By Gina Redican
The BHCA has been hard at work these past few months bringing our community together! Here’s what we’ve been up to:
Meeting with Councilperson Suzie Price:
In February we got an update on all things District 3. Suzie Price was our guest speaker and filled us in on what’s happening in Long Beach and answered questions concerning our community. She discussed homeless outreach and the continuation and extension of various programs, the re-closure of Community Hospital and the opening of new playgrounds in the neighborhood.
Local Candidate Meet & Greets:
The BHCA organized two meetings at which our members and neighbors had the chance to get to know candidates for City-wide offices as well as the open District 3 council seat. All candidates were required to answer a written questionnaire which can be found on our website at www.mybelmontheights.org/news. Almost every person running for office was able to attend with the exception of Laura Doud, City Auditor (who did submit her answers), and Doug Haubert, City Prosecutor. It is fun to see yard signs and say, “I know who that is” thanks to the meetings! In March we got to know George Moyer and Nicholas Liddi who are running for City Prosecutor and 3 candidates for Mayor: Franklin Sims, Raul Cedillo and Joshua Rodriguez. April’s meeting included candidate for City Auditor Dan Miles, candidates for City Attorney Dawn McIntosh and Gerrie Schipske, District 3 candidates Deborah Castro, Greg Magnuson, Kailee Caruso, Kristina Duggan, Nima Novin and Mark Guillen, candidates for Mayor Deb Mozer, Rex Richardson and Suzie Price. Each candidate was given 7 minutes to speak and mingled with guests after the meeting adjourned.
I’m so happy to announce that our Drive-Thru-Food-Drive is back and in full swing! You can count on us to be at the Belmont Heights United Methodist Church on the last Saturday of every month from 9-11 am (because of Holidays, dates may change – please check the calendar at mybelmontheight.org.) This is all possible thanks to two wonderful volunteers: Jeff Rabin and Tracy Luu. Jeff and Tracy have graciously stepped into Will Cullen’s role as Food-Drive organizer, and they are doing a wonderful job. In February, we collected items for LBCC’s Viking Vault. Whilst delivering the goods, we had an opportunity to meet some of the team members at Viking Vault. It was inspiring to see their passion for helping fellow students in need. Tracy connected the BHCA with Rising Tides, a local organization that helps keep kids in school, our beneficiary for March and April.
During the March and April drives, we collected items to build personal hygiene kits for a Make A Difference Day (MADD) project that MADD wasn’t able to fund. Thanks to our donors, we collected over $2,000 which allowed us to make a WHOLE LOT of hygiene kits! A special “thank you” to Todd and Cory Buchner for their generous donation.
The Egg Hunt is our favorite event and boy did we go for it! Your Board stuffed 3,000 - YES 3,000 - eggs, including a few Golden Eggs with special prizes, to hide throughout the Red Car Greenbelt. We were also able to get Belmont the Bunny to come out of his burrow to visit and take pictures with kids and families against our cute backdrop. It’s always fun to see the joy on everyone’s faces at this event.
Your 2022 BHCA Board:
In March, our membership approved a new Board. Here they are, with introductions for those who are joining for the first time.
By the way, we have room for 2 more! Starting as a “member-at-large” is a great way to learn the ropes.
« Gina Redican, President
« Jill Unze, Vice President
« Ardis Lane, Secretary
« Jean Newkirk, Treasurer: Jean moved to Long Beach from Illinois as a teenager. She left for college and a career for a time, but she has been firmly planted here since buying a house in Belmont Heights with her husband Gary, a Long Beach native, in 1996. They have two beautiful daughters, which led Jean to be very active with the PTAs of the girls’ schools. Her career has primarily focused on the IT field, mostly as an independent contractor. In 2020, she started a fiduciary business, Peace of Mind Fiduciary Services, with her sister Cynthia. Jean has since added a Vocational Accounting degree to her resume.
« Julie Folcik, Member at Large and Advertising Chair for this newsletter
« Tracy Luu, Member at Large: Born and raised in SoCal, Tracy made Long Beach her home while attending CSULB over a decade ago. Tracy has worked extensively with Long Beach nonprofits, tech startups, and small businesses. She was involved in launching the annual Long Beach Gives. Currently, she works full-time with Everytable in their mission for food justice. Tracy is excited to get involved and volunteer in the Belmont Heights community.
« Derrick Muska, Member at Large
« Anastasia Thrift, Member at Large and Social Media Manager
« Gil Cable, Member at Large: “I’ve lived all around the country and never been in a place where the people are so welcoming and friendly. We certainly will never leave! When not working on “the old girl” [his home in the Heights] or doing a beach power walk, I can often be found in my “garage shop” at my lathe attempting to create art from an old log…. the best part is how often I get to chat with neighbors as they walk by the garage.”