Informal survey finds public concerned about pandemic, inflation, other issues
Beach trash from the river and the future of Main Street parklets were cited among the opportunities and challenges that face Seal Beach in the year ahead, according to an informal survey. The Sun, as it does every year, posted the same question on various social media platforms. (The Sun also sent out some emails.)
Due to space limits, not everyone could be quoted. For clarity’s sake, related comments have be placed together. The direct quotes have been lightly edited.
Larry Hearn wrote: “Trash flowing down the river. Seems like nothing ever gets done.”
Sally Wildasinn-Ward (replying to Hearn) wrote: “This IS our biggest problem Seal Beach faces. I don’t even go barefoot on the sand anymore since I’m always finding syringes at the shoreline.”
Dennis Wright: “City lawyers should devise a way that the cost of River cleanup is shared with cities upriver.”
Rita V Strickroth (replying to Wright) wrote: “Several years ago the Mayor of Seal Beach and the Mayor of Azusa got together and had a clean up the river end day! The teens,,parents, and kids all joined in and showed how anything thrown in the storm drain will end up the beach.
Karen Narz-Ferretti: “There are so many entities that have a hand in the river, which makes it hard, but as a member of SaveOurBeach I’d love to see something done. We provide education to our participants by showing them what happens when a piece of litter laying on the ground never gets picked up. It could work its way down river and end on the beach. The younger set doesn’t yet realize this, which is why it’s important to start them young! I have taken my grandchildren out many times on “street” cleanups, where we pick up trash left behind in the gutter or sidewalks. If a car is left on the street and the street sweeper misses trash, then we’ll go out and get it. We also spent some time recently in the river on the sand bar. They really do like to help.”
Merle Moshiri wrote: “Maybe you might all help out the HB/Seal Beach Surfrider organization too. Active in beach clean up and laws effecting ocean cleanliness. Great group.”
Tom Quinn wrote: “Rehabilitation of the San Gabriel river.”
Parking and parklets
David Marcus: “Main Street parking with the existing unused parklets still taking up valuable parking spaces.”
Matthew Terry, of Old Town & The Hill, wrote: “I think the most important decision the city is going to face this year is what is going to become of the parklets on Main Street. If I recall correctly there is a committee on this, right? Right now, they all have a very temporary vibe to them (even the best ones do), so if they are going to become permanent, they would all need some work done. Parklets, when done right, can really transform a street and while Main Street is already great as is, well designed parklets could really add to the coziness of main street.”
Diane D, of College Park East, wrote: “I feel the parklets make Main Street look junky. They also take up much needed parking. Businesses other than restaurants are hurt by this. Look at Belmont Shore in Long Beach. It is a mess. We don’t want Main Street to be like that.”
Rob Jahncke, Chamber president and owner of Javatini’s wrote: “The one opportunity I would like to see for Seal Beach is our Main Street Parklets. Improve and define the Parklets on Main Street. Develop a standard for attractive for all Parklets. This would involve the low platform for level across the curb, attractive shading method, more permanent looking areas and also having higher utilization of these areas.”
Dawn Sasse-Southern wrote: “Why are we outsourcing city Business? Like parking passes, business license etc. Are all being outsource? Why?”
Dave Heady (replying to Sasse-Southern) wrote: “We don’t even process our own parking tickets. We pay another city to do it.”
Editor’s note: A private company, not another city, processes Seal Beach Parking citations. For details, see the comments below from the Seal Beach Police Department. ·
Seal Beach Police Department (replying to Heady): “[W]e use a company that is the industry standard. The hearings and dispositions of the tickets are handled by our city. Also, the tickets are issued by our city employees.”
Dave Heady wrote: “OK, so I’m correct then. Industry standard or not, they’re still being processed by an outside source that we pay to do it. That was all that I had said.”
Seal Beach Police Department wrote: “[T]rue, but it’s a necessity. We write thousands of these citations and processing them requires additional staff, etc. which means internally it would cost the city more money if we didn’t outsource.”
Dave Heady wrote: “Wow! That many? Thanks for your service.”
Seal Beach Police Department (replying to Heady) wrote: “[W]e don’t “like” to do it, but if we didn’t the streets would probably be impacted with numerous violations.”
Dawn Sasse-Southern (replying to SBPD): “[Y]ea but it makes it almost impossible for older people to figure out how to load their visitor’s info for parking permits just to have them park. It’s ridiculous how much you have to do without any clear instructions.”
Mark Dennison wrote: “Another one: can we take a hard look at the hiring of consultants?”
Michael McGrorty, of Leisure World, wrote: “The average price of a home in Seal Beach now exceeds a million dollars, and this includes the thousands of inexpensive units located in the Leisure World community. If those homes (never reaching half a million) are excluded, the sale prices become truly phenomenal. One consequence of this is that the people who provide services from retail to school teaching are unable to afford a home in or near the place they serve. They are in SB but not of it. This situation has damaging effects, especially in regard to police and municipal services. Where workers are priced out in this way, they essentially become transients, with diminished loyalty and regard for the town they can’t really call home.”
Marah Fineberg-Kuck wrote about the city’s economic risks in 2022, including business and employee staying power, consistency of service, the bottleneck supply chain, and inflation. “Opportunities: for different and varied local businesses are helped substantially by newer visiting tourists from local surrounding cities AirbnB types,” Fineberg-Kuck wrote.
“Another opportunity has been the good community collaboration for businesses through the dedicated team of volunteers at the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce to stay connected with locals through social media. Also, every one of us has an increased personal technology stack of knowledge thrust upon us increasing communications. Businesses and our neighbors are rethinking enhancing and reworking their marketing, social and networking plans. And of course, we all have more time with those we care about!”
Peggy Beste, of Leisure World, wrote: “Help our local businesses. Give them tax breaks, add parking for their customers, and streamline approval of new business plans to expedite opening new businesses.”
Diane D,. of College Park East, wrote: “We need better broadband. No competition. Spectrum and Fios are it. In the future the city will need to be involved in supplying it. It is now a necessity.”
Mark Dennison, of Old Town & The Hill, wrote: “100% correct. With the work from home so common now, many could seriously use 1gig bi-directional ISP’s.”
Matthew V. Pixa, Chamber director, wrote: “I think the challenges/opportunities are nothing uncommon to others in the state and county but to no surprise they center around Covid. Should we get more mandates or restrictions, it would obviously adversely impact the business community and vice versa. Secondly, while it’s often discussed, I look forward to learning more about the opportunities for what happens with the pier and any potential business suitors where the old Ruby’s was. Happy 2022 to you in the meantime!”
Matt Walker, of Old Town & The Hill, wrote: “Discourage the explosion of the freelance buskers on Main Street and the Pier. For the most part they are nothing more than ‘in your face’ noise makers looking for a hand out. It is out of control.”
Dick Douglas, of Ferguson Realty, a Chamber director, wrote: “I see great opportunities in the future for Seal Beach.”
Deb Machen, Chamber secretary, wrote: “Speaking from a small business perspective, I see two major challenges approaching in 2022. The first is inflation. Consumer demands have not let up and the supply chain crisis continues to worsen (just look at the cargo ships off of Seal Beach, awaiting entry into the Port of Los Angeles) threatening to prolong rising prices well into this year. As a result of the supply chain challenge, I see an opportunity for small brick and mortar businesses to cater to consumers who are tired of waiting days or weeks for online deliveries, and are turning to local businesses that carry the products they want and need. The second challenge I see is the growing shortage of skilled labor. While the demand for workers increases, a nearly unprecedented number of employees have voluntarily quit their jobs or retired over the past six months, causing many small businesses to increase wages and benefits in an effort to recruit and retain quality workers. As a result of this labor shortage, small businesses, restaurants and bars have an opportunity to pivot once more, by adding table-side ordering and checkout technology and self-checkout options for retail customers, helping employers to ease the pain of staffing shortages without sacrificing the customer experience.
Bob Wriedt, senior pastor of Grace Community Church, wrote: “At our best, Seal Beach is a community of patient, hospitable, and warm people. But the last couple years have challenged us with division, distrust, and animosity toward those we disagree with. We have an opportunity to be a peculiarly friendly place to live, if we move toward one another in love.”
Mark Dennison, of Old Town and the Hill, wrote: “Infrastructure. Infrastructure. Infrastructure!” Steven Stasoiski wrote: “Challenges can lead to opportunities. In my official capacity as Owner-operator of SCS Tax and Insurance Services, I believe Seal Beach will have to continue adapting, adjusting, and navigating the pandemic in 2022.”
Richard Glassman, of Old Town & The Hill, wrote: “The city needs programs for local at risk youth. Especially, to help out single moms.”
Jon Janecek: “I would add homeless. Have seen various people sleeping off PCH early mornings.” Jancecek recently saw a man muttering to himself outside of Finbars. “Believe city needs to try to work for regional solution for health (limit risk of further pandemics), safety for community and because it’s humane to do.”
Paula Hays and Karen Lovelace agreed with Janecek.
Andee Leisy wrote: “Getting the LCP done and approved would be a biggie, and the plan to meet regional affordable housing needs requirements.”
Editor’s note: A “local coastal program,” if approved by the California Coastal Commission, would transfer some of the CCC’s permitting power to the city government.
Andee Leisy wrote: “Oh and what’s the plan for SB 1383 compliance? There’s been nothing from Republic or the city about that effective January 1st – significant potential fines from CalRecyle after a year or so if cities don’t get it together.”
Rita V Strickroth wrote: “Would like more transparency as to what projects are ongoing in the City. Would love to actually see our tax dollars at work. Perhaps a recap quarterly in the Sun?”
Diane Kirste Ripley: Would love to see Seal Beach build a beautiful community pool with the funds they are due from the oil company not paying their taxes.
[Editor’s note: Ripley’s brother has a contract with the city of Seal Beach to collect oil company revenues due the city. The contract pays on a contingency basis.]
Joyce Ross, of Old Town & The Hill, wrote: “What happened to the City Council regarding the retirement bond?”
Garry Myrwold, of Old Town & The Hill, wrote: “Handrails for the ramp leading down to the restrooms from the pier.”
Kimberly S., of Old Town & The Hill, wrote: “Better reporting from our local newspaper. More in-depth reporting on city council meetings, school board meetings, state-wide referendums, etc. I lived in Palos Verdes for a number of years, and the PV News was excellent in reporting what was going on with city government. The Sun seems like a lot of fluff … mostly icing, little cake.”
Mark Dennison, of Old Town & The Hill, wrote: “You are correct. It’s refreshing when an investigative report is done.”
Lori Gray, of Leisure World, wrote: “I think crime and safety have become serious issues here. Just like in other US cities. We must have a Seal Beach community plan to proactively prevent much of what is going on.”