Monday, May 13, 2013

Surfing in Long Beach

I have been out of the loop on this for, well, almost forever.  But I've always been conscious of the fact that there are local people fighting for surfer's rights in many locales.  I'm not sure what is going on with the LBSA, but I am sure that there are people out there who try hard for very little thanks.  Here is something I read on Facebook that just highlights some of the difficulties surfing has traditionally faced as it fights for a space to happen.

Check out the LBSA FB page for more info.

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to let you all know that I have decided it's time for me to
step down as president of the LBSA. I believe the same is true for the
other board members as well.

Larry, Will, and I were at the city council meeting last night and it was a
mess. People from the Westholme area were unhappy with the new surf
schedule. I want everyone to understand how that schedule came about.

Since Danny Bobis and I started the LBSA almost three years ago, a main
goal has always been more surfing space in Long Beach. This is what the
members have asked for. I have tried very hard to work for this while
always being respectful of the general population. The issue has been one
of safety and equitable access. Surfing in Long Beach is very popular and
two surfing beaches just wasn't enough.

When we as a board have reached out to the city council we have always
done so on behalf of the members of the LBSA. This year was no different.
The input we got this year was the same as always... the beaches are
crowded and we need space. With all that has been going on in town, the
rebuilding of the boardwalk, the overall craziness, etc., we started
reaching out to the council months ago to discuss how surfing would be
permitted this summer. We knew that there were concerns last summer
regarding two surfing beaches next to one another, and certain beaches
being designated as surfing on more than one holiday weekend. We wanted to
make sure that these issues were addressed but not at the expense of the
space we had worked so hard to establish. Basically we wanted to help the
city fix this problem without eliminating surfing in that area of town.

It took a very long time for the city to get back to us. Understandable as
there is so much going on. We were finally called in for a meeting a
little over a month ago. The purpose of this meeting was for the city to
hear the concerns of the surf community as presented by the LBSA. This is
normal procedure for a community based organization. We listen to the
members and bring info to the powers that be. We can only present the
concerns that are shared with us whether it be at a meeting or via email.

When we met with the city we did not do so in secret. We did not ask them
to do something for us and try to get it passed through without telling
anyone. We did not promise political support or favors in the future. We
sat down to share the concerns of the surfing population and discuss a
surfing schedule, plain and simple. We were clear about wanting to fix the
two in a row issue as well as the holiday weekend issue. We discussed
making Laurelton a permament beach. We discussed rotation ideas. Everyone
involved felt the more concrete and permanent a schedule the easier it
would be for all beach goers. In the end a schedule was created and
proposed. It was not approved then and there. We were told the city would
review it, discuss it, and get back to us. We asked only that the city
make a decision in enough time for the schedule to be printed, distributed,
and included in the Herald's summer guide so as to properly inform the

They got back to us about a month later saying the schedule had been
approved. Last year they held a public hearing first. This year they did
not. I do not know why they did it this way, but they did. The decision
was theirs. The city could have shared this with the public last night,
but they did not.

When the schedule was released people in the Westholme area got angry and
their anger was directed towards me. They rallied their neighbors to go to
the council meeting last night to attack not just the council, but also to
attack me. Last night I was accused of making back room deals, being
selfish, and trying to take advantage of the community. I had someone look
me in the eye and say to me... "Who do you think you are using Project Pay
it Forward to get in the back door with the city and make these deals?" I
was told that the only reason I was involved in the projects I have been
involved in since the storm was to be able to further advance my own agenda.

I want it to be clear that I have no political aspirations. I do not
believe in back room politics. I do not want to be on the city council. I
do not want special treatment or favors. I love Long Beach and want to see
good things happen here. I am very proud of the work I have done with the
LBSA. I think the fact that there is a surfing beach for the kids in the
West End and that Lincoln is no longer burdened with a camp are great
accomplishments. I am proud of the work of Project Pay it Forward.

That said, I do not need to have my own reputation dirtied over surfing
space. I have to say that the worst part about last night was getting up
there to speak on behalf of the surf community and not having the surf
community there for support. I have not been working to get more surfing
space for myself... I have been working to get it for the surf community.
There were about 10 people from the LBSA there last night. It would have
been nice to have had the support of the people I have been working on
behalf of.

Maybe it would have been worse if there was a room full of surfers, in that
it would have been even more of an us vs. them event. There was no need
for that. I was very disappointed to see such a tactic used by the people
upset with the schedule. I tried to express that when I spoke last night.
I don't need to fight with anyone, let alone over a surfing beach. If
we've learned anything from Sandy its that we need to be united, not
divided. I've had nothing but good intentions and last night I was painted
as the enemy. I don't want to be the enemy.
I believe there is good work the LBSA can do, but I can no longer lead this
charge. If anyone is interested in taking a leadership role, please let me

Billy Kupferman

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

stepping down means he accepted defeat and thats a huge bummer you let the richie rich's win..I understand why he stepped down because of no real help or backing but the fight he is or was fighting is a thankless one yet a good one, but quitting after all his hard work is terrible and a bad idea with that being said all hail mastic and no black ball