Letters to the Editor: Thursday, March 15, 2018

Passing the torch at First Street restaurant

It’s a brisk and windy morning as the walkers head down Ocean running into 1st Street. Something is missing as you turn left onto the beach lot, just can’t pin point it. It’s a bit quieter than normal as you walk down towards the parking lot through the grass. You don’t see the typical herd of cyclers, surfers or tourists who stop to enjoy the ocean air taking in the smell of sea.

As you walk closer you realize the beach wood sign that was once nailed to the side of the building reading The River’s End Café is gone. Is it true? As of Tuesday, February 20th, owner Mike Balchin served his last burger, cobb salad and other favorite dishes before blowing out the torch and closing his door.

For over 20 years The River’s End Café served food from a patio that exposed diners to tranquil views of the sand and sea. Mike Balchin is a long time member and loyal supporter of the Surfrider Foundation where he has donated time, food and money for many years and is a faithful contributor to schools and charity organizations. Don’t think he’s hanging his apron up, he’s taking his menu to Long Beach where he will open M&L Country Café in the weeks to come.

The River’s End Café was not the first establishment on the sand tucked in that little pocket of Seal Beach. In 1977 Jack Haley, a long time resident on Ocean and founder of Captain Jacks in Sunset Beach, caught wind that the four walls with a sand floor and no ceiling was up for bid at City Council.

What a great opportunity he thought to show his three kids Sondra age 15, Jack Jr. age 12 and Tim age 10 how to run a business.

He marched them up to City Hall and much to their surprise, they were the only ones there who would bid for what became Mr. W’s (Mr. Wonderful). It was in 1979 when they opened the three wood windows serving hot dogs, nachos, and ice cream.

It was a one stop shop where you could rent a surfboard and eat a snack at the same time. Years passed and Sondra, Jack Jr. and Tim were ready to hang up their aprons and pass the torch as they each accepted letters from USC, UCLA and CSULB.

Years have passed as each tenant has left his footprint in the sand creating memories for those who live, love and play on the sand next to the beach lot. It’s a new year, a new time for new faces to create their own stamp in the sand. 2018 will do just that and open a new establishment called The Beach House at the River’s End offering craft dishes in a scratch kitchen serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Brian Kyle, a long time resident and previous owner of O’Malley’s will be carrying the torch alongside two other partners. One David Coe, a family man who graduated from CSULB living in Huntington Beach. He’s involved in commercial and investment Real Estate and a proprietor with several other ventures that include restaurants and various other businesses. Rosie Ritchie, a local mother of three and a successful Real Estate agent here in Seal Beach keeps her finger on the pulse of the town. She’s the director of Be the Good (Miss Seal Beach Organization), on the Board of Directors of the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce, a Lion and founder of Band on the Sand held every 3rd of July.

It’s an exciting opportunity for Rosie, Dave and myself to bring a new name on the sand creating a fun and trendy community destination.

“We will keep the same foot print and adjust the interior allowing The Beach House the ability to support community functions, fund raisers, corporate events and weddings” said Brian Kyle. So prepare your palate for a tantalizing menu from a talented team ready to serve in the summer of 2018. For more information contact Rosie Ritchie at rosieritchie@yahoo.com

Brian Kyle

Poor framing on Seal Beach crime story

Re: 3/8/18 article “Some Seal Beach Residents show interest in Neighbor 4 Neighbor crime reduction program”

In today’s world of fake news, the value of accurate reporting is more important than ever.  In addition, I believe journalists have a responsibility to avoid sensation and the promotion of fear in their reporting.

To that end, I was disappointed to see the lead sentence in this article state “With local crime clearly rising…”.

While there has been an increase in reported non-violent “theft” crime in the last few years, broadly speaking other crime statistics are substantially lower than in years past.  This is an accomplishment Seal Beach’s police department and our community should be very proud of.  A small amount of investigative journalism would have revealed the reality of crime statistics in our city and a more meaningful article could have been written.

According to data from both UCRdatatool.gov and city-data.com, Seal Beach’s reported violent crime events in the 1980s and 90s often exceeded 100 per year.  In the 2000s the average was closer to 50, and so far this decade the average has been closer to 25, a 75 percent reduction.  With regard to reported non-violent property crime, the 80s and 90s frequently saw 750-800 events per year, while in the 2000s the average was closer to 450.

In the last few years, due to higher reported theft, the average has been closer to 550 per year, but still far lower than earlier decades.

Ascertaining the reason for this – perhaps cell phone theft as a relatively new reality – would provide perspective.  That said, programs such as Neighbor 4 Neighbor are excellent, and any actions or efforts to reduce all crime should be pursued.

However, framing the story accurately would be better journalism.

David Morris

Seal Beach

Supporting gun rights

We proudly proclaim we are “The Land of the Free” and sincerely believe this.  Yet every law passed by the local, state and federal governments take from us another freedom.

Earlier this year Speaker of the House Paul Ryan stated the house passed over 300 new laws.  Now I ask you, with all the laws passed since 1787 and already on the books don’t you think we could find one that addresses every possible situation?  Through the passing of laws the government continues taking away more of our liberties.

So in response to the writer in the Sun’s Letter to the Editor dated 3/8/18 asking people not to vote for or give money to any US Representative who takes money from a law aiding company that strongly supports one of our Bill of Rights;  I will continue to financially support and vote for ANY Representative who fights for the Constitution.

I want the younger generations to have the opportunities I have.  I wish I had the freedoms my parents had.  But giving up more and more of our rights will eventually lead us into a government run country, not a country run by “We the People.” This is called communism and how well did that work for the USSR?

Chicago has the most restrictive gun laws in the USA.  Is that working out for them? Not so much!  Chicago is considered the “Murder Capitol” of the country. So No”….we do not need additional laws.  We need common sense in our government and an enforcement of the current laws.  We also need to support representatives who will fight for the Constitution.

The Founding Fathers wanted the American people to have the power, not the government.  But sadly, many Americans quickly turn over their rights when something goes wrong.

One final thing … Regarding returning to the days of rifles:  How about returning to the time when there actually was freedom of speech?  When people could say what they wanted without fear of the PC police.  When colleges actually welcomed diversity and exchange of ideas.  When students were not afraid to speak their minds for fear of being ridiculed or getting bad grades? When people got offended by “words” but were ADULT enough to deal with it and not turn into melting Snowflakes. How about we return to those days?

Margene Walz

Seal Beach

Leisure World ‘kicks the can down the road’ on pool renovations

A very curious thing happened at the Leisure World Physical Property Committee Meeting on Monday, March 5, 2018 when a tremendous turnout of Shareholders/Residents, who were concerned about pool renovations, filled some 25 guest seats in the conference room and about another 15 spilled out into the entrance hallway.

However, before the meeting started the Golden Rain Foundation Exc. Dir. Randy L. Ankeny asked the crowd to raise their hands if they were attending because of pool renovations and almost every hand shot into the air.

Then Mr. Ankeny sheepishly announced with a smile that Agenda Item 8c, Under New Business – Architectural Design Services – Aquatic Center, would be removed from the agenda and not considered by the committee.

He continued by trying to assure a doubting crowd that “nothing has been decided” about the swimming pool.  And that an article will be in next week’s LW Weekly regarding a Pool Town Hall meeting planned for April and a questionnaire at the pool will seek user input.

A Shareholder/Resident asked him if the committee could accept user comments now, since so many people were in attendance.  But Mr. Ankeny advised that Agenda Item 8c would be referred to the Recreation Committee for inclusion in their April or May Agenda and comments could be made at that time. This tactic of “kicking the can (the decision) down the road” to wear out the concerned Shareholders/Residents with numerous meetings at various locations with various committees, month after month, is a common strategy employed to wear out those who are concerned until by attrition the approximately 40 folks, who showed up for Monday’s Physical Property Committee meeting, dwindle and the decision to eliminate the lockers and inside showers prevails.

If only a handful of people had showed up for Monday’s Physical Property Committee, perhaps Agenda Item 8c would have remained and the committee would have acted upon the so-called “pool building improvements” resulting in a decision of no lockers and no inside showers.

We’ll never know, but what we have learned is that constant vigilance of LW Shareholders/Residents is needed, so do not give in to the tactic of “kicking the can down the road” and attend every meeting about pool changes to express your concerns, share your ideas, and offer your alternative plans.

Be sure to submit your comments in writing to whatever committee meetings you attend, so your comments will be published under the required Correspondence Section in that committee’s next Agenda.  If you do not submit your comments in writing, then the minutes will simply state “Shareholders/members spoke on items pertaining to the Committee’s area of purview.”  And that statement certainly does not reflect concerns expressed by any shareholder.

Be Vigilant and Be There.

Kathy McGehee,

Leisure World