People Post is a space for opinion pieces, letters to the editor and guest submissions from members of the Long Beach community. The following is an op-ed submitted by Josephine Villaseñor, owner and operator of Long Beach Balloons & More. It is an edited version of a Facebook comment she posted Tuesday morning. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Long Beach Post.
I am the owner and operator of Long Beach Balloons & More and my company does not condone or do balloon releases. I have been in the balloon, party supply and party rentals business for 24 years now.
Long Beach Black Lives Matter did a balloon release in honor of Nipsey Hussle on Sunday with foil and latex balloons in an event that was aired on television news programs.
— Stephanie Rivera (@StephRivera88) April 7, 2019
The following is a statement in regard to what happened.
We did not supply these balloons.
Since Sunday night to 9 p.m. Monday, my business and I have come under attack. I have had callers tell me to kill myself, to swallow a latex balloon to see how it feels to slowly die, to just jump off a building, that I should be ashamed of myself in destroying the environment.
Let me say this: The latex in the balloons that I use is biodegradable. Unfortunately, the foil is not but I make sure that each of my foil balloons leaves with a weight on it. I know it is against the law to have any foil leave without a weight and the first fine is $10,000 and the business will go onto a list and be watched.
Many discount stores and some grocery stores DO NOT put a weight on their foils! They need to be watched and ticketed, because they are not following the state law of California.
So, people who have spoken out about how bad balloons are need to educate themselves before posting something that may target a small business like mine and put it in harm’s way.
I am respectful, I am a member of the Pro Environment Balloon Alliance, I am an indigenous mixed individual who keeps sacred things and respects Mother Earth, my ancestors and all life on this planet. I dispose of my used latex properly and I reuse the foils as covers to create weights. This is how I make a living—and do I come after you or your job? NO!
I make sure to educate all my clients in the do’s and dont’s.
Also, those stores like the discount stores buy balloons from China that are not biodegradable and contain lead. So, when you’re blowing up balloons because they are cheap, it is because they are cheap with lead. So please take heed.
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