Two members of the public comment at City Council Strategic Planning Workshop

Issues raised include turnout, Old Ranch EIR, Olympics, and trash from river

There were few people in the audience at Fire Station 48 on N. Gate Road, Seal Beach. Only two members of the public actually spoke during public comment, which was held at the start of the Seal Beach City Council Strategic Planning Workshop of April 4. The meeting is used to set council priorities. There were six individuals present in the audience at the start of the meeting. Several of them left before it ended.

The meeting is held every year, though not always in the same month. Last year’s meeting was held in September.

Catherine Showalter, who represents District Four on the Environmental Quality Control Board was the first to speak. Showalter had three comments for the workshop.

“First of all, the community outreach for today’s meeting. The only materials available online to me was meeting notice and agenda and I’m sure that’s true too for other community members as well,” Showalter  said.

“When Googling, I found a 2020 strategic plan document that had not been updated in three years,” Showalter  said.

She said it was hard to make public comments when materials were not available to the public.

“The second comment I have has to do again with community outreach, but it’s for the potential developments such as the Old Ranch project, and I would really appreciate if something is included in the strategic plan as far as items coming out of this meeting today,” Showalter  said.

She reminded the council there was going to be an EIR and scoping meeting for the Old Ranch project. She said she was hoping Seal Beach could get the word out to the community and reserve a space large enough to accommodate at least 100 community members. Showalter suggested reserving the golf auditorium or the high school auditorium. Showalter said it would be a great civics projects for the students.

“And then my third comment has to do with a strategic issue that’s coming and that’s not here today. And that is the 2028 LA Olympics. It’s only five years away. And that seems like a long time but it’s really not,” Showalter  said.

She cited several events to be held in Long Beach, including BMX racing, water polo, a triathlon, and open water swimming.

“And I just want, again, for us to be prepared, whatever that means. Are we at the table? Are we talking about maybe potential transportation through the Orange County Transit District or Long Beach transit if community members want to go to some of these events?” Showalter  asked.

“So and if so then let’s let the community know let’s get excited about this. This is a big deal,” Showalter said.

Pete Arnold, who described himself as a long-term resident, was disappointed by the small public turnout for the meeting.

At the time, Arnold spoke.

Arnold suggested council members bring someone with them to the workshop. “But I don’t know how to set that up where it wouldn’t turn into another council meeting,” Arnold said.

“I’d like to thank everyone on the council and staff for going through what I thought was a very tough year, even though COVID was over, we had storms, we had flooding,  with the Almighty God—the state of California—dictating what we have to do,” Arnold said.

He was also concerned about trash coming down the San Gabriel River.

“And I think that’s one of my biggest issues and I know it’s probably an analyst problem because you’ve got all 50 cities between here and San Gabriel, dumping their waste into their San Gabriel River,” Arnold said.