Usually I agree with the predictions of cartoonist Garry Trudeau, who was my vice presidential write-in candidate for 1988, even before they come out; but his recent strip, which depicts a Santa Barbara official preparing to send Santa Barbara's "homeless problem" south to Long Beach, caused brief consternation. On reflection, however, I think that I'd better write the man in for President.
Because Long Beach is ready for the homeless. Once we were stuck with a heritage much like the heritage the Santa Barbara council is trying to preserve--palm-lined beaches, an uncluttered expanse of sea, uncrowded schools and parks, safe streets and swarms of relatively quiet, reasonably undemanding retired people; and if that heritage were still with us, it would be wise to hang on to it.
But progress has come to Long Beach. We've got office conglomerate-lined beaches, a cluttered sea, crowded schools and parks, a crime rate worthy of a burgeoning metropolis and hordes of young job-holders with their myriad demands. There is plenty of room, now, for Santa Barbara's homeless in the canyons and culverts of our downtown renewal, so, I say "welcome."
And thanks to Garry Trudeau for picking up on Long Beach's hard-earned national reputation. He should be President.
--DOUGLAS A. KERMODE