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I worked at the Belmont Plaza Pool, as did my older siblings, from 1975-1981. There was a "floating staff" of up to 20 then.
We provided year round services including recreational swimming day and night (citizens from all over the city were regulars), swimming lessons for all ages and levels, a volunteer recreational aid program for local youth (some we would say today may have been "at risk") and hosted countless competitions and practices for youth teams up to State University Championships for water polo, diving and swim.
The pool was often open and filled — including spectators — for 12-hour periods. Some days we served more than 300 recreational swim participants.
But the main service was aspirational, since local youth from high school and other municipal pools fed into centralized teams and programs such as Red Cross CPR and WSI (water safety instructor) and would engage with recreational and athletic mentors, sometimes becoming life long swimmers as a result.
It would be an understatement to call Tuesday’s Second District City Council election a mess. With six candidates in the race — four of them Democrats — voters in the Second were dispassionate about their choices. Only 7% of all Second District residents voted in this election.
Unfortunately, out of this muddled mess, we got perhaps the two worst possible options for the runoff election in November: Cindy Allen and Robert Fox.
Allen, former police officer and candidate endorsed by the Mayor, made headlines across Long Beach as news broke of an alleged voter registration fraud scandal and allegedly being catfished when attempting to sell off her business ETA Agency. These scandals hit her hard at the polls, and have weakened support for her across the district.
Fox ran a self-funded campaign and populist movement akin to Trump, wanting to “drain the swamp” of Long Beach and run it himself. The multi-millionaire realtor believes that gentrification is “organic” to the improvement of a neighborhood. A person who is no stranger to controversy, his gaggle of supporters walked the line of illegal electioneering by holding signs of support just far enough away to be outside the polling radius.
Behind these two, the progressive candidates Barrera and Lara couldn’t break through to enough voters. Splitting the progressive vote between them, both campaigns struggled with raising funds and achieving the notoriety of their opponents’ campaigns.
As a Second District resident, I am not excited about my choices this November, and most of the district isn’t, either.