Letters to the Editor

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Sun should be ashamed of Gum Grove story

I am amazed by the article in the Sun about the illegal digging and riding bikes in Gum Grove. You should be ashamed of yourself. If anyone did any research on what is going on, the article would have not been written. The digging first, is from the City which has DONE nothing for the past 6 months to complete the work they started leaving large holes. If the city is having an issue, then they need to fix it. Kids do ride their bikes back there along with a lot of other people who are walking, riding, taking pictures and/or just enjoying being outside. I have seen kids digging and would not allow my own kids to dig but a sign would be nice to post if it’s illegal. I had a confrontation with a lady who was filming my kids because they were riding their bikes. I told her to leave us alone and call the cops if she had an issue.

Your lack of journalism is concerning and one sided.

Crystal Menser

Horrified by Gum Grove destruction

I was horrified to see the front page story on the destruction in Gum Grove Park. To think that people feel entitled to dig up city parkland to have fun on bicycles is outrageous. As a 40-year resident of Seal Beach, I have enjoyed nature study and dog walks in the peaceful surroundings, and we’re approaching another brilliant display of Springtime flowers. The GGP is Seal Beach’s only hill, a refuge from the fast lane, and deserves our attention and protection now, before it’s too late.

It’s a mistake to suggest that we be “patient” with the hooligans who desecrate someone else’s home territory—wildlife is nesting now, and will not tolerate extra noise and upheaval in their Eucalyptus grove. Our wild neighbors have become accustomed to people quietly walking or jogging, but this ruination is appalling. Furthermore, I think the Police Chief’s solution is weak and misguided. If the city doesn’t care to protect Gum Grove Park, who will? I understand that posting a guard 24/7 is impossible, but BIG signage on both ends with clear warnings is essential, and if the Police Volunteers would alert nearby residents and those who frequent the park about the situation, maybe the offenders will take heed.

Perhaps a neighborhood watch-type patrol would encourage locals to exercise as they look out for the kids or adults responsible for the damaging activities they assume is their right. Perhaps the city will rope off the disgusting dugouts and ramps, posting signs saying that they AND their use are illegal. What’s the point in being “patient” with kids who may be bored or reckless? Let them form garage bands, play basketball, ride on bike trail or raise money for a bike park with well-designed obstacles to challenge them, as skateboarders have done.

Please: ban the bikes and the scooters immediately, and let the kids—if ever identified—pick up trash on the beach for penance. I believe the punishment should fit the crime, and that would benefit the community instead of degrading it. What they’ve done is unacceptable and must be met with consequences … a lecture or a fine for the parents to pay is not an answer. Even little kids are able to understand something as simple as “Don’t hurt the park” but if we stand aside and let it happen, we’re at fault too.

Let the friends of Gum Grove know that it’s in danger from heedless people who would destroy it for their own pleasure, and let the SUN lead a lively movement in the interest of saving a sensitive corner of Mother Nature. Thank you for helping to resolve this problem.

Sincerely,

Lois Sheppard

Chief Gonshak on Gum Grove enforcement

Since this issue was brought to our attention, the Seal Beach Police Department has been tracking calls for service related to children and parents building dirt ramps for bicycle jumps and in turn physically using them for such in Gum Grove Park. In total, since January 1, 2021, the Seal Beach Police Department has received 7 Calls for service. With that, let me provide a few important pieces of information regarding how we approach this type of quality of life call for service. Barring both an immediate and necessary need to resolve a quality of life issue with a citation or worse, an arrest, the Seal Beach Police Department prefers to work through an identify, educate, warn, then as a last resort enforcement approach, all in that specific order.

I will certainly write you, that this approach has been highly effective during this pandemic, and although, we do have a need to be extremely aggressive criminally in some instances, our educational approach has seemingly been used effectively by a large amount of law enforcement organizations throughout the nation. With that, the Seal Beach Municipal Code 7.20.045(A) – Damaging City Property, states: No person shall damage or deface any city property. For purposes of this chapter of the Seal Beach Municipal Code, City Property is defined in 7.20.005, as property owned by the city, including without limitation the public beach, pier, parks and public parking facilities.

So again, we lean on our Seal Beach citizens, visitors, and businesses to file complaints regarding children building dirt ramps and ask they be patient with our response times, while we balance them with other calls for service where their police department is needed post haste. Lastly, I would ask our community to please be mindful of the fact that since this pandemic began, our children have been asked to stay home from school and in the same request we are encouraging them to go outside and exercise, hence causing this balancing act of what is good for the soul may not also be good for Gum Grove.

As always, thank you for your time and please let me know if there are any questions.

SBPD Chief Phil Gonshak

Entitlement

The sense of entitlement of some of the kids now living in our town has no boundaries. From racial harassment, kicking in car doors, lighting firecrackers in alleys, hitting driving cars with stuff, to destruction of our best kept secret “Gum Grove Park.” These kids need to be reigned in and taught that they are not entitled to destroy what ever they please or wreak havoc as they please. I blame not only the kids but the parents who are not parenting their kids and teaching them respect for others, property and our town. Thousands of kids have played in Gum Grove with nothing but their imagination, sticks, bikes and their friends without damaging or destroying the place. As kids we all played in there for hours on weekends, summers and after school with no litter, damage or destruction of trees done. We simply took what was around us and built forts, caught pollywogs, and rode bikes down Deadman’s Hill. The fact that “City Officials” knew of this destruction and did nothing about it sickens me to no end and they need to Stop making excuses and do something about it before the damage is too great to repair. Thousands of kids have respected, played, and enjoyed Gum Grove without causing damage of this magnitude. The city needs to make this a higher priority and patrol, then hold the parents financially accountable for their kids and maybe it will stop.

We should applaud Ed Hirsch for his effort to stop this destruction. Not only did he grow up playing there but his parents were on the “Save Gum Grove Comitee” that worked for preservation of the trees. Mr. Hirsch teaches his kids by example to respect the environment (just as his parents did) and It’s people like his family who preserve our town and make it a great place to live.

Dawn Southern

Seal Beach

Rossmoor beware

The Rossmoor Community Services District (RCSD) under President Jeff Barke is attempting a backdoor run to expand its powers without community voice or vote!

At a “special” called meeting Feb 24 without advanced notification, RCSD approved by a vote of 4 yes 1 no (Director Searles voted against) to endorse Assembly Woman Janet Nguyen introducing a bill in the State Legislature giving the RCSD the authority to expand its own powers! These powers can include law enforcement, animal control, trash collection, etc., all under the guise of local control! There was never a discussion as to the cost to homeowners to pay for these extra services now provided by the County. Remember in 2008 with the effort by Supervisor Moorlach to Incorporate Rossmoor as our own city, the cost to the residents then was a 9% utility tax (15-20% today).

Now the RCSD instead of going through the standard and equitable process of seeking approval through LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Committee) they have found another tactic by going directly to the State Legislature for approval without community input. And the sole authority to add these powers will then lie in the hands of the 3 member majority of the the 5 member RCSD Board. President Barke, in promoting the decision stated, “Just because we have the power doesn’t mean we will exercise it!” Really???

Thanks to the Volunteer Rossmoor Homeowners Association (RHA) for their strong objection to this clandestine like move without regard to the impact on the community. RHA has always been the voice of the community and we need them now more than ever!

Del Clark

Rossmoor

Letters to the Editor