|(Oct. 16, 2017, 6:45 a.m. add'l text included 8:28 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.) -- An estimated nearly 600 people (source: hotel staff said room capacity was 600 and room was nearly full at event start) showed up, and as at two previous events (Wrigley-WLB and ELB) speakers and written-comment cards voiced overwhelmingly anti-density views at Saturday's (Oct. 14) city staff presented workshop (Town Hall plus individual information stations) on staff's proposed Land Use Element density increases.
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City staff acknowledged during the meeting that it isn't recording audio or video of the meetings, leaving decision-making Councilmembers who didn't attend to rely on city staff's version of events or third party media coverage. LBREPORT.com and CONO's "Say No To The Land Use Element" Facebook page are to our knowledge the only sources that captured and now provide extended, unfiltered record of what the public said, how they said it, and how city staff responded.
LBREPORT.com's extended audio (nearly two and a half hours, 340 MB) is provided instead of video to reduce file size and download times (although it may still be lengthy for some.) The audio is from LBREPORT.com video plus cellphone video captured and streamed live by CONO's Nick Rose (on mike comments on cellphone video are by Mr. Rose.) "Whoosh" sounds inserted by LBREPORT.com indicate some audio portions missed. Introductory staff presentation omitted as it paralleled
Multiple public speakers made pointed comments and tossed barbed questions (on mike and submitted on cards) to Planning Bureau Manager Linda Tatum and Planning Officer Carrie Tai.
Speakers at the event, held at SE LB's Golden Sails Hotel on PCH, included Robert Fox, Exec. Dir. of LB's grassroots Council of Neighborhood Organizations (CONO), Warren Blesofsky (LB Citizens for Fair Development(Mr. Blesofsky: "There's only one place for the maps, and it's in the trash can.") ) [1:58:14], Corliss Lee (Eastside Voice, noted that Councilwoman Mungo had shouted her down in late April when Ms. Lee tried to accurately describe then-pending Plaza area height increases) [1:22:45], Louise Ivers (2nd dist. resident, former member Cultural Heritage Commission, said North Alamitos Beach "is scheduled for almost complete destruction" by developers under proposed density increases, cited examples) [44:50], Joe Sopo (Neighborhoods First) [1:05:22], Ann Cantrell [48:59] and retired 3rd dist. Councilwoman Jan Hall [23:19].
Ms. Hall, interrupted frequently by applause, received a standing ovation after testifying that Long Beach can't add the density increases proposed without damaging qualities that brought people here. "When we increase density, that increases certain other challenges, so the Land Use Element can't be discussed on its own," she said, citing examples. Ms. Hall continued: "[W]e have a very built out city...a city where people not only want to live but can live easily and enjoy the city that they picked" and as a mother of four, "when I went to the grocery store, I couldn't use a bike." She said LB residents aren't NIMBYs: "I think the people in the city of Long Beach are looking around and saying you know what? How much can be do...for the people that live here, for the peopole that want to live by the water, we're out of space...[s]taff needs to really carefully think how much more can we do for the government, for the state, for the federal government, and for the city of Long Beach. I think we're very close to max." [standing ovation]
Others voiced views similarly opposed to the proposed density increases. Laura Sellmer voiced dismay that staff wasn't recording the meeting and wondered how staff could accurately convey the level of outrage expressed by residents.
City staffer Tatum responded that: "We hear your fedback, but your [the public's] feedback will not necessarily dictate that all of the feedback that your providing to staff will necessary be reflected as changes on the map...We are obligated to take in consideraton a number of factors. We take into acount your fedback. We take into consideration the fact that we have to plan for those 18,000 additional residents. We have to take into effect the charcter of the community...and then we make a recommendation to the Planning Commission."
"I think the people here are really outraged by this plan," Ms. Sellmer said, seeking staff's commitment to communicate this to the Planning Commission. "Thank you for your feedback," Ms. Tatum replied.
As at the Oct. 4 Whaley Park meeting, one Mayoral/Council appointee (Coby Skye/"Sustainable City Comm'n") [39:30] asked staff a question eliciting a supportive response, inquiring how the LUE could promote sustainability. Later in the proceeding, a young woman (7th dist. resident) said the majority of Long Beach residents are people of color, under 45, in households making less than $55,000 annually and.said they weren't represented in the room while she is for "density with affordability, integretion not segregation," adding "Yes in my backyard."
Incumbent 3rd dist. Councilwoman Suzie Price didn't attend the event in her district (an office staffer was visible.) 4th dist. Councilman Daryl Supernaw was present, didn't speak, but remained for the entire meeting to hear what the public said. (The meeting started roughly 25 minutes late, ran about three hours in its entirety including a staff PPT opening (omitted on audio above since it paralleled staff's Oct. 4 PPT presentation at Whaley Park with LBREPORT.com coverage here.)
Councilwoman Stacy Mungo spoke briefly at the opening, said the Council would make the final decision and appeared to exit shortly thereafter (leaving unclear to what extent she remained to hear what the public said.) Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce was visible during part of the public testimony. Neither Mayor Garcia nor six of LB's nine Councilmembers -- Gonzalez, Price, Andrews, Uranga, Austin, Richardson -- attended the first three meetings that have drawn some of the largest crowds in recent LB history to express dissatisfaction with a city staff proposed action that Councilmembers will ultimately decide.
The fourth and final city staff workshop is scheduled for Wednesday night, Oct. 18 (6-8 p.m.) at Scherer Park (Atlantic at Del Amo.), details here.
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