Many people cited repairing the Pier, crime, coyotes, and city finances among the top challenges facing Seal Beach in the year ahead, according to an informal online survey.
A few individuals mentioned housing/rental costs as challenges. Some participants proposed solutions as well.
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. The unscientific survey generated replies and replies to replies totalling 8,636 words.
Due to space limitations, this article is limited to about 1,500 words.
First, here’s what the public had to say about opportunities facing Seal Beach.
Gail Liesendahl said: “The Pier is an obvious opportunity and challenge all at the same time. Keep it simple usually works. My challenge for the city is to enforce the ‘no dogs on the beach’ policy. You have the rule, enforce it. The beach is being abused by dog owners who are visitors and locals, who know better. Enforce it or dissolve it. Happy 2018!”
Chase McCants Farrell wondered if dogs were causing trouble. “I’m a small dog owner, have been respecting the no dog rules, but with such a dog loving community, I wonder why we can’t have a dog beach at least by the river,” Farrell said.
Chani Demello said, “We have the opportunity to establish a community garden on First Street and install solar panels on the lot as well and begin our journey to being a more self-sustainable city. And our challenge is to be more proactive with maintenance to things like the wall on the boardwalk and other neglected and broken things in our town.”
Chance Austin argued that the city needed to look 15-20 years ahead. “We have the opportunity to become a model city for tech and efficiency integration based on our size and infrastructure,” Austin said. “Do we have someone on the city council or that works for the city that is actively engaging opportunities with these and other companies to be a flagship? Are we capitalizing on the pro-environment groundswell and encouraging renewable energy and waste management throughout the city and not just being beach-focused? There is an ever-increasing desire to make the environment a community-oriented effort on all fronts. Do we have an outreach program? Are there grants and other state, federal and even international money and partnerships that we can harness to become an even better model? Do we have someone working on this?”
Some residents wanted to see more Summer Concerts.
Matt Johnson, for example, said there used to be eight and this year there were five concerts. “SB Community LOVES their Concerts and Kori DeLeon does a terrific job each week putting them together. MO MUSIC!!!”
Lisa Freeman Wehring said, “AGREED!!! We were just talking about the fact that this year there (were) only five because school year starts earlier. I say we kick the Summer Concerts earlier. Community fun!”
Among the city’s challenges in 2018, the Pier arguably was the most imporant priority to the public.
Lynn Maxwell said, “Re-do of the Pier. The Pier is a big draw for visitors and is languishing in a stew of inactivity.”
Sharon Jacobs said, “Complete the repair of the Pier. Forget finding a restaurant for the end. Just fix it please.”
Jess Mendoza said, “Fix Pier and put a city owned gazebo at the end. Book music performances for it and plays. Local coffee/dessert cart. City won’t have to worry about any major damage again. Brings in visitors while keeping it small. Maybe someone can make my idea a reality. Haha.”
Dawn Sasse-Southern said, “Decrease in Main Street revenues and foot traffic due to Pier closure/parking meters/high business rental costs.”
Jennifer Leigh Mosher said: “Obstacles and challenge—attracting and fast tracking development at the end of Pier. Obstacle and challenge—funding more police officers in 18/19 City budget
Challenge—restoring faith in city government.”
Shelly Bolander said, “If we had a restaurant again at the end of the Pier, can you just imagine the much needed income our city would receive! It’s a win-win for residents, visitors and the city budget. Having a tram is an awesome idea, even peddlers would work. The structure needs to be rebuilt so build it strong!”
Crime and hiring more police officers were very much on the public’s collective mind.
Samantha Mottet said, “My top priority would be more visible police to keep the crime down/out and the unwanted thieves out! Thieves don’t want to be in areas heavily monitored by police. Do police still patrol on bikes? Especially at night? That’s the best in my opinion … bike patrol.”
Natalie Clegg said, “No. 1. The fact of the matter is that we shouldn’t have to feel unsafe in our town, especially Seal Beach. We shouldn’t have to be forced to adapt to be constantly on edge.”
Annette Anderson-Jones said, “In my opinion … Pier repaired (far too long, time to get her done), sidewalks repaired (surprised there hasn’t been a lawsuit), more police patrolling Main Street and neighborhoods (this is the worst crime I have seen in the 38 years living here). Last but not least the coyote issue.”
Michele Hall, who said she retired from Seal Beach PD a few years ago, said, “Law enforcement is facing so many challenges. Confusing court rulings, the ever increasing cost for technology so needed by all LE departments, the need for competitive salaries to continue to bring in the best, help to add personnel to support staff within the PD and the city. So much we need, but what we NEED the most is the continued support of the community, continued communication. We are last of the small town beach cities and we are a diamond. We just need to continue to shine.”
Coyotes have been a local issue for years. Joanne Finn-Koval said, “Rename town Coyote Beach since there are more of them than seals! Truth in advertising!”
Elizabeth Broaddus Kelly said, “Solve coyote dilemma w/o killing them, of course. Fix the end of the Pier.
Fix City Council with proactive people interested in working on Seal Beach issues.”
(Editor’s note: Ms. Kelly is not related to the reporter.)
Jeromy Ford advocated relocating coyotes.
However, California law prohibits the relocation of coyotes.
Rachel Copeland said, “Resolve the coyote issue, fix the Pier, a farmers market like on a Friday or Saturday not in competition with the one in Long Beach on Sundays, more lights down streets that are dark like the one behind Pavilions.”
Survey participants also offered their thoughts on city finances and other issues.
Steven Stasoiski said, “Increase revenue and decrease unlawfulness.”
Gypsy Warner said, “Stop hiring consultants to do studies, far too many in the last few years. All the money spent on consultants would have paid for more police or the parking revenues they want to charge for or many other things. Time for our city manager and department to do their own work. Fix the coyote problem instead of saying trapping did not work two years ago because it sure did help.”
Shandra Lee said, “Stop the local parking enforcement on Main/Ocean. Visitors and residents are generating business by coming into town and shopping local. Instead, park in the chevron parking lot on a Friday and Saturday night and give sobriety tests and ticket 80 percent of the people incapable of driving after leaving Mahe. We live on 14th Street. Our truck has been sideswiped five times and my new Hylander twice. That’s $3,500 in deductibles we have had to cover in the last three years. Make 14th St (narrowest Street in Seal Beach) permit parking only and Mahe customers actually use the Mahe parking lot for free. That’s an idea.”
Lisa Freeman Wehring said, “Just say NO to paid parking on Main Street! The rising costs for rent, either for retailers or housing has been astonishing. Hello…What about that Pier?? Aren’t we the oldest wood Pier in CA, let’s take care of it! I had a great idea for Cinderellas’ Castle to be built on the end of the Pier…but NOBODY is listening.”
Bill Simpson said, “More affordable housing … Seal’s demo is aging rapidly because multi dwelling units are replaced by huge monstrosities. We are losing 20 and 30 somethings as they’re priced out of Seal. At this pace, 20 years from now (we) will be a bedroom community with a Main Street … and not a vibrant community. Lived here 15 years. The demographic change in Old Town has aged heavily over that time.”
Carrie Moon agreed with Simpson. “Housing costs are out of control. I’m seeing rent prices skyrocket weekly and talking to families that are struggling to stay in this community but their income isn’t increasing as fast as rent (my family included),” Moon said.