I am writing to thank the staff and volunteers at the Long Beach Health Department for their extraordinary performance during the earliest days of the Covid-19 vaccination effort.
I want to single out the work of a young woman named Jenine who served as the principal intake person, who greeted everyone with concern, courtesy and composure — even though most of them were confused, anxious and demanding. She put them at ease by being direct and informative, and kept her composure even when they didn’t.
She was unfailingly helpful, and found ways to get people their vaccination, even when they had trouble registering online. She’s an unsung hero of the pandemic!
Recently, you printed a letter from a reader calling climate change "natural." In one sense, everything is natural, as humans are a part of nature. The rate of change is the key, and how fast it's changing is due to humanity.
At its natural pace, climate change allows life to move and adjust over time. The disastrous rate now battering us is just too fast. In a sense, we are being served with nature's "eviction notice." However, we're being forced to move today, not over the normal span of centuries. Nature says, "adjust or die," and dying is what a lot of humanity will do unless we slow down climate change.
As another letter you printed pointed out, we need a national effort to lead an international effort to slow climate change. I agree that we need a market-based solution that is fair, and effective, and support the carbon dividend plans now before Congress.
Thank you Keith Tyschper, architect, for calling out the Mayor et al for the blatant abuse of development at the former golf driving range near the LA Riverbed. (Our Mailbox, Feb 4.)
As a 20-year Master Falconer I am very aware of the open space and wildlife habitat loss as the fields in which I fly my hawks or train my falcons diminish and are replaced by slabs of concrete. This 50-acre parcel that has been graded and scraped of wild vegetation was once teeming with cottontail rabbits, field mice, harmless and beneficial garter and king snakes, and burrowing owls. This important wildlife was a food source for Red-tailed Hawks, American Kestrel Falcons, Coopers Hawks and Prairie Falcons as well as the roaming coyote.
And each spring a burst of color beckons the photographer as wildflowers soar above the ubiquitous tumbleweed. All lost to an RV storage facility.
I could imagine the Mayor and Council people, or City Manager may never leave his or her office to enjoy the season’s bounty in these pockets of land that are not part of the overly manicured park system. The unspoiled land is what is so needed right now for the future of our planet and everything in it!
Mayor, what import is it to have the world’s greenest port if we continue to spoil the land which the port receives?
On behalf of our board of directors, staff, and the Long Beach area Jewish community, I wish to thank you for running Stephanie Stutzman’s Feb. 9 article on Jewish Disability Advocacy Month (JDAM), led locally by Jewish Long Beach. Since 1947, Jewish Long Beach—formerly the Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Long Beach and West Orange County—has engaged in advocacy on issues of deep social and cultural importance, not just to the Jewish community, but to all who live, work, and recreate in and around Long Beach.
JDAM is an annual, national effort to draw attention to the needs of people with disabilities, and to encourage our civic leaders to prioritize the establishment of accessibility standards, assistance programs, and infrastructure that create an equitable environment for those with physical, emotional, mental, and other types of disabilities.
The work of Jewish Long Beach is inspired by the Jewish value of tikkun olam—Hebrew for “repairing the world”—and JDAM is a program that is consistent with our founding values. However, programs such as JDAM are only as impactful as the breadth of their audience, and we thank the Grunion Gazette for spreading the word about this critically important advocacy effort.
Zach Benjamin, CEO
Jewish Long Beach
Posture Of Disrespect
Some of us have actually been on a jury, some of us have seen portrayals of jury behavior on a variety of programs, television and movies. Can you imagine being a member of a jury and getting up and leaving any time you wished? Can you imagine doing other work during a session that you have taken an oath to do your duty as a citizen of our country? Can you imagine your posture of disrespect while testimony was being delivered?
I can't even imagine a judge allowing this to occur. I think it is a role model for literal contempt of court as you could easily be both fined and or sent to jail. However, we see elected representatives demonstrating this behavior.
At the end of the day it is up to the voters to decide who will represent them. Do you want someone to represent you as a role model for disrespect? Do you want your representative at the end of a session in court to go to the attorneys of the defense and coach them on what they should do? How would you respond if your child or loved one demonstrated this behavior?
It is said that you get the government that you deserve. I know that as a citizen of this country I wish that my representatives are people that I am proud to represent me. And in this I feel very fortunate that in fact I do.
Trying to remain hopeful as our current president suggests — to listen to our better angels.
City Auditor Laura Doud’s thorough analysis of the Long Beach Public Library clearly articulates three points.
First, the people of Long Beach love their 12 libraries, evidenced by 1.1 million annual library visitors. Second, they expect their library to be far more than a repository for literature. Third, they ask that their libraries be a rich haven offering resources and safety to residents; serve students with homework help and digital resources; offer job search support; and provide a diverse array of enrichment programs for all.
The library offers all of this and more as they strive to meet the community’s demand to expand hours and provide more accessibility for those with disabilities and more resources in languages spoken in Long Beach homes. Finally, the audit reveals that the library is required to do all this with inadequate funding as more people depend on their resources.
The audit shows a 31% decline in the number of library staff due to city budget cuts following the 2008 recession. In the years since, the library has not received the funding necessary to restore those previous staff levels. Our libraries used to be open seven days a week. Before the libraries’ temporary closure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they were open 35 hours per week on average, while most peer library systems averaged 48-61 hours per week.
We readers need to do three things. (You’re reading this, right?) First, let’s celebrate the library and its successes, recognized in 2017 by the National Medal for Museum & Library Service. Next, let’s all contact our City Council members and advocate for more funding for our libraries.
Finally, in this 125th anniversary year of the library, let’s make a personal gift through the Long Beach Public Library Foundation. The Library Foundation celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and supports programs, technology, and resources at all 12 libraries. Every dollar counts to help our incredible librarians and library staff support Long Beach residents as they get their lives and livelihoods back on track. Learn more at lbplfoundation.org.
Joan Van Hooten, VP Fund Development
Long Beach Library Foundation Board
Give Libraries More
As one who has supported Long Beach public libraries for more than two decades, and as one of the earliest members of the Library Foundation's Board of Directors, I have watched the Long Beach Public Library grow into a remarkable educational institution where many families depend on their neighborhood library to help raise students who love to read and succeed in school.
The city's audit of the library (notes it) has been limited by budget constraints stemming from 2008 and even tougher ones of present times. But that is exactly why the library needs more funding — not less. I join the many supporters of the library in calling upon the City Council to expand its financial budget as well as its hours of operation and availability to the public.
As a footnote of questionable relativity, when I was a long-ago student at Fremont Elementary School, I frequented the then-branch library at Roswell Avenue and Fourth Street looking for "interesting" books.
Cruise Ship Idea
There are several cruise ships anchored near our shore. Why couldn't an organization or a business offer lunch or dinner on these ships?
Logistics, of course, would be extensive — obtaining approval from the ships' owners, ferrying diners to and from the ship in a safe manner, and making arrangements for food.
However, it would be a unique experience for patrons and could create revenue.