Long Beach : Plan for Citizen Negotiator on Disney Project Killed


A move to put a citizen representative on the team of Long Beach negotiators appointed to hammer out plans for a Walt Disney theme park has been dashed amid concerns over who would be named and how, community leaders say.

The idea of a citizen representative seems to be almost as controversial as the plan itself.

Councilman Ray Grabinski said such a representative might gum up the negotiations. If one group is represented on the negotiating team, he suggested, other groups will demand the same.


“Do you want a committee of 300 at negotiations?” Grabinski asked.

Elizabeth Kuehne, president of the 2nd District Neighborhood Assn., had asked the Long Beach City Council to hire a resident to be a “full member” of the negotiating team, which is currently made up of officials from City Hall and the Port of Long Beach.

Kuehne proposed that the citizen be chosen by the Coalition of Neighbor Organizations, an umbrella group of 85 business and community leaders that serves as an information network.

Kuehne’s request was pulled from Tuesday night’s council agenda, however, after it was decided that she was not the appropriate person to make it.

Some community leaders say privately that it would be impossible to select one citizen to represent them, since most of Long Beach’s 50 neighborhoods have conflicting needs and desires.

The Disney organization is considering building a $2-billion theme park and resort in downtown Long Beach that promises to bring in thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue. But the project has raised concerns about traffic congestion, pollution and other problems.