Common Sense / Opinion
A continuing series
Lack of City Hall Credibility, Not Residents' Complaints, Deters Quality LB Developments; Restoring Trust Requires Accurate Information & Respectful Partnership b/w Residents & Officials
(August 9, 2011) -- Itís always interesting when retired Council members or city officials step out of the shadows and write letters to the editor about controversial issues that face Long Beach residents.
Recently, retired City Manager Jim Hankla wrote a letter to the Press Telegram that it headlined "LB being left in the dust" which offered general comments about development in Long Beach and the 2nd/PCH proposed development in particular.
I was especially interested in what Mr. Hankla had to say as I consider him to be one of the better City Managers to have served the residents of Long Beach. I often refer to a 1991 Los Angeles Times story that quoted then City Manager Hankla asking the council to take long term steps to shore up the "fragile state of city finances" as it was facing a reported $15 Million deficit. Sadly, we are still waiting for those long term steps to be developed and implemented.
I am also a supporter of the redevelopment of the 2nd/PCH corner, albeit with perhaps less height and density. That said, Mr. Hankla's letter and his opinions can be viewed in full by clicking here. My opinions follow below.
I think it is true that, as Mr. Hankla says, "our neighbors are eating our lunch and have been for years." This is easily verified by visiting the new shopping centers, commercial and residential projects in Los Alamitos, Lakewood and,Huntington Beach. Signal Hill has been several steps ahead of Long Beach for years and now has most of our auto dealers and more than a few high volume retailers that generate tax revenue and jobs that could and should be in Long Beach.
So, why are our neighbors leaving us in the dust? I don't share the view that some disgruntled residents have prevented Long Beach from having quality developments and investment.
While there's more than enough blame to go around, in my view one can start with a lack of trust by residents in their City Hall, a lack of credibility that's been earned over time. Large projects promoted by City Hall have fueled opposition, not consensus, when official assertions collapse under scrutiny or are disproved by history.
And who do you think is watching these pitched and sometimes nasty battles? The development community watches these pitches and sometimes nasty battles...and the spectacle doesn't give them comfort.
When Councilman Gary DeLong attempted to change development standards in SEADIP in a process what struck many people as less than open and transparent, he alienated residents and created lingering animosity between residents, environmentalist, developers and the City. I believe the 2nd/PCH project today suffers in part as a result.
And who do you think is watching another example of bad planning and policy making? Yes, it is the Development and investment community, and I'm sure they're not impressed.
In my view, poor master planning, lack of open and transparent planning and zoning and unrealistic or inaccurate pro forma assumptions are the reasons why Long Beach is being left in the dust.
The examples are near endless:
Blaming residents for the lack of quality developments and our City's decades long slide into a possible "dust bin of poverty" is revisionist history. What's overdue is open and transparent dialogue to restore trust and confidence in City Hall and ensure residents and elected officials receive accurate information on which to make informed decisions before slick PR campaigns muddy the waters.
The best way to avoid what Mr. Hankla calls "a dust bin of municipal poverty" is a respectful partnership between residents, elected officials and civic leaders. coupled with a master plan that promotes new developments that are mutually championed and not imposed upon neighborhoods.
Previously on LBReport.com: Common Sense by Terry Jensen (continuing series):
Contact us: mail@LBReport.com
For details directly from the World Power Martial Arts website, click here, CLICK HERE.
Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback (ocbiofeedback.com) provides testing for ADD/ADHD, neurofeedback treatment for adults and children with ADD/ADHD and information regarding ADD/ADHD and related conditions. Initial evaluation and assessment at no charge when you mention you heard about us from this ad, CLICK HERE.
Hardwood Floor Specialists
Call (562) 422-2800 or (714) 836-7050
Contact us: mail@LBReport.com