Long Beach Surfer’s Association President Billy Kupferman and others urged the city to gather input from residents, and submitted to the council a list of 13 questions, including whether LiRo would engineer a protective barrier for the boardwalk, what materials the city is considering and whether FEMA would reimburse the city only if the boardwalk were rebuilt exactly as it was.
“When people ask questions, I need to hear the answers,” Kupferman said. “Everybody is concerned right now … when we don’t have information, we go on rumor. I think that to involve us in the process is kind of a gift … we need to be involved.”
Mandel emphasized that there would be time for public input, and said that city officials would respond to Kupferman’s questions after the meeting.
Others asked whether fast-tracking the reconstruction of the boardwalk was a smart move. “Is it responsible for us to move forward with something like this at this time without the coordination of the Army Corps and their suggestions?” asked resident Larry Berkowitz.
Schnirman responded that expediting the process was responsible. “The Army Corps project … if we were to merge them together, we would not get the boardwalk paid for … and we would slow down the boardwalk reconstruction by several years,” he said.
Former City Councilman Denis Kelly said that the council should hold public hearings. “People are starving for information and the ability to have input and make comments,” Kelly said. “I don’t see why there would be any problem with having a boardwalk meeting. I don’t have a problem with full steam ahead … but don’t leave the people out or they’re going to resent you, no matter what you decide.”