A series of special reports on Long Beach and the Queen Mary.

This series is funded by support from The Fund for Investigative Journalism and readers like you.

By Kelly Puente, Jeremiah Dobruck and Jeffrey L. Rabin
Edited by Joel Sappell

After promising a radiant future for the Queen Mary, Mayor Robert Garcia applies a few strokes of white paint to the ship during an event in 2017. File photo.

How Long Beach leaders charted a disastrous course for the Queen Mary

Despite warning signs, city officials entrusted the historic ship’s future to a firm that wasn’t up to the job. Now millions of dollars in public money will be needed to clean up the mess.

October 19, 2021

With the Queen Mary’s faded smokestacks towering behind him, Mayor Robert Garcia declared the time had come for a long overdue makeover of the once-grand ocean liner.

“This ship is finally getting the paint job that it deserves,” the mayor announced during a media event aboard the ship in the summer of 2017. After years of rust and chipping paint, a new operator, Urban Commons, had pledged to return the city-owned Queen Mary to its glory days.

Prior reporting on the Queen Mary