Citizens name clean beaches, pedestrian safety among issues for 2019

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File art courtesy of Metro Creative Connection

Many people cited repairing the Seal Beach Pier and possibly installing a restaurant, pedestrian safety, and parking among the top challenges facing Seal Beach in the year ahead, according to an informal online survey. Some individuals raised continuing concerns about crime and coyotes. Others expressed frustration with City Hall or raised concerns about business on Main Street.

The Sun recently asked the community and City Council members what they saw as the opportunities and challenges facing Seal Beach in the year ahead. Most of the replies emphasized the challenges. The Sun will report on what council members had to say as soon as possible.

The unscientific survey generated about 67 comments and replies to replies totaling at least 1,700 words as of Monday morning, Jan. 7. Some of the comments were re-posts by the same person or replies to replies.

On New Year’s Day, Charles M. Kelly posted the following question online: “In my official capacity as associate editor of the Sun News, on the record and for possible publication in the print edition of the Sun, what do you see as the opportunities and challenges facing Seal Beach in the year ahead?”

Here are some of the comments, which have been edited for typos, spelling and punctuation. Where practical, and for clarity, they are grouped here as “challenges” and “opportunities,” not in the order in which they were posted. Because of limited space, some comments were omitted.

Challenges

Mark Dennison said: “Balancing the budget. Operating our City with prudent financial forecasting. Reducing “consulting” expenses.”

Jim Leonetti said: “1) Renovation of the city Pier. 2) More Stop signs on Central, between Main and 1st. Public Safety issue. 3) Parking in Old Town.”

Mindy Mangan, replying to Leonetti, said: “Also theft going on in the area as well.”

Mary Olson Baldovin said: “Making crosswalks, particularly across PCH, much safer.”

Steve Miller said: “1. Figuring out a way to, at a minimum, reduce the trash coming down the San Gabriel river. 2. Keeping the Main St(reet) businesses busy and thriving. More effort needs to go into public awareness of Main St. and the shops.”

Nancy Strout said: “Wow … same issues we had in the ’70s in Seal Beach … some things never change do they … ?”

Ruth Hsu Jordan said: “1. Keeping the beaches clean. Maybe put a lid or something on the trash cans that are on the beach. 2. I’m not sure if this is a big deal to everyone, but there’s no recycling on seal way. I guess the recycling trucks can(not) get through. Maybe we can work on that too.”

Fran Olivieri said: “Pier rehab. Pedestrian safety. Speed and stop sign enforcement. Beach cleaning. Reducing plastics. Composting collections.”

Peter Olszewski said: “Stop giving parking tickets to cars registered in Seal Beach. This is our city. Why is the local government punishing us? You know our cars are registered here, why do any of us need permits or permission to be here?”

Marc Moore said: “My family misses having a restaurant on the pier for the last 5(?) years. Until it’s back I’d love to see some kind of portable concession stand out there.”

Jan Hayes Blodgett said: “Increase of crime in Old Town.”

Tania Pantoja said: “Keep the beaches clean and increase recycling awareness!”

Some individuals raised concerns with Old Town’s power grid.

Winthrop Audrey (apparently on Jan. 6), said: the power went off at 7:01 a.m. and was turned back on after 3 a.m.; the reason for the delay was the NYE holiday, no one was at work, everybody had the day off! The reason for the lack of electricity was the transformer that blew they finally located it and was able to fix it finally, but the lack of power is unique to the trailer park not the whole town.”

Jennie Scheele, replying to Audrey, said: “The whole town, or Old Town in a specific (area) has had many power outages. There’s been many times I’ve been thankful we had power while others in old town did not. This time it affected us, but we are all affected more than we should be. My friend was up at 6:30 that morning and the power was already out at my house and it came back on at my house at 12:50 a.m. The majority of our neighborhood had power, which was interesting.”

Dana Baze said: “The coyotes hurting other animals. People need to keep their furry family members inside.”

Gypsy Warner said: “Stop hiring consultants and get the budget in order with real transparency.”

Jackie Yukawa said: “Dangerous drivers on PCH.”

Kym Mica Ramaila said: “Main Street sidewalk sweeping and 12th St./PCH cross walk lit up on ground when crossing.”

Ron Diller urged the city “to follow the federal flag code and supply lighting for the flag at pier … proper flag rules require that either the flag comes down before dark or it is illuminated … no excuse … disrespect for the flag … ”

Chris Coultrup said: “Opportunities: I’m excited to see Bay Theatre thrive.

“Challenges: I’m concerned with all the new construction, mainly the juggernaut on PCH & 2nd St. adjacent to In-N-Out. My main worry is all the new stores, restaurants, etc., will rob Seal Beach of its deteriorating small town feel. I hope Seal doesn’t turn into Huntington or Newport Beach.”

Lori Jones said: “The city of Long Beach does seem intent on making it more difficult to get to Seal Beach. I’ll still make the drive.” In reply to a question from Chris Coultrup, Jones elaborated: “They are permanently making Marina Drive a one-lane road to add parking spots and bike lanes. It’s what they call a complete streets project.”

Gwen Forsythe said, “More effort in cleaning up this town. Main Street sidewalks, gutters, trash up and down PCH, on the medians (there was a hubcap on the middle median for over 6 months). Neighborhood street sweeper doing a lousy job. Should work on changing street sweeping schedule so that it doesn’t fall on garbage days. In some areas, sweeper missing most of street when cans placed there. I’ve seen him drive down the middle of the entire street because he couldn’t access the gutter. But, by the same token, I’ve seen him sweep the gutter so fast, missing debris, that he should be issued a ticket. Overall having city hall take pride in the way the town looks. Town is going in wrong direction with the way it looks with its trash, crime and construction.”

Maggie Neil said: “I’ve lived at the end of a Cul-de-sac for 49 yrs and they clean one half one week & the other the next week. We’re talking five houses & being at the end house I’m lucky to ever get swept. Tried to get this taken care of at least 30 yrs ago & no luck!! I hate to be a whiner but that’s a fact!! I Love S.B. So & lucky to live here!!”

Joe Vallee said: “’Light a fire’ (figure of speech) on the finishing of the pier and get a tenant secured so it will generate interest and excitement to get people back. A lot of visitors were lost by the closing of Ruby’s on the pier and all of that could have been avoided by working harder on the renegotiations of the lease. Being hardheaded obviously didn’t get it done.”

David Millhouse said: “I think one of the challenges that we face as a city [is] with the current development of the old seaport Marina Hotel that is ongoing. The new shopping center (as if we really need one) will be the increase of traffic coming into our town on PCH.”

Sue West said: “Accountability at City Hall. An EXPERIENCED city Manager and Staff (here’s looking at you Vicky Beatley) that doesn’t go after private citizens that question their actions. This novice group of amateurs has cost taxpayers a ton of money!”

Kym Mica Ramaila said: “New staff city hall (certain departments) and chamber.”

Karyn Cook Zafran said: “The possible removal of the sea wall and future flooding.”

Opportunities

Some individuals offered proposals for improvements or emphasized the positive.

Kristina Marie Lennon said: “Opportunities- A small oyster bar type restaurant with tables too at the end of the pier (maybe a mini extension of Walt’s Wharf) serving clam chowder, sour dough bowls, lobster rolls, smoked fish platters and steamed clams. Beer and wine? Maybe a Lemonade restaurant across from Coffee Bean. A vegan/organic restaurant. We have too many coffee shops. A summer fresh food farmers market on Main. More weekend events on Main St. especially in winter to bring in more foot traffic. Maybe a series of music, bands or musicians by the pier. Add bonfire pits on the beach. Just a few ideas:) love living in this town.” Lennon also suggested bringing a Seabirds restaurant to town.

Brittany Salling said: “I’m hoping they finally rebuild the restaurant at the end of the pier (and open it), but I’m guessing that’s not going to happen. I will say, although there are some small problems Seal Beach is so unique and I love that so much, hope it never changes too much.”

Donna Barron-McGuire said: “More trash cans at the beach. A ban on plastic straws. A ban on plastic bags, A plan for a parking structure near Old Town so that people can more easily shop and dine in old town and support our local business. A restaurant at the end of the pier. As a city, doing something to stop the riverbed pollution going into the ocean …. Getting together as residents to protect the turtles and sea life that are affected by the river pollution.”

Beverly Schilz said: “There have been challenges as to what goes into Rossmoor center with Babies R Us closing it would be a great opportunity to get a Trader Joe’s.”

Dawn Sasse-Southern said: “The outsiders breaking into cars every night.”

Chase McCants Farrell wanted to see an end to trash stop entering the ocean by way of the San Gabriel River and washing up on the beach.

Farrell also said: “It would be fantastic if the ships waiting to enter the port were not allowed to hang out right off of our beach- in the years past, they would be doing that just one day a week, if I recall it correctly, now it’s a daily occurrence; leading to more pollutants in our swimming zone. It would also be nice to not have the oil platforms right off of our pier – all of these issues affect our tourism.”

Farrell also had some suggestions for the Sun. “I would like to also have a section that interviews the local business owners, so that we can see the personal side behind the business- encouraging more local shopping. Also articles that introduce the local population to people with special needs/ unique ways of being- to encourage inclusion and inhibit isolation. Finally, a bike parade on the fourth of July for the kids 🙂 Please, and thank you. Lol. Looking forward to seeing what your influence will have on our little paper!”

Tim Mosa said: “1. More stop signs on Ocean Avenue to prevent speeding. 2. I’d like to see a stop sign on the SB side of the bridge going into LB (at the bike path) for bikers / runners safety. 3. SB Police foot patrols on Main Street 4. Balance the budget 5. Balance the budget.”

Stephen Goode said: “Two-sided street name signs on Electric Ave (Pedestrians matter!)”

Sharon Mullins Callahan said: “Crosswalks lit up and flashes on PCH … 12th, Main and 5th streets.”

Lisa Woodruff said: “Encourage Main St(reet) employees not to park on Main st(reet), so it opens it up for shoppers. (Many employees & merchants are not getting tickets for some strange reason). They can buy a merchant parking sticker for around $40 annually & park in many places.”

Mark Dennison said: “Will be watching with interest how the Sun reports these comments.”

Email your thoughts on the year ahead in Seal Beach to editor@sunnews.org.

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