The top 10 stories of 2019 in Long Beach – Long Beach Post

10. CSULB picks a new mascot

The Beach. The Dirtbags. And, the Sharks. After receiving backlash over its former mascot Prospector Pete, the university picked a new mascot, the Sharks, after a months-long process that included a student vote. The term 49er will still also be used, but only as a nickname referring to the year the university was foundednot the Gold Rush of 1849. And the Dirtbags moniker is only used for the baseball team. Following? Though one chapter has closed, its likely the universitys identity crisis hasnt ended yet.

After years of study and calls from environmental groups to tear down the breakwater that took waves away from Long Beach, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in late November determined removing parts of the 2.2-mile barrier was not feasible. City officials said the results of the study, more than a decade in the making, put to rest the citys long-time question of whether tearing down the breakwater, which was built by the U.S. Navy in the 1940s, was possible. The Army Corps instead proposed a reef restoration plan that is estimated to cost $141 million.

Metro completed a major renovation of its busiest and oldest rail line, formerly known as the Blue Line. The southern portion of the now-named A Line from Long Beach to Compton was shuttered on Jan. 26 and reopened in late May; the northern part from Compton to Los Angeles reopened in early November. The New Blue project, which cost $1.2 billion, included safety and other modernization improvements.

Not often do stories about things that didnt happen make this list, but a series of terrorist threatsone at Bixby Park, one at a hotel in East Long Beach, and another at Cal State Long Beachshook the citys nerves. In April, the FBI arrested Mark Domingo, a 26-year-old Army veteran from Reseda, on suspicion of trying to bomb a weekend rally that turned into a counter-protest of a white-nationalist demonstration that never materialized. In August, police arrested Rodolfo Montoya, 37, of Huntington Beach, after authorities said he made threats to attack his workplace at the Long Beach Marriott. And in October, CSULB police arrested Prateek Devulpally, 18, who they say confessed to sending a shooting threat from another students email account.

The Post broke the news in February that the Los Angeles Angels were in talks to bring the Major League Baseball team to Long Beach and build a stadium on a 13-acre waterfront lot next to the Long Beach Arena. The City Council held a closed session in March, but the closest the two sides came to a deal was a two-page term sheet outlining a broad vision for any ballpark. In early December, the Angels announced they had reached a deal to stay in Anaheim. In response to that news, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said the negotiations alone had raised the profile of Long Beach, and the city looked forward to future plans for the so-called Elephant Lot in Downtown.

Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce, who represents the Downtown and Alamitos Beach areas, announced in November she would not seek a second term in March after a series of stories in the Post detailing her potential conflicts of interest. In May Pearce told the Post she received payments for consulting work from one of the principals at Urban Commons, the company that operates the Queen Mary, for work in the cannabis industry. A consultant hired by the city to investigate the report found that she indeed likely had conflicts and should recuse herself from votes dealing with the ship, cannabis and other related areas. The Fair Political Practices Commission is also investigating.

The icon of Long Beach, the Queen Mary, is in trouble. This year brought revelations that its operator, Urban Commons, was in danger of defaulting on its lease for failing to make critical repairs; an inspector described the ships condition as possibly unsalvageable; and an audit of the companys finances showed the ship lost roughly $6 million in 2018, and may be unable to sustain operations. Meanwhile, a company affiliated with Urban Commons launched a public offering on the Singapore Stock Exchange in hopes of raising $566 million; the offering lost significant value following reports about the ships condition.

On Oct. 29, a gunman started shooting into the backyard of a Rose Park home where 25 to 30 people had gathered for a Halloween-themed birthday party. Three people were killed and nine were injured. A day after the carnage, police chief Robert Luna described the shooting as one of the worst hes seen in his 34 years at the department: I cant remember an incident where we had this many victims, he said. The dead included Maurice Poe, 25, of Long Beach; Melvin Williams II, 35, of Gardena; and Ricardo Torres, 28, of Inglewood. The shooter or shooters remain at large.

The city of Long Beach collectively grieved when a family of three was killed by a suspected drunk driver in Bixby Knolls on Halloween night. Joseph Awaida, 30, died at the hospital shortly after the crash; his son Omar, 3, died the following night, and the boys mother, Raihan Dakhil, 32, was taken off life support on Nov. 3. An outpouring of vigils, memorials and fundraisers ensued in the following days; more than 7,000 donors gave to a pair of online fundraisers in the familys name that raised over $400,000. The 20-year-old driver of the SUV, Carlo Navarro, stopped at the scene and cooperated, authorities said. He has pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder and gross vehicular manslaughter.

Whether it be a renaissance or gentrificationwhichever description fits your perspectivethe massive changes brought on by development in Long Beach cannot be disputed. This year saw the completion of two significant projects: A new Civic Center and library, a $1 billion transformation of the Downtown core; and the long-delayed 2nd + PCH commercial complex, which replaced the storied SeaPort Marina Hotel. Another significant project for the Downtown area was the completion of a major expansion of the Aquarium of the Pacific. The city has some $3.5 billion worth of development projects in the pipeline; if the building continues, Long Beach will be a much different city at the close of the next decade.

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The top 10 stories of 2019 in Long Beach - Long Beach Post

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