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Letter to Editor: Coalition Fixing Democrats' Infrastructure Mess

Former City Council President Jimmy Hennessy says Republicans have not neglected the boardwalk.

To the Editor:

It's election time and some political candidates will say anything to get elected, but the Democratic candidates have taken electioneering to a new level. They are re-writing history and misleading voters.

Councilman Len Torres was quoted in the Long Beach Herald as saying: “What appears to have been happening, as years went on, is there was less and less put into the boardwalk.” This is simply not true. Therefore, Torres is either lying or he doesn’t know the facts; both are unacceptable for an elected official.

Here are the facts about the boardwalk. In 2004, when the Coalition was elected, they had to repair a city infrastructure that had been neglected for decades by the Democrats. The city was falling apart and the boardwalk was no exception. The Democrats ignored the boardwalk while in office and they are responsible for its demise. Here is what budget records reveal about how much was spent on the boardwalk by the Democrats and the Coalition:

YEARS

ADMINISTRATION

TOTAL SPENT

AVERGAGE SPENT PER YEAR

1995-2003

DEMOCRATS

$547,455

68,432

2004-2011

COALITION

1,669,663

$185,515

The fact is that the Coalition spent three times as much on the boardwalk than the previous Democrat administrations. 

We can agree the boardwalk is in bad shape despite the increase in funds made available by the Coalition. But given the lack of attention it was receiving from the Democrats, the boardwalk would have been much worse had the Coalition not stepped in and began aggressively dealing with the issue in 2004.

The Coalition was not responsible for allowing the boardwalk to reach its sorry state. The Democratic Clubhouse must take credit for that. The Coalition has spent the last eight years fixing the infrastructure mess left by the Democrats and they are doing it without raising city taxes.

Jimmy Hennesy
Former City Council President

JP Ashcroft October 30, 2011 at 03:20 AM
Can we put aside the 5th grade level of conversation and get back to coming up with a fix and or a financial plan for the boardwalk. While we're at it why not tackle the Recreation Center. Today's rain has caused massive amounts of rain to flow inside the 58 yr old facility. Why not invite the current sitting City Council and thier esteemed City Manger for a walk through after a good rain storm. If I were Harvey Weisenberg I would march right into the Rec and remove the plaque that bears the same name. I would hold it hostage until they come up with a plan to replace the Rec, not bandaid it but replace it. Harvey, if I were you I wouldn't want my good name on that old refrigerator box.
Jay Gusler October 30, 2011 at 03:27 AM
Again mr, I find myself (for the most part) agreeing with you. I'm a lifelong Dem, and I have a HUGE ax to grind with this administration. Those disclaimers notwithstanding, they're really doing a terrible job in many areas, but most notably in the area of infrastructure. I'm not sure if it was on this thread or another, but someone posted previously that the Coalition had exceeded its shelf life, or something to that effect. I think that really sums up the system we have. The longer anyone's in power, the more they lose sight of who serves who. I think term limits are the best way to free politicians to do the right thing. If they didn't have to worry about re-election almost from the minute they're sworn in, they could be a little more focused on the good of the City. But since they would NEVER impose term limits on themselves it falls to us to do it for them. Vote the bums out. Two years from now, vote those bums out. And so on, and so on . . . .
LI Resistance October 30, 2011 at 03:49 AM
More goverment spending advocates. People we cannot afford more expense. We should demand fiscal responsability . This town politics sounds like demagogery only heard in banana republics. Besides, since when does "Bang-Bang, Double-Dipping Weisenberg" have a "good name." When has he ever cared about taxes and sepnding practices that were good for the people?
Tideline October 30, 2011 at 12:57 PM
Jay, disagree about he textured Plastic decking. It has worked well for the for all the B Walk ramps that have been replaced. Think about the labor and litigation cost of accident related to the wood decking failing and having a never ending cycle of Union labor to replace it. Doing the job right the first time and having it last for the long term, always costs more. To anyone who says plastic decking gets hot, do you think wood decking doesn't ? The wood decking sure gives plenty of splinters, raised nail flat tires and boards sticking up to injure people. Mr, just how much plastic decking have you laid? I have laid 10's of thousands of sq. ft of it over the last 8-10 years and have never had one board stick up. But, I only speak from actual extensive expience with it, not dealing with what someone in Home Depot told me. I'll bet the LB Unions are opposed to the plastic decking and by the way we use galvanized screws every 16" and have never had a board stick up. Nails are less labor intensive, cheaper and guess what, they pop up over time due to the natural expansion and contraction of WOOD, which is a living breathing thing. In contruction, anytime you do what is less labor intensive and cheaper, we call that cutting corners, it always does not last as long as doing things the right way, the first time. If yoou would fastern plastic decking every 12", then you must support wood, which warps, every 6" then.
LBLover October 30, 2011 at 01:00 PM
Not voting Tagney because of that too LI Resistance. What is your point LI Resistance? This one family power if a good thing? I'm not a hypocrite! I don't like this Sofield Family power or the Tagney Family power either! No one family should be so powerful in a small city. You can love Tommy Sofield, but you would have to agree if Fagan and his father had this much power you would be up in arms! It isn't right and it's not good for LB.
LBLover October 30, 2011 at 01:06 PM
Nope think it's wrong for the Dems too! I also think you should live too but the manager should can from anywhere. They should RELOCATE! What if an resume/application for city manager came from someone in CT who would be great for LB then I would want that person to move here after getting the job.
LBLover October 30, 2011 at 01:11 PM
Sometimes you have to spend money! Unfortunately things break and they need fixing.. that's not spending advocates! If you heater broke you have fix it! You hate spending the money to do it but it has to be done. Yes we need a rec center and a boardwalk they are broke ... now let's brainstorm ways to fix it because these guys running for council on both sides have no ideas!
Longbeacher October 30, 2011 at 02:37 PM
I think you still have to keep in mind the historical aspect ,the look of the bw should be keep looking the way it always has been
Tideline October 30, 2011 at 03:30 PM
If you want the look and history of wood, then people should stop complaining about the boards popping up, that is to be expected when dealing with wood, likewise the smany splinters and lawsuits that inevitably come. No material is perfect, life is about choices. Plastic, while costing more in the short term, is much less expensive over the long term.
Jay Gusler October 30, 2011 at 04:27 PM
Hey Tideline, This is way off from the topic at hand, but what circumstances would present you with an opportunity to have put down tens of thousands of square feet of plastic decking? I'm not implying you're being untruthful, but if any such large scale applications are in use anywhere around here, I think the City needs to know about them. Even if it were many small scale installations, are they in boardwalks, or peoples backyards? The two applications present very different demands. I'm going to take exception to your endorsement of plastic lumber. It's way too dimensionally unstable across the temperature range we see in this part of the country. It's density makes it much hotter than wood. And it's tendency to get 'mushy' in hot weather mandates impractically reduced joist spacing. Again, I'll take at face value that you have the background to make the case that you do for plastic, but it is submitted that if it were as well suited as you seem to think it is, it would be in wider use. That it is not tells me that plastic lumber is not the panacea to the ills of our boardwalk. I would very seriously like to discuss this with you. I'm not going to put my number here because the crackpots will make my life hell, but if you could reach out to me I'd really appreciate it. You seem to know who I am. Thanks, Jay.
EditProfile October 30, 2011 at 05:03 PM
Tideline: You sound like a person that knows what they are talking about concerning this issue. Installing 10s of thousands of square feet of installations is about as big as it gets. Im sure many interested folks would like to see those areas that are covered with the material you discuss. Can you direct us to where we can see what you are discussing with our own eyes so we may get a better idea of whats what? Thanks in advance for the great info.
Longbeacher October 30, 2011 at 07:29 PM
plastic fades and STAINS REALLY BAD ,IT DOES NOT LAST FOREVER .and it will not be cost effective on a reg back yard deck myou have to run the support beams every 12 inches ,if you riding vechicles over it make it more like 8-9 inches ,or it will sag an look really bad.lets put the trex thing to rest ,the history of the bw is also involved ...just saying
Tideline October 30, 2011 at 07:43 PM
Wood cracks, splits, warps and in a salt air environment especially discolors. Nothing lasts forever, everything requires maintenance, some materials like wood require more, other like plastic require less. Almost no one today is making backyard decks out of wood. Everything will fase to some degree, when exposed to the sun's ultra violet rays. Wood that absorbs snow and ice in the Winter time, is more hazardous than textured plastic decking to walk on. Plastic does not absorb water, wood does and then it freezes. Wood also attracts Carpeneter ants, beetles and termintes, plastic doesn't. I have not experienced the severe staining mentioned above. Riding vehicles over any decking surface, will shorten it's service life. Decking is not a roadway, asphalt is used for that. Perhaps, LBPD could consider using the MULE's more on the B Walk. It's the 21st Century, let's keep an open mind in these cash strapped financial times for moe efficient, longer lasting ways of doing things. Elephants were used to originally construct the BW, animals are not in use anymore either.
Longbeacher October 30, 2011 at 07:59 PM
it stains with oils or wax,it does not attract ANY bugs it a Treated lumber,it is EXTREAMLY SLIPPERY WHEN WETor ice covered ,this would cause mass law suits as people fall on there bikes ,what about the 12 in supports needed so it does not warp ,people still use decking ,ask center mill ,as a matter of fact it might be a good idea to speak with them about the down side of trex,like i said its or history to have a wood bw .like coney and atlantic city ,its something that has'nt changed for that reason ,as i said its not going to happen ,repair some wood $ or replace with trex $
Tideline October 30, 2011 at 08:13 PM
I have not seen any oil or Wax spilled on the BW, ocassionally, a soda, coffee, ice cream or the like. Wood is certainly not stain resistent. Wood does feel and is slippery, more so than TEXTURED plastic, that does provide traction, that wood can not. From what others have already written, there currently are mass lawsuits related to the poor condition of the WOOD decking. Sales for wood decking are down sharpely compared with 10 years ago, same goes for wood fencing. Fiar to say most people put up plastic/vinyl fences today because wood rots and does not last. No dispute on the history of wood BW, but as I said, everything is a trade off. It might be nice to be progressive and have the only WOOD colored BW, in the tri state area. We could have something now others will have in the future. Be progressive, not closed minded. As for the treated lumber, the longer it is exposed to salt air, water, ice, snow and ultra violet light, the shorter time the bug related chemicals last and then the wood can be eaten , just like with the fences, bug resistent at first, but not as time goes by. Another way to look at it is pay more now, or keep paying indefinetely. How about Patch puts up a poll to see if people like the idea of slowly converting over to plastic in time, or just stay with the wood. This is a discussion forum...
Karen Fife Sahn October 30, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Theofan set up Fagan and he hasn't been convicted. You apparently don't have all the facts!
EditProfile October 30, 2011 at 10:34 PM
Tideline: You posted above: "Mr, just how much plastic decking have you laid? I have laid 10's of thousands of sq. ft of it over the last 8-10 years and have never had one board stick up. But, I only speak from actual extensive expience with it, not dealing with what someone in Home Depot told me." Can you point out one of those installations? I would love to get a look at one to make a judgement about its application to the boardwalk area. That would be really helpful, I think.
Tideline October 30, 2011 at 10:56 PM
Yes, I can. If you want to come to NYC. I would add that the decks done 8-10 years ago are still in excellent shape, while they don't have Police cars driving over them, if they were made from Pressure Treated Lumber, they would have been junk by now. Pressure treated decks will last a bit longer if you give it 1-2 coats of Thompson's Water seal, each year. But, how many folks would do that each year? You can go and take a look at the BW ramps that have been redone. While the City chose and unappealing black plastic decking, I will give the benefit of the doubt and say they selected black, due to Black's ability to attract and retain heat. Hence, less chance to have slip and fall on the ice on the BW ramps. Plastic decking can be had in several shades of Brown, that look fairly close to real wood, that is the idea. Did you try going on the internet and looking at Trex decking web site, or the like? Thye have many color photos to look at. Hope that helps.
LBLover October 30, 2011 at 10:57 PM
Totally agree...plastic slowly then wood.
LBLover October 30, 2011 at 10:58 PM
The police car should not be on the boardwalk it just doesn't make sense!
LBLover October 30, 2011 at 10:59 PM
Why so neg? Why do you like the wood we have been using?
LBLover October 30, 2011 at 11:00 PM
Do you have a better idea?
DR. Jay October 30, 2011 at 11:04 PM
wow BB I have to agree with you Blame, Blame Jim like come on as jay stated that as any elected official you should not have to make a FOIL request for information you should be a part of. Further it is obvious that people don't use their real names for specific reasons such as retaliation we all know when you speak out against the coalition there could be a price to pay. I have a question why is it when a citizen makes a FOIL request you don't get like with quicksilver. Jim please answer. Also with the Illegal Hirings and firings please explain example Mike Cruz, Ronnie Miles..
EditProfile October 30, 2011 at 11:05 PM
Tide: Thanks for the good info. I will pass on the trip to NYC but I see the point of the new rampways.
Mary Ellen Pollina October 31, 2011 at 01:37 AM
Some of you may be interested in this article in which Wildwood and Atlantic City, NJ and Ocean City, MD officials struggle with deciding what material to use to replace sections of their aging boardwalks. Something called ipe seems to be used in Atlantic City: www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/breaking/southern-new-jersey-boardwalk-officials-search-for-the-right-wood.
Jay Gusler October 31, 2011 at 01:48 AM
That "something called Ipe" is harvested at the expense of destroying vast tracts of rainforest. Even that Ipe that has been certified as responsibly harvested has often been found to have been taken in violation of accepted practices. It ends up passing through so many different brokers that it becomes impossible to discern whether it was harvested in accordance with approved practices or the result of rainforest devastating clear-cutting. It's also very expensive, and extremely labor intensive to install, requiring pre-drilling and screwing. It also eats up saw blades. Ipe is NOT the answer.
Mitchell E. Sahn November 04, 2011 at 05:37 AM
Great question. You will be unhappy with the answer. In what only can be described as a forfeiting of basic fiduciary duties, the Sofield Admistration has relinquished authority for settling lawsuits under $25k to the city Manager. That's correct- The Sofield team who was elected to make responsible policy and allocate revenues wisely has washed it's hands of the growing number of small lawsuits (under 25K) passing the power to the City Atty. Coincidentially, Our Police Commissioner (acting) had an under 25K lawsuit settled by Theofan, by the way another Sofield relative was awarded an entire public road taking it private - This insider wink, wink- nod, nod is why the boardwalk must be repaired - as the lawsuit settlements are now in the hands of someone not accountable to the tax payers.
barry greene November 04, 2011 at 11:39 AM
All great comments and suggestions....but one really important one that LB Shawn doesn't bring up....if the boardwalk is in such disrepair where did the $1.6 million that the Repubs spent on it go? LB Shawn claims they replaced the underneath pilings. Then at the Council show, Johnny Lungs claimed that the under pilings were "too soft" to screw in wood planks. I know LB Shawn keeps changing his aliases (one day it's Jimmy Hennessy another day he is LB Shawn, then The Truth about LB, I lose track) but his stories and his other coke arrested friends keep changing. If the 25% tax increase was so bad, then why not give the $$$ back. Instead they spent it. They NEVER "generated" a surplus...each year it was a dwindling amount that was "generated" by that original 25% and they continued to spend it (like on the boardwalk) and we still can't figure out what we got. So Jimmy/LB Shawn/Truth/Surfer/Idontknowwhatiamseakingof please go away already. The lies and scams and misrepresentations on every internet entity that you can type on is annoying everyone. The Repubs are out. Face it already and start making plans to work at McDonalds this summer instead of lying on the beach with your quad next to you.
Tideline November 04, 2011 at 02:13 PM
Jay, I figured I would run into you around town sometime and we could go over various issues. But, that did not happen. I called the FH and tried to reach you, I will try again. Perhaps, a meetup under a bridge somewhere, could take place, under the cover of darkness. Just don't stand to close to me, too many people want to take a shot at you and may miss you and hit the Tide Line......
Ronnie November 11, 2011 at 03:01 PM
Really Jimmy? You calling someone incompetent is like the pot calling the kettle black. I don't know which civil service secretary you are referring to as incompetent, whether its Carolyn Campbell, Kiera Cohen or the acting secretary for two months, myself. 1st lets define incompetent-lacking the qualities as knowledge, skill, or ability; not legally qualified; inadequate for the purpose of; All of which you embodied as a commissionary to the civil service commission, which is also why you fled. Not only are you incompetent but a liar. Carolyn Campbell was appointed by the city, Kiera Cohen was appointed by the city and the city asked me to intervene in the interim because I was trained by New York State Civil Service, so none of us qualifies as incompetent but you. As for the incident concerning the money you allegedly stole, I was there and have the proof of that situation. Lets start with the facts: #1-The Secretary to Civil Service does not pay anyone or allocate salaries or raises to anyone. That would be the City of Long Beach and its comptroller, but you should already know that being a former councilman. #2-The civil service commission only met 2x a month in 2008. Number three-you had a full time job in education. What you did was see the comptroller, sign yourself in for 2 weeks of work, which is why you had to pay the city back; any error in pay would be coming from payroll not civil service. How were you the only one working for 2wks straight??? You do the math.

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