Councilmember Suja Lowenthal Recognizes “Stewards of the Second District”

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Councilmember Suja Lowenthal

On Monday night, Second District Councilmember Suja Lowenthal recognized nearly 60 residents, businesses community groups and city staff as “Stewards of the Second District” at the Long Beach Terrace Theater. They were selected because of their leadership and commitment in going beyond the call of duty to make a difference in the lives of others. As part of this year’s ceremony, Councilmember Lowenthal also asked neighborhood and business associations to submit two of their own nominations for recognition.

Over the last five years, more than 360 Stewards have been recognized for their contributions. “I was very happy to see former Steward honorees in attendance in support of this year’s recipients,” Lowenthal said.

It was during Lowenthal’s first year on the City Council that she was inspired to think of a term or title that aptly captured those individuals and community groups that went beyond the call of duty to improve the quality of life in the Second District, and thus the entire city. Her team came away with the term, “Stewards of the Second District” – a person or entity that provides ongoing care and guidance.

This year’s Stewards embody the definition of a person or entity that provides ongoing care and guidance. It’s important for our community to pause for a moment and recognize the valuable contributions being made by these individuals and groups – hopefully, they will inspire others to get involved.

Spotlight on Stewards of The Second District

Just over a year ago, my office received a call inquiring how to form a new neighborhood association in the Northern portion of the Second Council District. They answered the call that many of us have had in our hearts, where we have passion and energy but are unsure who to connect with to address neighborhood issues. Within weeks they had formed AOC7 and were meeting weekly at a local business. Their now monthly meetings continue to have a large turn out as they hear from different City departments, organize neighborhood clean-ups and hear from Long Beach PD that since forming we have seen a decrease in crime in the neighborhood. AOC7 stands for Anaheim, Orange, Cherry & 7th St., which represent the borders of the community, and although they span the 2nd, 4th & 6th Council Districts I know that their work and partnership have improved the 2nd district overall and I say thank you.

Jan Van Dijs (JR Van Dijs Builders and Developers)
Jan Van Dijs has a wonderful talent to see the potential of historic buildings in Long Beach, giving them a new lease on life through adaptive reuse. Take the Art Theater on 4th Street for example – a 1924 art deco style historical landmark that was left to deteriorate over the years, creating an economic whole in the middle of Retro Row. Jan coordinated every aspect from concept to historical analysis to implementation of design, including two originally designed retail spaces. Now the Art Theater is an economic engine and event space for the community. Jan is poised to do the same thing with the American Hotel otherwise known as the Psychic Temple on Broadway in Downtown. Once the 1905 building is restored, it will be home to a highly successful business and no doubt, spur the same economic development along what I hope will be our Cultural Corridor. It gives me great pleasure to recognize Jan Van Dijs as a Steward of the Second District.

Porter Gilberg
Whether it’s serving as The Center’s Administrative Director, on the board of the Alamitos Beach Neighborhood Association, or working with the 4th Street BID, Porter steps up and says “I’ll do it”. When my office was looking to expand outreach between the LGBT Community and LBPD, Porter added this function to his plate without pause. I am excited to not only watch but encourage the path of this new young leader.

Joen Garnica (Promenade Area Residents Association)
PARA nominated Joen Garnica as a great example of a resident and working professional, actively engaged in her community. Joen has served on the PARA Board for over three years and is currently its Vice President. Her constant desire to improve the residential community while building bridges with local business owners is evidenced by Joen’s development of Second Saturday, Downtown Shop and Walk, Downtown Amazing Chase and her organization of PARA’s Final Friday and “PARA in the Park”. I couldn’t agree more.

Lola’s Mexican Cuisine
Lola’s is a more recent treasure in Long Beach, located on Retro Row on 4th Street. Luis Navarro and Brenda Rivera are the owner’s of Lola’s and serve amazing food daily, based on recipes handed down through generations and always made from scratch. In addition to incredible food, Lola’s was the first restaurant in Southern California to receive a parklet patio, which essentially expands the sidewalk into the street, allowing for additional restaurant seating and greenery. It really was amazing to watch that parklet come to life. While Luis and Brenda are running a busy restaurant, they have also become known for their generous community support.

Jeremy West (East Village Association)
Jeremy West is dedicated to the East Village and volunteers his artistic ability at every turn to improve to our neighborhood. He was instrumental in designing and working with the EVA on the “Alleyway Beautification Project – East Alta Way”. He also lent his skills to painting parking meters and creating haunted houses for the East Village Halloween effort. Jeremy is a wonderful volunteer and resource for EVA and is a very deserving candidate for this recognition.

Ocean Residents Community Association
The Ocean Residents Community Association is the newest of the six neighborhood associations that form the Downtown Residential Council. Led by Mike Dunfee, ORCA encourages our high-rise neighbors to connect with each other and build community. Actively working to promote local businesses and provide information on subjects such as the Downtown Plan and PBID, ORCA understands the key relationship between their residents and conveying relevant issues back to the city and other entities who have a stake in making this a better place to live, shop and work.

Stewards of The Second District 2012

Allene Symons, North Alamitos Beach Neighborhood Association
Jeff Anderson and Torey Carrick, Anderson Real Estate Group
Andre Beasley, AOC7
Animal Care Services Department of Parks, Recreation & Marine
April Economides, Bike Friendly Business Districts
Barbara Ardinger, North Alamitos Beach Neighborhood Association
Barbara Brunner, 4th Street Business Imrovement Association
Beachwood BBQ
Bernard Serrano, Cyclone Coasters
Chris Garner, Department of Gas & Oil
Stefanie Mathews, Clean LB
Code Enforcement, Division Development Services
Commander Michael Beckman, Long Beach Police Department
Dale Neal, Homeless Services Advisory Committee
Danielle Nava, The California Conference for Equality and Justice
David Cannon, Promenade Area Residents Association
Derrick Gilgert, North Alamitos Beach Neighborhood Association
Diko Melkonian, Department of Public Works
Gary Anderson, Office of the City Attorney
Gay Freedom Band
Henry Salzer, North Alamitos Beach Neighborhood Association
Israel Rodriguez
Jan van Dijs, JRVD Builders and Developers
Jeremy West, East Village Association
Dr. Jerry Schubel, Aquarium of the Pacific
Joen Garnica, Promenade Area Residents Association
JR White, North Alamitos Beach Neighborhood Association
Keir Jones, State Farm Agency
Ken Davis, Hot Java
Kendra Carney, Office of the City Attorney
Kim Slick
Lee Ostendorf, Local Harvest Farmers Market at Bixby Park
Lisa and Paul Harris, Craftsman Village Historic District
Lisa Hernandez, East Village Association
Lola’s Mexican Cuisine
Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau
Long Beach Imperial Court
Marty Meier, East Village Association
Mary Simmons, AOC7
Melissa Balmer, Women on Bikes SoCal
Mikey Davis
Nicoleta Simionescu, On Broadway
Ocean Residents Community Association
Officer Laurie Briney, Long Beach Police Department
Pamela Horgan, Department of Financial Management
Patrizia Hall, Long Beach Water Department
Pete Marchica, Long Beach Bluegrass Festival
Peter Johnson, Promenade Area Residents Association
Porter Gilberg, The Center Long Beach
Queen Mary RMS
Robert Verceles, Long Beach Water Department
Ron Sylvester, The Center Long Beach
Samara Ashley, The Port Of Long Beach
Sandy Keesee, Resident
Ted Stevens Department of Parks, Recreation & Marine
Uduak Ntuk, Department of Gas & Oil
Victor Frake, Craftsman Village Historic District
Wesley Guess, Department of Parks, Recreation & Marine

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