store." The One Day Christmas Store, shopping with dignity, provided gifts for people in Long Beach who would not have otherwise had Christmas at all. In its 9-year run, the store serviced over 30,000 people. He received a third title for his "Back to the Future the North Long Beach History Project," a historic documentary record of the development, projects to be designed, and recording of Atlantic Blvd. This effort was awarded the first NUSA Award in 2008. He has also helped establish parts of the narration for the Long Beach Marathon, Downtown Walking Tours, and as a Docent at Rancho Los Cerritos
From time to time, Mr. Pressburg has also pushed reluctant City Hall officialdom to take actions they'd tried to avoid. In 2005, he and other civic activists created "Better Balance for Long Beach," a grassroots group that at the time included Val Lerch, Jane Kelleher, Annie Greenfeld and others, that embarrassed City officialdom by holding public picnics in crime-ridden drug-infested 14th St. Park to show solidarity with its neighborhood residents that City Hall had mainly ignored. Mortified City Hall officials woke up, and amenities and a major clean up of the area followed. (Better Balance was also instrumental in organizing and presenting the One Day Christmas store referenced in Richardson's Dec. 2020 memo.)
The Parks Rec Commission Jan 21, 2021 agenda included a memo that discussed policies for naming City owned facilities.
[Text from Jan. 21, 2021 Parks/Rec agenda item] The Cityís Policy and Process for Naming of City owned Land, Buildings, and Facilities
What's next? At this point it's not clear politically what might become of the Pressburg item. Even if accompanied by a large show of public support, Committee members might first choose to revisit current City practices on namings, a potentially lengthy process. During that process, some might move to amend current City policies in ways that might or might not stymie naming the location for Mr. Pressburg. (All three Committee members are safely reelected until 2024.)
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