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ST3436 - Feb. 8_Layout 1 2/8/13 2:23 PM Page 1 Signal All four paintings are acrylics on heavy-weight bristol paper by Jeff McMillan. Willie Mays Mike Tyson Participate in the 18th annual Sweetheart S weepstakes! T R I B U N E Erykah Badu Pages 10 & 11 Vol. 34 No. 36 Honoring Black History Month Al Green February 8, 2013 SERVING BIXBY KNOLLS, CALIFORNIA HEIGHTS, LOS CERRITOS, WRIGLEY AND THE CITY OF SIGNAL HILL Your Weekly Community Newspaper Freshman Congressmember Alan Lowenthal transitions from state to federal arena Willow Springs Park master plan paves way for wetlands restoration, new park space in LB Photos by Sean Belk/Signal Tribune A recently approved master plan calls for returning a 47-acre property to its natural state by restoring degraded wetlands, improving water quality and bringing back a willow-tree forest. The park is expected to also include natural open-space areas and multi-use trails, including a BMX-bike track, small shade structures, a dog park, a visitors center and associated parking. Sean Belk/Signal Tribune Sean Belk U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), who was sworn in as a new member of Congress on Jan. 3, stands in his new Long Beach office downtown in front of a wall full of plaques he has received during his 20-year political career. Sean Belk Staff Writer Fresh out of the California State Legislature, U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), who was sworn in as a new member of the 113th Congress on Jan. 3, has moved from one budget conundrum to another. After facing tough choices as a state senator during a financial crisis that led to axing redevelop- Staff Writer In a territory mostly used for its oil reserves, a 47-acre property owned by the City of Long Beach for more than 130 years, surrounded by Signal Hill, just above Willow Street, has the potential to be tapped for a dwindling local resource– new park space. On Jan. 8, the Long Beach City Council approved a master plan that loosely outlines a multi-phase project to develop Willow Springs Park. The plan is an opportunity for what city leaders say might eventually become “the biggest park in Long Beach since 1952,” which was when the City first opened El Dorado Park in east Long Beach. ment agencies to stave off cuts to public education, Lowenthal is now weighing options that impact the entire nation. In the federal arena, however, much of the same see LOWENTHAL page 9 Controversial Signal Hill initiative set for June 2014 election CJ Dablo Staff Writer The date is now set. It will take just over a year for Signal Hill voters to determine the fate of a proposed initiative that aims to significantly change Signal Hill’s charter surrounding taxes, bonds and fees. City Clerk Kathee Pacheco reported at the Feb. 5 Council meeting that the initiative dubbed “Taxpayer’s Right to Know and Vote” will be on the ballot on June 5, 2014. The initiative has served as one of the clear dividing lines between the three incumbent councilmembers, who have in the past criticized the initiative and are seeking another term in office, and the four challengers, who are major initiative supporters and are hoping for a spot on the Council at the March 5 election. The incumbents are Michael Noll, Ellen Ward and Ed Wilson. The four challenging candidates are Robert Mendoza, Nancy Sciortino, Elizabeth Wise and Lori Woods. The initiative designed to change the city charter has several components. It will require voters to approve all taxes, assessments and fees with a two-thirds majority. The initiative will also require taxes and fees to expire within 10 years. Assessments will expire in 20 years. Bonds would have to be repaid within 20 years. Proponents who had spent about six months collecting signatures had been successful in gathering enough of them to get the initiative on the ballot. According to the city clerk staff report, 871 signatures were found sufficient, and those signatures qualified the initiative for a special election. The initiative is now set for the statewide primary Friday Closing Sale Store open daily through Feb. 16 59° election which will be held in June of next year. The Council took the time to scrutinize the initiative again at its meeting on Feb. 5. City Attorney David Aleshire said that the initiative would not affect sanitation district fees or property taxes. The city attorney, however, was directly challenged by Carol Churchill, a former Signal Hill mayor and major proponent of the “Taxpayer’s Right to Know” initiative. She quoted the city charter, stating that the City has the “full power to enact any taxes and fees.” She identified several of the examples of the taxes and fees noted in the charter, specifically naming property taxes among them. “So perhaps your council was not aware that their charter included see COUNCIL page 14 Saturday Sunday Monday Seventh District City Councilmember James Johnson said the proposed park has been a pet project of his since taking office nearly three years ago, with a goal to pick up after an abandoned proposal, once called California Gardens, that the City Council approved in 2006. Since the City already owns the property and environmental clearances are approved, any state or federal grant funding would go directly toward developing the new park, without having to worry about land-acquisition costs or lengthy analysis, he said. “I realized [there are] 47 acres of land that the City already owns, which, with the environmental work already done, is see PARK page 15 A hilltop plaza called Longview Point– considered the highest point in Long Beach– located off of Orange Avenue between Willow and Spring streets, includes a 7,850-square-foot topographical map of Southern California and offers panoramic views of the coastline. February 8 through February 12, 2013 Tuesday 58° 62° 62° 67° This week’s Weekly Weather Forecast sponsored by: Showers possible Partly sunny and cool Mostly sunny and cool Mostly sunny and cool A blend of sun & clouds Lo 42° Lo 43° Lo 43° Lo 43° Lo 48° MEXICAN GRILL #2 SERVING HOMESTYLE MEXICAN FOOD SINCE 1975 BREAKFAST • LUNCH • DINNER • CATERING Join us for Valentine’s Day! Dinner for Two Special on combination plates #1-26 Buy one, receive second plate half off for all of February* *Special only valid per couple and excludes seafood plates. Discount taken off plate of lower value. 3431 N. Pacific Place (at Wardlow Rd.) 5 6 2 . 4 9 0 . 2 1 0 0 • Hours: Tues.-Sat. 8am-9pm, Sun. & Mon. close @ 8pm


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