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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Update of AYSO proposal to put lights on soccer field

I have been walking the area directly across from where AYSO is proposing installing field lights so their team members can practice after dark.

Several neighbors are circulating a flyer alerting neighbors about the proposal which has generated many, many emails to me in opposition. I also have been circulating a smaller flyer about the AYSO proposal asking that residents contact me with their opinion.

I want to clarify this proposal again: (also see right hand column for AYSO slides)
  1. This is AYSO's proposal and not the City's. The City doesn't have money to install lights on any field.
  2. AYSO claims that the lights are needed so their team members (up to age 19) can practice after dark.
  3. They propose to place them at Willow and Studebaker where they practice and play currently.
  4. AYSO is proposing to pay for the lights if the city waives field fees and electricity charges.
  5. A city staff report on the impact of these lights and costs to the city has not been completed.
  6. Residents who have contacted me in favor of the lights cite that the lights will enable their children to have more soccer practices after school. (Conversely, several soccer parents are opposed to the lights because they don't want their children practicing until 9 or 9:45 pm.)
  7. Residents who have contacted me in opposition to the lights cite that the lights will change the character of the park and will bring increased traffic and noise to the neighborhood after dark and will negatively impact the birds and wildlife. (Conversely, some residents feel that the use of the park at night by young people is a good thing if it keeps them busy.)
  8. I am concerned that without a recreation "master plan" in place we will be spot developing parks all over the city.
  9. Because of the increasing impact of team sports at local parks and the neighborhoods that surround them, I have asked city staff to find park space away from the neighborhoods where soccer fields and lights could be placed.
Some have suggested doing what other cities such as Riverside have done: have portable lights on the field one night a week to enable a night practice or game. The lights can be rented and it prevents the park from being turned into a full week of night activities.

Other point out that the wattage and intensity of lights used strictly for practice and not games is much lower and less invasive.

Other suggestions: use Milikan High School (am looking into that); Vets Stadium (also inquiring)....

Note: No decision on the lights will be made unless and until there is a full public hearing at which all concerned parties on both sides will be invited to attend.

Meeting today on cell tower placement

Despite my stated concerns against placing a cell tower on a church lot in the 5th District at Wardlow and Studebaker, the cell phone company thinks it can convince the neighborhood.

I don't think so. I was at a Neighborhood Watch in that neighborhood on Thrs. night and no one there wanted the cell tower.

Today is also the 90th Anniversary of the League of Women Voters. They are celebrating at Los Altos Library at 10 am.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Voted Against Gas Rate Increase

Yep. Last night voted against a 2.9% increase in natural gas rates for residents. Was the only one to do so. With residents hurting from this economy, it makes no sense to increase rates just because SoCal Gas did so.

The City charter clearly spells out that the City utility has to have comparable rates with surrounding utilities -- the intent was to make sure residents don't pay more than other customers of gas utilities. So increasing our rates because SoCal Gas did isn't logical.

Especially, when on the same council agenda the council voted to give back 50% of sales tax to a local toyota dealer because of the harsh economic realities that car dealers are hurting for business.

Our residents are hurting too, specifically our seniors who are on fixed incomes. A 2.9% increase wasn't warranted.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Virginia and Snow and 39 Years Ago and the CIA

The Answer: Virginia, snow, 39 years ago and the CIA.
The Question: Where was I in Feb 1971?

I watched the weather channel and saw the snow come down in the east coast -- especially on the Washington, DC area. It brought back memories of 39 years ago this week when I left California to take a job with the Central Intelligence Agency in McLean, VA. Not knowing anything but a little fog and temperatures not below 50, I foolishly packed my bags with polyester pant suits and promptly froze when I landed at Dulles Airport.

It took two months to get my first pay check from the CIA -- because I had to undergo an intense security clearance -- so I had to wait to get warmer clothes and by then the snow turned to icy rain.

I was just 21 and it was quite an adventure. I wound up working in the North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Cambodian section proofreading intelligence reports sent from those countries on the war we were waging. I lived in a duplex with 4 other people for $50 a month who also worked at the CIA. We were all clerk typists and I was the only one from California. The other applicants from California were promptly dismissed when it came out that they used drugs.
That duplex was a pit. The owner's idea of cleaning it was to put new varnish on the furniture which captured a couple of cockroaches in the process.

After several months of going to work at 5:30 in the morning so I could catch the appropriate public buses, I saved some money and bought an MG midget. That was great fun to drive -- especially on the New Jersey Toll Pike on my way to the Army Navy game in Philadelphia. All that on $3900 a year.

I left the CIA and came back to the warm weather of California to finish college. Went off to Peru to do research and write a paper. Graduated in 9 months with honors and promptly drove back in the summer in my VW to DC and stayed back there through rain, snow, humidity and low wages as I completed my graduate degree and worked in the US Congress for several years.

The City Manager of Long Beach recruited me to come back to Long Beach in 1977 to become the City's first Public information officer and the rest they say is history.

I don't miss the snow or the humidity. Sure do miss my MG Midget and the view of the US Capitol lit at night.

Save Station 18

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