LONG BEACH — At first glance, next year's mayoral election and a proposal to build a $2.2-million recreational sports complex may not seem to relate to each other.
But Rolland Samuelson, the president of Friends of Long Beach Parks, says he sees a connection--and he is thankful for the coming election.
Until recently, Mayor Ernie Kell led the efforts to build a complex on an abandoned 29-acre tree farm next to the El Dorado Nature Center. Although supported by many of the city's youth athletic organizations and others, the plan was opposed by environmentalists and neighbors. Last week, Kell said he has moved to appoint a Mayor's Blue Ribbon Task Force to look for alternate sites. He said he no longer considers the site next to the nature center to be the best one for a complex with four softball and three soccer fields, a jogging course, picnic area, an amphitheater and parking for 590 cars.
"This location for the sports complex does not seem compatible with existing land uses," Kell said.
Samuelson credits pressure from opponents for swaying Kell, who plans to run next year for the city's first full-time mayoral job.