I disagree with Mr. Pesich on his “end of democracy” in Long Beach as well as on his comments on the results of the City Council vote on Short Term Rentals (STRs) in a recent Mailbox. Relative to the first, there are nine Council members, a majority of whom wanted no restrictions on the operation of STRs, e.g. no hosting required and no “opt out” option for neighborhoods.
In response to her constituents, Councilmember Price argued for hosted-only STRs and an opt out option so that neighborhoods could vote to not have STRs. So in a democratically achieved compromise in the council, un-hosted STRs are permitted, within limitations, but more importantly, the “opt out” clause is included in the draft ordinance.
This is a major inclusion in that it gives residents the power to say yes or no to STR’s in their neighborhoods – the ultimate in democratic governance.
With so much negativity going on now, I would like to share some good people doing wonderful things for the community.
I was privileged to meet Tom West and Shannon Francis, owners of Long Beach Coffee and Tea, this time last year after an article posted in the Grunion highlighted their Angel Tree. I got to know Tom and Shannon through participating in picking ornaments with veterans’ names and branch of service in one side, and their Christmas wishes on the other.
Both of my veterans wanted gift cards, and Shannon was helpful in identifying the most helpful and appropriate cards. While the cards are helpful and useful, they’re not as much fun as shopping to a confirmed shopaholic, and Shannon was also helpful about what kinds of gifts would be best.
Following that introduction, Tom and Shannon welcomed me into their adopted family, even though I don’t drink coffee, and I learned of the many things that they do to help our veterans and homeless: coat and blanket drives; clothing, shoes, backpacks, toiletries distributed to the homeless and veterans; to go meals free of charge to the hungry; to go home cooked Thanksgiving dinner for more than 100; care packages for our troops overseas; help for veterans in navigating the VA system, putting veterans in touch with resources and serving as veterans’ advocates and more. With all of this, they are humble, saying that they just have the idea and others do a lot of the work, but without them it wouldn’t happen.
Their latest venture is their nonprofit, “Transition Outside The Wire,” which is working to provide services to veterans to transition back to civilian life. They are working towards a ranch in Arizona that will provide lodging, work experience, counseling and other assistance to veterans and their families, working to end homelessness before it starts and to end the 22 veteran suicides per day in the U.S. This is being funded by their coffee subscriptions — not only do they have great coffee, which is mailed to your home, but it is nontaxable, and is teaching veterans job skills.
Stop by Long Beach Coffee and Tea, check out the Angel Tree, and try their delicious coffee and food to go while wearing your mask and social distancing.
Restore Skate Park
Over the past 20 years working with Long Beach's minority/at risk children through our skate parks, I have had kids die from gang violence, become addicted to drugs, die from drug overdoses, and they and their families become homeless.
I have had people I love very much become homeless due to drug addiction. I have dealt with the homeless issue as a City Council member. We have provided shoes, clothing and food for our kids’ families, helped kids with mental health issues and fed the homeless at our events in skate parks.
My kids and I attended every design meeting for Gumbiner Park. I have been active in the neighborhood surrounding Gumbiner for 15 years and worked closely with the past four council members in the First District. Thirty percent of our team membership live in District 1, as does my son.
The community wanted a playground and a skate park. Five of our kids designed the skate park.
Over the past 2-3 years, the skate park and playground have become a camp for homeless. Not families in need but those who have mental heath and drug issues. The intent of Gumbiner was to be a place for children and their families. They cannot go there anymore.
It is my hope Councilwoman Mary Zendejas, the East Village and MoLAA will help us return the park to the kids and the community.
ASK Long Beach Founder
I am concerned about the parklets in Belmont Shore. Parking has always been a problem in the Shore for both residents and businesses.
I do not object to the use of parklets during the current crisis, but am concerned about the possibility of them staying in place after the restriction on dining indoors is lifted. The Shore has a problem with residential parking spaces and allowing parklets beyond the current crisis will only exacerbate the problem if allowed to exist after indoor dining is allowed.
I would suggest that they be removed within 60 days after unrestricted indoor dining is approved.
I'm expressing gratitude that Thanksgiving food bags (donated by SCAN) were delivered here at City View Senior complex; a couple of weeks late, but better late than never!
The delivery was organized and delivered by our Resident Service Coordinator Emily Litt. She braved exposure in order to help us, thank you!