Breakfast Talk with City Manager Jack Schnirman

This morning I had some breakfast with Jack Schnirman, our City Manager. We talked all things Long Beach: Ways to make it better, safer and more resilient, house shopping, kale, plus dispelling rumors around town.

I asked Jack if I could post some topics we discussed on this blog. I didn’t take any notes, but here is what I remembered:

  • (A seabythecity exclusive!) Billy’s Way will now be called Crystal Way. It will be off Neptune Blvd, near where Billy Crystal grew up. The actual location of where it will be is still unclear (off the street as a boardwalk extension. Or just extended from the boardwalk towards the ocean).
  • We talked about other bump-outs for the boardwalk and the conversation as to what we want our boardwalk to be. Hence the PHASE II meetings. Bathrooms cannot be rebuilt on the beach, as per DEC. So you will see bathrooms, piers, bump-outs on the boardwalk. If you want to learn more or partake in the conversation, visit Long Beach Listens on how you can be involved (that totally sounds like a commercial).
  • Army Corps of Engineers project to build dunes, extend the beach and rebuild the jetties is still happening. No concrete time frame of when it will start.
  • I failed to ask Jack about bay protection, but he said he would love to see the bay better utilized with the rest of Long Beach. We talked about our love and dream for a marina, amphitheater and other fun stuff.  Jack talked about how it would need to be better connected to the main part of the city. Just stuff the city is thinking about. Nothing concrete at all, just fun talk.
  • The city would love to see our downtowns beautified:  repaved sidewalks, lighting, planters would be great. Grants would pay for improvements. They are working on this.
  • Other improvements to Park Avenue includes Complete Streets.
  • Jack doesn’t like to eat kale, but he will drink it when blended with berries and coffee. That’s what he ate for breakfast.
  • Residents vs. Visitors plus finding balance between the two is a big conversation. I will bring this topic up in a later blog post.
  • Said Greencorners are important for Long Beach since recycling saves the city money. This was a way for us to dive into city-wide recycling, paid by the advertisements on them. I told him how some of these containers are right next to regular garbage cans, which didn’t make sense to me.
  • iStar/superblock/wayfarer is not dead as far as he knows. Rumors were pointing that it was, or that they were selling assets. I keep hearing conflicting things on this..
  • Haberman building (Kitty Condo) we gently brushed on this. The city but doesn’t want to see 19 story buildings. We agreed that these empty lots are going to eventually be developed, but should be something that fits in with the community.
  • On driving around the city: LB is currently working on ways to sync the traffic lights. The hope is to get a perfect speed limit where you can drive Park Avenue without getting stuck at every light.  This will get cars off residential streets and more onto the main road. I have personally seen this work in other towns, the closest in Garden City. It works and Park Avenue needs major help on this front, so i am glad the city is looking into it.
  • Once these lights are in sync and the traffic flows better, other stuff will follow. Something that I love, but I don’t want to bring that conversation up yet.
  • I asked Jack how come Point Lookout has the mentality of driving slow, but here people are very aggressive. He agrees that it’s an issue that they are working on.
  • Downtown resilience, beautification and safety are main issues the city would love to tackle in the coming year. Beech Street and Park Avenue. Would love to see new sidewalks, benches, sidewalk bumpouts- the whole nine yards. Always looking for grants but it’s something they have been working on.
  • I told Jack to please consider beautification on every single purchase the city makes: including signs, traffic signs, poles, etc.
  • I told Jack that the city needs to buy new ICE ARENA and LONG BEACH REC signs that are displayed on Park Avenue. (I am obsessed with signs). I actually told him how I would buy the signs. I wonder if the city will hold me on that? I was half-serious.. lol.
  • On the issue of safety, sidewalk bump-outs are something the city would love to see in Long Beach. I wrote about these a long time ago, so I agree. They extend the sidewalks a little wider at the crosswalks, so crossing the street is a shorter distance.
  • Crossfit coming back to LB to Kings and Things Toys location (1079 W Beech St).
  • The City will look into ways to improve the Open Air Trolley service and maximize the way it’s used in Long Beach. I personally took this trolley for a spin the other day and loved it.
  • Billboards: Said the city is learning and will improve on what is displayed. I am also tired of this topic, so I’m glad to see some maps and business guides on them.
  • I ate a western omelet with a ton of bacon.
  • Other topics such as tree replacement and how I hope Quiksilver Pro comes back were brief, but after chatting for a few hours, we ran out of time.
  • Bungelow West is awesome, by the way. An excellent place for breakfast!

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22 thoughts on “Breakfast Talk with City Manager Jack Schnirman”

  1. Great post, glad to see it back up. The one you posted earlier also mentioned Bed and Breakfasts in LB. Any reason why you took that out? Also, I really do hope some changes come to our downtowns. They are dirty, dark and need some beautification. I wish we could make the sidewalks wider too for more outdoor seating on Park Avenue.

  2. Thank you for the post Anthony! Really glad to see our city manager embracing beautification – excited to see and hear what they have planned. Our business districts desperately need it.

  3. Anthony, great news. Thanks for revealing this view into our City’s future.

    It’s likely that the ideas listed will generate many comments, both in favor and against. But I hope that the goals identified (to make this a safer, more beautiful and economically viable City) will be endorsed by everyone.

    Long Beach is in a major transition. Hurricane Sandy pushed us out of the bungalow era into a new future, still to be defined. We can each play a role in defining that future: by voicing opinions on this blog, by voting, by volunteering, by being good neighbors. Let’s make the most of this opportunity by working together towards the future Long Beach.

  4. Thanks for this. I know many of us are waiting for answers to the “tough questions” but this was not the time or the place. I’m happy to see a local politician have a conversation with a local resident understanding that it would be published. This may be a small step, but it’s an important step toward open, accountable officials. Much better than the canned photo-ops we usually see in the media.

  5. I also appreciate EdGlister’s words above. Hard to accept that our “bungalow era” is over, but obviously true. One great line someone wrote on Patch- “What’s good for the City is not always good for the people who live here.” As Ed points out, unfortunately Sandy did a lot of our “urban planning” for the area, for better or worse.

  6. To be honest, and I am not speaking for Jack here, my personal opinion. But we just met to catch up. It wasn’t a planned blogged story at all. Our conversation was very friendly about our love for Long Beach. Sometimes it’s nice to talk about LB without all the nasty stuff people want to talk or read about.

  7. I’m ashamed to admit I don’t follow Long Beach politics at all, especially as a home owner. But I am glad to read this and see how our admin is interested in beautification. I also appreciate a major city official having a candid and casual talk with a blogger. Like what Bob S said, “Much better than the canned photo-ops we usually see in the media.”. Thank you Anthony for this!

  8. I like to hear about the syncing of the traffic lights. That’s big to me. I’m in an area where there are roads with synced lights. There’s a traffic light every half mile. Lots of traffic, but you can drive 20 miles and not stop at a light.

    I think this breakfast thing is great. I’m certainly no fan of Jack, but he does have info and it would be great for him and the others on the council to sit down for interviews like this (with someone who takes notes!!!). And, not only at election time. Real info without the b.s. PR spin you get on their website. They said they want transparency and this is a great way to do it.

    Where did you eat?

  9. A very interesting thread with an apolitical viewpoint seldom taken. And some great comments.

    “What’s good for the City isn’t always good for the people who live here.” — So true. We’ve experienced Urban Renewal by Water. It has changed the town certainly and many folks lost out, much as many lost with the changes of the 1980’s.

    Anthony’s note about Bed and Breakfasts is an interesting one. Long Beach outlawed them in the early 1970’s and with good reason: It’s difficult to differentiate a B & B from a “flea-bag rooming house”. We all know the difference but it’s hard to write in law and to enforce.

    There are three B & B’s operating in Long Beach illegally of which I am aware. Each is owner-occupied and carefully managed, so it’d difficult to categorize the renters and anything other than “visiting guests”.

    The opportunity for abuse is a door the City would probably not want opened, and if permitted should be done with caution.

    Most of us probably would love guest houses, but not the parking problems and transient visitors they attract if they were next door to our homes.

  10. @anthony- in this post mentioning Kings and Things, you inadvertently disclosed that they were closing – still not “officially” announced by the store. But the end is very near. They’re having 50% off virtually everything, deep discounts on cards. I stopped on this morning just to buy a couple of little things. I hope folks in the area can stop in to at least thank them for their efforts- and buy a little something.

    I believe they’re the last store in the West End that sells “things” as opposed to booze or manicures. They showed a lot of guys re-opening after Sandy, but so many customers were lost, and those of us who came back have little extra income. Too bad they couldn’t hold out until the “hipster” invasion runs its course.

    Years ago, I never had to leave the West End to buy a last-minute gift. Hope some of you can stop in. (I recommend the telescoping chrome back scratcher.)

  11. Kings and Things is still open, I guess they’re going day to day. Yeah Beachguy, I thought they were goners yesterday too. I went in today and bought “a year’s worth” of cards for $15. Of course, I’ll probably put them someplace “safe” and never find them again.

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