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Tue May 6 19:13:21 PDT 2014

James' proposal (like some other ideas here on this list) has (with no shame 
or blame on James) another big inherent defect.

Namely, the proposal is based on the presumption that politicians would want 
to know and maybe even heed what the public wants - or anyhow thinks it 

That's definitely not true in this town.

Most outsiders know Long Beach - a town of a half million people 
(California's fifth city - after LA, SD, SJ, SF) - for its touristic veneer 
which features a famous old (and in fact mismanaged and mistreated) ocean 
liner, a boondoggle convention center and aquarium, and remnants of a once 
excellent namesake beach.  But in recent decades and right now, whether from 
ignorance or connivance, our local politicians have been mainly interested 
in turning this town into a high-diesel-pollution job-destroying 
neighborhood-destroying mechanized super-port (and, on the side, airport, 
and feeder freeways).

Over the years and especially lately they've succeeded in getting lots of US 
taxpayer funds - with the blessing of both pro-big-city-govt-burocracy 
'liberals' and pro-big-biz 'conservatives' - to help them do this.  You see, 
our port is now nationally important 'vital infrastructure'; it's half of 
the LA-Long Beach port complex that handles nearly half of all US imports - 
a key part of Bush et al.'s ongoing tax-subsidized force-fed 'free' trade 
campaign to 'outsource' all manner of work from the USA, and to encourage 
import of ever more of ever cheaper foreign goods for the ever fewer people 
who still have US jobs to pay for them.

The local pols' latest brilliant idea - albeit wisely rejected by all other 
proposed localities in the nation, and endorsed mainly just by Bush's Energy 
Secretary - is to actually invite an LNG (liquified natural gas) terminal 
into the port, next to densely settled downtown.  Never mind 9/11 or the 
Algerian disaster or that the city is rightly supposed to be worried about 
possible terrorism targeting the port as a chokepoint of US commerce - 
anyhow on that account the city already collects 'anti-terrorism security' 
US taxpayer subsidies.   But the LNG terminal, and the tankers to it, would 
offer additional advantages: both to spendthrift politicians (more port-rent 
dollars) and to Al Qaeda (prospects of a lovely burn-explode event which 
could not only knock out the port but now also in the bargain kill or 
imperil thousands of nearby people and billions of dollars of real estate).

There are lots of immigrant and poor people here - in the USA we were #37 
but now for poverty proportion we're #10 - and #1 in California.  City 
management loves it - more and more federal assistance-to-local-government 
poverty-impact grants that actual poor people rarely see.

Most people here pay no attention to public affairs.  They are new 
immigrants or otherwise are too busy making near-poverty wages, or are 
transient students, or are retirees from elsewhere who came here to sleep in 
the sun and forget anything like the political and social problems of their 
former hometowns, or simply grew up here and know no different.

Local pols and their city hall beaurocrat friends usually insist not merely 
on doing their things, but moreover on doing them their way.  A citizen's 
independent agreement and proferred aid, let alone opposition, is usually 
not appreciated.  Every few years, they relent at times and appoint some 
proper new people to the near-powerless but important-sounding citizen 
advisory committees whose recommendations, if they don't match what is 
desired on the record as 'public input', are duly filed in the circular 

TV 'news' is 'metro' and long ago gave up pretense of meaningful coverage of 
local affairs.  Meanwhile the LA Times also does not cover our local 
misdeeds and their critics: Long Beach does not really fit in their scheme 
either as a mere jolly 'suburb' or as part of the city of LA.

So most of the few people here who bother voting at all simply follow 
instructions, including cute write-in instructions, in the local see-no-evil 
(or, at any rate, assign-no-blame) news-rag.

All this just in case you wondered where ever did I get the idea - rather 
new to me two years ago after over five decades of following politics - that 
elections and good election methods are not quite enough.


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