Letters, emails, statements and website comments | Nov. 17

Giving back
For those of us who were fortunate to know Jerry Caligiuri, we were truly blessed. [“Former Long Beach council office aide, community leader dies: Jerry Caligiuri was a ‘volunteer extraordinaire’,” Nov. 3, 2017] He selflessly gave of himself. Whether it was personal, civic or political, he always had the time.
Now it is time for us, his friends, to give to him. This can be done via the GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/in-memory-of-jerry-caligiuri.
Thank you in advance.

Dorianne Graham
Long Beach

Being overlooked… in more ways than one?
I am writing this in response to City Manager Pat West’s recent public comments regarding the update of the City of Long Beach land-use element (LUE). [Letters: “How does your city grow?’ Nov. 10, 2017] I would like to start by pointing out the hypocrisy of Mr. West composing a sentence ending with “makes us all proud to live, work and play here.” This statement rings rather hollow as, despite his long tenure as city manager, Mr. West continues to live in a city other than Long Beach. Although he is employed by the City, he has far less skin in the game than residents of Long Beach. I also take exception to his statement that the proposed LUE “preserves existing single-family neighborhoods.” As currently proposed, the updated LUE will allow four- and five-story buildings directly behind single-family homes that back up onto some of our corridors. In most cases, lot size will not allow for any appreciable setbacks or buffering. Imagine walking out to enjoy morning coffee in the back yard of your long-time home, only to be overlooked by countless midrise dwellers.
Mr. West goes on to promise a significant density reduction in the soon-to-be-released revised maps. Guess what– the maps are out, and it seems that Mr. West needs to consult a dictionary as to the meaning of “significant.” He asks for community involvement with regard to this issue, but thus far staff has responded to input with lip service and an outright dismissive attitude.
I agree that discussions and disagreements should be handled in a respectful manner, but this is hard to reconcile with our being continually treated in a patronizing and/or downright rude manner, complete with personal attacks by some staff members. City authorities keep stressing that the proposed update to the LUE is the result of many years and countless hours of work. While this is undoubtedly true, it seems to me that anything worth spending years on is also worth getting right, and getting it right must include being attentive and responsive to the concerns of the stakeholders. Staff might find the local citizenry to be more supportive if they remember that the true stakeholders are the residents of our fine city, not just developers and the politicians that they bankroll.

Mike Laquatra
Long Beach

Open minds open hearts
I was dealing with a project today involving multiple players with diverse views and a fair amount of baggage, when it was suggested by one that further discussion should occur away from the group, privately, although the matter concerned the entire group. Usually, this happens when someone is disagreed with and doesn’t want everyone to see that, or worse, he or she senses dissent and is forming an “enemy camp.” I began thinking that this behavior has become common from the heights of government power, to the television networks and often when religious or social issues are involved. It helps not the world at large and surely not our animals and vulnerable classes as it is a form of discourse that accomplishes nothing but petty score-setting with the stated goal becoming an excuse for a fight rather than an achievement.
Trying to force people to stop sharing opinions publicly, whether via a list serve, news program, schoolroom or Twitter should shock our collective conscience. We can all choose to agree or not, participate on a list serve or not, watch a program or not, donate, tweet, protest or not. We can participate in any project or not. We cannot, ever, shut each other up.
On this Veterans Day, I ask all of you to stop trying to hide comments that you disagree with, stop trying to silence the dissemination of information that you don’t want to hear, and honor the freedoms that we have that allow us to both brawl and hug in public. These are the freedoms for which our veterans fought, and continue to sacrifice their time, health and lives. Saying “thank you for your service” or “our prayers are with you” is a nice easy social conceit that honors them not at all if we squander our freedoms and their valiant efforts to protect them.

Madeline Bernstein
spcaLA President

What does the Bible say?
In response to recent letters and comments in the Signal Tribune [Letters: “Eat the gay away?” Nov. 10, 2017], I feel called to make this statement to members of the LGBTQ community:
You are not lost in your sin. You are not an abomination. Every aspect of your identity is beautiful and holy, including your sexual orientation or gender identity– it’s how God created you! I am sorry for the actions of many in the church who have denied rights and equality and dignity to so many in the name of God.
It’s not just me saying this. Many Christians and many places of worship agree. This is especially true here in our wonderful city of Long Beach. Many mainstream Bible scholars also agree. If you’re wondering about what the Bible says: the Bible says we are to love. Love is the greatest, most important command. Everything else that appears in scripture must be judged and evaluated in light of this.
Please know that you have my love and my support, and that I will defend you and your right to live out the identity God has given you.

Danny Bradfield
Pastor
Bixby Knolls Christian Church
Long Beach

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