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Long Beach California, 90815-0679
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Community News

City Council Snippets

From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 5

By Steve Propes

Feb. 19 Meeting -- Crematorium Moratorium

Third District Councilman Gary DeLong brought forth a proposed one-year crematoria moratorium by saying, “I recognize we all have to use this service some time or another.”

At issue was the Belmont Heights Funeral Center at the corner of Seventh Street and Newport Avenue, which, according to DeLong is “more than likely an inappropriate location for a funeral home or potential use for a crematorium.”

Diane Sundstrom, President of Belmont Heights Community Association noted the introduction of “potentially dangerous toxins into a residential area.” One of the toxins she mentioned was “vaporized mercury emitted into the air when amalgam dental fillings are burned. Placing a source of vaporized mercury in an residential neighborhood is an inadvisable risk.”

Will Snipes of 710 Newport Ave. stated, “they have a prep room that faces my dining room. At night there is a fluorescent light that stays on most of the time that is very bright. Out gardening I can smell fumes like incense burning coming from the prep room window. They’ve been cited for parking on the sidewalk. They have multiple vans they park on our street. It’s becoming a real nuisance. I can’t sell my house.”

Snipes’ realtor, Michael Barber stated, “this business next to my client’s house is just wrong. When a buyer was there, a big truck pulled up and began unloading caskets onto the street. Unloading body bags and caskets right on Seventh Street. I cannot sell this man’s house, his value has decreased $100,000.”

Jonathan Polk stated, “I’m a licensed embalmer and I operate the Belmont Heights Funeral Center at 3501 E. Seventh St. There are two crematoriums in this city, and they’re both in residential neighborhoods on Rhea and Long Beach Blvd and 54th and Long Beach Blvd. The state of California certifies these crematoriums, the AQMD, the coastal commission. These places can’t just open up and say they’re going to start cremating. There is no prep room in our facility. We don’t have the plumbing or the utilities to prepare a dead human body. They are prepared in Riverside, Calif. at 2874 Tenth St. Anybody who wants to come by and look around, come in and look around, we have nothing to hide.”

David Weaver, the architect, stated, “I want to dispel the image of a billowing smokestack. Someone’s going to have to live next to a flower shop, a carwash and a Jack-in-the-Box. They worked with the community, they are very respectful.”

Larry Goodhue stated, “Being a lifelong advocate and reader of the cartoonist Charles Addams, maybe this represents an excellent income opportunity for the city and to work out a deal for all parties. Maybe the city should get in the crematorium business.

We have trash pickup every week, there’s no reason why the city couldn’t, with appropriate vehicles pick up, take them across the river, build a nice little adjunct to the SERF plant and process them.”

Vice Mayor Robert Garcia stated, “Mr. Goodhue, that’s inappropriate. Thank you very much. Are you done?”

Goodhue responded, “Yes. Perhaps I was remiss in addressing this a couple of weeks ago when you again violated my First Amendment rights…”

Garcia interjected, “You’re actually not running the meeting, sir, but if you want to finish, go ahead.”

Goodhue finished “… I should have let you know, that should have been your second strike, this is your second strike, one more I will add you to the [law]suit that’s going against the mayor in the next three months for the violation of the First Amendment.
Garcia replied, “I look forward to it. Thank you.”

The motion passed eight votes yes, Neal absent.