Flood height maps have shown that the worst flooding took place on the bay side of Long Beach. Water from the bay caused us to lose three schools, the hospital, the library, the West End firehouse, the Rec, and the sewage treatment plant, along with a significant number of homes and businesses.
The city has made it very clear that it is their intention to rebuild Long Beach “stronger, smarter and safer.” These words are printed on the cover of the city’s calendar and were repeated over and over again at the boardwalk demolition ceremony. But what exactly does this mean? We have yet to be told how it’s going to happen.
Are we going to include the recommendations made by the independent experts that we hired and have been paying to help us? If our rebuilding does not include CP&E’s recommendations, I would like to know why. If it’s because we have found another expert who proved the first expert wrong and has a better idea, fine. If it’s because we want to make sure there is a boardwalk rebuilt for Memorial Day weekend, that to me is not OK.
Are we worried about what a boardwalk made out of something other than wood may look like? Are we worried about a summer without a boardwalk? Are we worried about funds? Are we worried that residents living along the bay will be upset if bulkheads are raised? These worries are legitimate, but certainly should not keep us from trying to build a genuinely better, safer and stronger Long Beach.
We have put our faith in City Manager Jack Schnirman and the City Council in the same way that a family puts their faith in a doctor when a loved one is sick. We understand that they will ultimately make the final decision when it comes to choosing a storm protection plan, but we need to be kept in the loop. We ask that they include us in their decision-making and let us help. We also hope that they don’t make hasty decisions, and allow us to publicly ask questions so that as a community, we may hear and understand their thoughts. The city has already paid for the experts to come up with a plan, and it should listen to them.
We are at a crucial point in our city’s history, and it is imperative that all decisions be made with the best interests of Long Beach in mind.