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Accept The Risk

Dear Editor,

Honorable Mayor,

It’s time to break ranks with the County of Los Angeles with regard to the Stay at Home Order.

I consider myself a pretty reasonable guy. My family is fourth generation Long Beach and my kids are fifth. My parents are still alive at 89 and 88 and live in 90807. I live in 90803, have lived through four recessions and we are now staring in the face of Depression and Armageddon.

We need to open up our Economy. If we don’t, the death and carnage will be unfathomable. And I am not an overreactor.

Fifty deaths. 50 with pre-existing conditions. 80% from nursing homes. 470,000 people. 1 out of every 9,400. 1 hundredth of 1 percent. 

Yet our entire economy is shut down. Businesses are shutting their doors. Tenants’ incomes have been suffocated. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you are hearing the same song from the majority of your constituents. So I thought it would be good to put it in writing.

You all have done a great job to slow the spread. but let the “at risk” stay home and let the rest go back to living. We can all accept and manage the risk.

Whit Latimer

Bancap Investment Group

Why Not Now?

Dear Editor,

Regarding Bob Lambros’ letter in the May 14 Grunion called “Open It All.”

I certainly agree with Mr. Lambros and his comments, as do many of my friends and neighbors.

Based on Council Member Suzie Price’s May 14 (email) COVID update, Long Beach had 51 fatalities, of which 40 are associated with long-term care facilities.

With a population of about 500,000. we have a fatality rate of 0.0001. I am not making light of the unfortunate deaths, but if 80% of fatalities are at long-term care facilities, perhaps we should focus 80% of our resources, energy and media on helping to prevent fatalities at these facilities.

If Billings Hardware on Second Street can be open, why not allow other retailers open with the same protocols?  Billings disinfects patrons’ hands on the way in and out. They allow a set number of people in the store at one time. Basic math here. Many other examples validate this — Ralphs, Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s — all are open and let a fixed number of people in at one time. So why not the non-essential retailers?

As of this writing, retailers are not allowed to have patrons inside, allowing for only curbside pick-up. With these rules, why open at all?? 

Let’s talk beaches. When was the last time the beaches of Long Beach were actually side-by-side crowded? The city is called “Long Beach” for a reason. We are not allowed to sit on the beach, however we can go to the various grassy areas (Bluff Park) and take our chairs and blankets and enjoy the outdoors. (Note: This is not allowed under current regulations.) This just does not make sense.

I appreciate the Mayor wanting to follow state guidelines regarding closures and openings, but one size does not fit all. Long Beach is not New York or New Jersey. Long Beach hospitals are not and were not overrun.  I urge the Mayor (whom I voted for) and Council to take a stand, have a backbone and do what is right for Long Beach and not follow the one-size-fits-all guidelines dictated by Governor Newsom.

In pre-COVID America, we the people were allowed to make choices. If someone does not want to leave their house or go to a retailer until COVID-19 is eradicated, that’s fine. However, if we want to go shopping, to a gym, to the beach and we follow social distancing guidelines, wear a face mask and follow protocols, than we should be allowed to just that!

 Prior to COVID the United States was the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. We are neither at this time.

K. Notrica

Belmont Shore

Short-Term Rentals

Dear Editor,

Councilwoman Price,

First let me thank you for your faithful support of the Third District during this very uncertain time. Your updates have been so helpful. I have shared more than one with friends in other parts of the city who have been fearful or felt they needed more information.

 We see that the conversation about Short Term Rentals was addressed at the May 19 Council meeting. I want to apologize again for expressing my frustration in our heated FB exchange about the last council meeting when this matter was addressed.

I was truly taken aback by the tone of the debate that night and the remarks I expressed were borne of that.

It seemed that some other input, perhaps that of the hotel unions, had changed the conversation we all felt we had been having with your office and the city in general over several years regarding short term rentals. 

So many of us participated in good faith in the consultations with the offices of Lisa Wise and Associates, and were also strongly supportive of residents of Naples and the Peninsula whose issues seemed to be distinctly different from those of other areas of the city. 

Of course we are in a totally different global moment now, and all of us are trying to make sense of the new world we are attempting to navigate. I don’t know what you all are thinking in reference to the ordinance, but we pray a fair and reasonable agreement will be finalized that honors the distinctive nature and contribution to our city of hosts who are sharing homes and fellowship via short term rentals.

We are not hotels, and are not in competition with that industry.

We have been grateful to be able to house a traveling nurse as she works in Long Beach to support public health efforts.

All of the rest of our bookings cancelled due to travel and shelter at home restrictions.

My husband and I are among the thousands of citizens who are living day to day, with our income eviscerated along with our sense of security due to a public health crisis.

I pray the council takes the very real contributions of hosts into consideration, even as you weigh other political considerations.

Thank you again Suzie, for keeping your constituents so well informed through this pandemic. 

Dr. Jane Galloway

Bluff Heights

Mental Health For All

Dear Editor,

Thank you so much for making mental health a cover story during National Mental Health Awareness Month. More than ever before, issues such as anxiety, depression, and grief are a topic of discussion as so many people’s lives have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic.

There is an additional aspect of the pandemic’s impact that is worthy of a reminder — its effect on our senior population. Every day as we receive the statistical reports from the state of California, Los Angeles County, and our own Long Beach Health and Human Services Department, we see that seniors comprise a large group of those infected with COVID-19, and the mortality rate is particularly high for those with compromised health issues prior to being infected.

All seniors, infected or not, are also at risk for mental health issues during this time. Those who lead active lives under normal circumstances but are suddenly homebound because they need to shelter in place may experience depression due to isolation, anxiety because they worry about obtaining food, medicine, and other necessities, and feelings of grief around not being able to hug their children and grandchildren. 

As the only nonprofit agency in Long Beach (Jewish Family & Children's Services) serving the entire life cycle — ages 4 to 104 — on a sliding fee scale with both counseling and social services, our agency’s social work team is making weekly check-in phone calls to seniors to ask about their needs for food and essentials as well as offer an opportunity for connection. Our team organizes a group of passionate and caring volunteers who will shop for groceries, pick up prescription refills, and help with other errands to ensure that they have everything they need while at home. Our team has also partnered with other agencies in Long Beach who serve seniors and need help with outreach to those on their caseloads, and we started a weekly Zoom support group, Coping in the Time of COVID-19, that is open for all ages but is particularly well attended by seniors.

We should all be aware of the risks of isolation for this segment of the population. Whereas social distancing does not permit a visit, a phone call or an email can do wonders to boost morale and bring meaning to those that are homebound.

Kathryn Miles, Executive Director

JFCS of Long Beach & West Orange County

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