Support the LB businesses you see here:

Joe Sopo
Joe Sopo, Realtor has his pulse On LB. real estate. Click for info
Carter Wood Floor pic
Carter Wood Floors, a LB company, will restore your wood floor or install a new one. Enhance your home. Click pic.

Pollman's Insurance. Smarter Protection For Today's Risks. Click for info.

Lovelace pic
Bill Lovelace. LB DJ now has 21,000+ songs on computer for instant requests at your event! Click pic for more info.

Mike & Kathi Kowal
Mike & Kathi Kowal know Los Cerritos, Bixby Knolls, Cal Hts. and beyond. Click to learn more

NetKontent Digital Video Cutting Edge Services For The Internet, Broadcast and Multimedia. Click For Info

Ninos's Ristorante: A delicious treasure in Bixby Knolls. Click here if you're hungry or for catering!
3853 Atlantic Ave.

Your E-Mail
Click here

  • Neighborhood Groups/Meetings
  • How To Recall a LB Elected Official
  • Crime Data
  • City Council Agendas
  • Port of LB Agendas
  • E-Mail Your Council member
  • Council District Map
  • LB Parks, Recd & Marine
  • LB Schools
  • LB Airport Watchdog
  • Sacramento
  • Washington
  • References & Archives
  • Lost, Found & Adoptable Pets


    New North LBPD Facility Begins Initial Operations In Scherer Park As State Agency Asks About 55th Way Replacement Park Not Yet Built

    (Sept. 10, 2004) -- has learned that LB's new North LB Police Dept. facility -- located on part of Scherer Park land taken with a City Hall promise to provide a replacement park of over double the size on 55th Way -- has begun initial operations with staff moving in slowly and an official "grand opening" planned for mid-October.

    However, has also learned that the CA Department of Parks and Recreation (CA DPR) is currently considering LB City Hall's response to a bluntly worded letter from the state agency that sought answers from City Hall on a number of issues involving federal requirements for replacing park land, a matter administered by the state agency has learned that representatives of the U.S. National Park Service and CA DPR staff made an unannounced visit to the 55th Way replacement park site -- an abandoned industrial location -- which led to a subsequent exchange of correspondence between the state agency and the LB City Manager's office.

    In a June 15, 2004 letter to City Manager Jerry Miller, the CA DPR's Chief of the Office of Grants and Local Services, Charlie Willard, wrote in pertinent part:

    The police station at Scherer Park appears near completion; in contrast, the 55th Way replacement site is undeveloped...Prior to issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy and the start of police operations at the new station in Scherer Park, the replacement park must be improved to the point where it is open for public use and ADA accessible. The City of Long Beach was given an additional year to identify a property which could meet these requirements -- and by signing the grant agreement -- is legally bound to do so. has learned that a temporary Certificate of Occupancy has been issued by City Hall for the North LB police facility in Scherer Park. An official grand opening is currently planned for October 19, 2004.

    The CA Dept. of Parks & Rec June 15 letter also raised other issues. posts a copy of the letter verbatim on a link below.

    On behalf of the City of LB, City Manager Jerry Miller replied in a four page letter dated August 6 offering a point by point response...but not directly mentioning the Certificate of Occupancy issue. City Manager Miller wrote in pertinent part:

    The City continues to acknowledge its obligation to provide the replacement parkland...[As the City of LB has previously indicated] the timing considerations are substantially different than they were when the City accepted the conditions, and I have asked for your understanding of those issues. My commitment to providing the replacement parkland has not wavered as evidenced by formal site selection, a completed environment review..., an adopted budget with appropriate funding, designed improvements, or completion of a Partial Landfill Closure Plan and its subsequent approval from the appropriate regulatory agencies. I remain convinced that these past eighteen months have been more than a good faith effort and demonstrate the depths of the City's commitment to meeting its obligation...

    [intervening responses to other issues]

    ...I want to thank you and your staff for your diligent work and support of this project, and again request concurrence by the State that the City will not be penalized for its cautious and thorough approach in developing this site. Had the City taken any other approach, I would not have been able to ensure the safety and appropriateness of this site for is intended use a a replacement park. posts a copy of City Manager Miller's letter verbatim on a link below.

    A CA DPR spokesperson told that the state agency is currently evaluating LB City Hall's response. also invited City Manager Miller's office today (late in the day) to provide a response for us on the Certificate of Occupancy issue. Barely ninety minutes after we left a voice mail message with the City's Public Information Officer, Mr. Miller responded with the following email quote for inclusion in this article:

    "Public Safety is the Number 1 issue in Long Beach and I will not stand idly by without assigning the necessary resources to fight crime. We need officers to be deployed in the North Long Beach area and that is why we invested the time, energy and money to make this new resource available to the community," City Manager Miller told

    A LB Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Marine, Planning & Development Quarterly Report for projects as of May 2004 indicates the 55th Way Park is "Supported by N.L B Redevelopment Project and Environmental Protection Agency Grant" and its status is, "Plan completed for approval of landfill closure. The EIR was certified. Construction design under way. Completion -- summer 2005."

    The Scherer Park issue has became a federal and state matter because LB City Hall previously accepted federal funds for Scherer Park improvements. Under federal law, if parkland improved with federal tax money is subsequently used for other purposes, the grantee (in this case, City Hall) must replace the lost park land on a one-for-one basis and comply with federal requirements in doing so. The requirements are administered for the feds by the CA Department of Parks and Recreation.

    The issue first arose over three years ago during the heated controversy over City Hall's plan to take roughly 2.2 acres of Scherer Park at Atlantic Ave. and Del Amo Blvd. Park protection advocates, including "Friends of Scherer Park" led by Gigi Fast Elk Bannister and Reggie Bannister, decried the plan, but a number of prominent LB neighborhood activists in the vicinity backed the Scherer Park site.

    As approved by LB's Planning Commission and City Council, the use of the Scherer Park land included a requirement that one for one park land replacement be provided that has comparable characteristics and size, that it be located in the area that would allow for use by generally the same persons who use the existing park land that is being lost, and that the substitute park land shall be acquired and improvements funded prior to the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy for the new police facility.

    City Hall staff also announced plans to replace the 2.2 acres of Scherer Park land on a more than a "two for one" basis...with 5.83 gross acres at a currently abandoned industrial site on 55th Way. The two for one pledge was cited repeatedly during the Council debate on the Scherer Park plan...which was approved on an 8-1 vote.

    The Bannisters questioned whether City Hall's plans to replace the lost parkland met federal requirements...and also filed suit via Friends of Scherer Park (which they founded) with CA Earth Corps to halt the taking of the Scherer Park land (citing CEQA and other grounds). A lower court and Court of Appeal sided with City Hall.

    Meanwhile, the issue of taking park land for non-park uses -- which previously arose over City Hall plans to build an "Emergency Communications and Operations Center" in Stearns Park, abandoned amid public pressure -- had grown so contentious that 5th district Councilwoman (now Vice Mayor) Jackie Kell publicly vowed never to let it happen again. In 2001, she agendized, but then removed prior to its discussion, a proposal to put a Charter Amendment on the ballot to prevent future Councils from easily taking LB park land for non-park uses.

    In July 2002, City Hall's Planning Commission recommended two for one replacement of parkland taken for non-park purposes...and urged the City Council put a Charter Amendment on the ballot letting the public approve or quash such projects. The Charter Amendment was never put to a public vote.

    More recently, shortly before recent 2004 city elections, the City Council dedicated LB "parks in perpetuity," an action that could theoretically be overridden by subsequent City Council actions.

    In his August 6, 2004 letter to the CA Dept. of Parks and Recreation, City Manager Miller strongly reiterates City Hall's plan to provide more than a two for one replacement of Scherer Park land lost.

    Meanwhile, on 2.2 acres of what was once Scherer Park land, an expanded permanent police facility is now operating. On the 55th Way site, a park is not.

    To view verbatim the recent exchange of correspondence between LB City Hall and Sacramento in pdf form, click:

  • CA Dept. of Parks and Recreation letter dated June 15, 2004 to City Manager Miller

  • City Manager Miller August 6 letter to CA Dept. of Parks & Recreation.

    Return To Front Page

    Contact us:


    Copyright © 2004, LLC. All rights reserved. Terms of Use/Legal policy, click here. Privacy Policy, click here