Old Town residents share their concerns about spending, landscaping

Seven Seal Beach residents attended the Coffee Chat on June 20 held at Bogart’s Coffee House, which was hosted by District One Councilwoman Ellery Deaton and Finance Director Vikki Beatley. The meeting was advertised as focusing mainly on the upcoming budget adoption, but attendees could ask any questions they had for Deaton and Beatley. Much of the discussion pertained to infrastructure improvement.

Longtime Seal Beach resident John Baker said that while walking on the pier, he noticed problems with the lamps.

“The beautiful lamps are rotting away,” Baker said. “They are not maintained. The paint is coming off.”

Deaton said that while pier refurbishments are currently being planned, this would be a good opportunity to look at the lamp posts as well, which she said are very old.

Terry Mewes, another Seal Beach resident, said that a sign for 12th Street is missing on 12th Street and Ocean Avenue. Deaton said that there is room for new signage in the budget.

Resident Linda King voiced her concerns about landscaping in Seal Beach.

“I heard there was a problem with keeping the greenery up,” King said. “It has not gotten back to the pristine level Seal Beach is known for.”

Deaton explained that about six months ago, the city lost its landscaping contractor, who suddenly announced that he had gone bankrupt. Since then, the city has been trying to catch up on landscaping. However, some areas in need of refurbishment, such as a median on PCH, are not owned by the city.

According to Deaton and Beatley, improvements are also needed on the library, the Marina Center, the Senior Center, and lifeguard towers, as these structures experienced leaks with recent heavy rain. The pier remains their priority, and will be constructed so that it is able to hold a restaurant, though whether a restaurant will open there is dependent on the opinions of the community.

King also mentioned that she had seen many dogs walking on the pier, where they are not allowed.

She said that she had seen some dog owners who did not clean up after their pets. Deaton said that she believed someone should be patroling the pier, but the city does not have enough police officers to patrol it or enough funding to hire an additional officer.

She encouraged others to remind dog owners to abide by the rules.

“We’re the residents,” Deaton said. “I figure it’s my responsibility to tell people dogs are not allowed—for good reason.”

Discussion turned to the issue of underground wiring, but Deaton said that is too expensive for the city to consider.

Baker asked how much money is spent on flags along Main Street, and said that he was concerned that crews may be wasting time. Beatley said that $20,000 is spent on putting up, maintaining, and replacing flags each year. Deaton insisted that the small crew works hard and is not wasting time.