Letters, emails, website comments and statements | Jan. 26, 2018

But that’s another story
When home buyers commit to hefty down payments and mortgage payments, it is with the reasonable expectation that their neighborhoods won’t be given the shaft by bureaucrats, planning commissioners and elected officials.
Parts of the proposed land-use element (LUE) reveal a glaring lack of research and common sense on the part of Long Beach city planners— and a terrible insensitivity to some established land uses that work and need to be protected.
The proposed LUE misidentifies Bethany Lutheran Church and School on the southeast corner of Arbor Road and Clark Avenue as a public park or open space.
The proposed LUE fails to show Donald Douglas Plaza, a vest-pocket public park, at the southwest corner of Carson Street and Lakewood Boulevard, thus diminishing the park’s status as a public place. Apparently, through the LUE, city planners want to keep this space available for future non-park uses. They ignore the fact that the Parks and Rec Commission in October 2006 unanimously approved the plan for this oasis that honors aviation pioneer Douglas. There are statues, plaques, benches, a bike rack, big trees and a “City of Long Beach” sign donated by Boeing. City staff’s disconnect with this reality makes me think that Development Services is dysfunctional.
If the LBCC Board of Trustees ever wants to replace the Long Beach City College parking lots north of Carson Street with 60-foot-high buildings, the proposed LUE would support that. This would be to the detriment of those living in single-family homes facing the campus.
In overwhelmingly one- and two-story Lakewood Village, where we own a home, the proposed LUE would allow new three-story apartment houses. That would eventually eliminate backyard privacy for at least some single-family homes on Pepperwood, Montair and Greenmeadow. Unacceptable!
In north Long Beach, through the proposed LUE, City staff and the planning commissioners say it’s OK to build new four-story apartment houses behind single-family homes on Via Barola, located in an overwhelmingly one- and two-story neighborhood. I own property on this street. Certain city officials just don’t give a damn, as long as they’re not losing their own backyard privacy. Unacceptable!
If the proposed LUE is certified as is by the city council, it would allow City officials to give their fellow citizens the shaft!

David Denevan
Long Beach

Reviews reviewed
Anita, thank you for the review. [“Theatre review: Long Beach Shakespeare Company’s A Scandal in Bohemia,” Jan. 19, 2018] The cast— which includes academics— all remarked on how well written your reviews are. You are truly a gem in the entertainment reporting side of journalism.
Thank you.

Dana Leach
Long Beach Shakespeare Company

Cagey with numbers?
In a recent issue, [Long Beach] Mayor [Robert] Garcia stated that the number of animals euthanized by the city animal shelter (LBACS) was down by 36 percent and the live-release rate was up by 8 percent. [“LB boasts record year of ‘increased positive outcomes for animals in community’: Watchdog group says City’s shared stats only show part of the story,” Jan. 12, 2018]
Stayin’ Alive Long Beach has been monitoring Mayor Garcia’s use of LBACS statistics for several years, and the statistics released [that] week clearly demonstrate the misleading way that Mayor Garcia typically reports LBACS’s statistics to the media. Notice that, in the first instance, that of euthanasias, he has reported the number of euthanasias. In the second case, he has reported the rate of live releases. He has chosen to do this because these are the most favorable numbers to report, although he is not comparing similar measures (apples to apples), which is required for a valid analysis of shelter progress.
The accurate way to report a shelter’s progress is to report that LBACS’s euthanasia rate has decreased by 8 percent (or even more accurately, by 8 percentage points)— not the 36 percent the mayor has cited. Because the euthanasia rate and the live-release rate are complements of each other, this also means that the live-release rate has increased by 8 percent (percentage points). The 36-percent figure cited is misleading, and it gives the public the wrong impression about the impact their tax dollars are having and the number of animals that are being unnecessarily euthanized at the shelter, which are many. And it is worth noting, the 8-percentage-point decrease in the euthanasia rate would be much larger— and more lives would be saved— if LBACS had a full adoption program, independent of SpcaLA, which uses restrictive adoption criteria to approve adoptions, as seen in their promotional materials.
Another problem with Mayor Garcia’s numbers is they don’t mention adoptions. Perhaps that is because the adoption rate has barely crept up over the past year from 9 percent of all animal outcomes (571 adoptions) in 2016 to 12 percent of outcomes (682 adoptions) in 2017. This is an extremely small increase relative to other cities’ adoption numbers. Sacramento did over 5,000 adoptions from January to November 2017. With an intake of over 10,000 animals, this means that Sacramento adopted out nearly 50 percent of their animals into homes, rather than transferring them to rescues, transporting them out of state (which is stressful to the animals) and transferring them to other shelters for longer shelter stays, as LBACS does.
The comparison is striking, and it should really make people wonder: Why is LBACS still euthanizing over a thousand animals a year when LBACS’s adoption program is clearly not running at capacity?
Stayin’ Alive has written an analysis of the City’s inaccurate reporting measures. Our report can be found [at tinyurl.com/y7prr9vp].
We hope that people will look at the issues, evaluate the claims of all involved and work politically to help to shape their animal shelter. Long Beach is a progressive city of animal lovers— they deserve an animal shelter that reflects their compassionate values.

Patricia Turner, Ph.D.
Stayin’ Alive Long Beach