NIMBYs Use Bad Photoshop Skills to Instill Fear Over Building Height Armageddon in Long Beach

Altered photos courtesy of LBReport.com and, per their own description, “based on what the proposed maps indicate, but the images below are unofficial, not to scale, not proposed by the property owner and offered only to convey for discussion an approximate sense of the scale of the proposed allowable land use changes.”

Admittedly, I have been trying to avoid the word NIMBY lately because, much like “hipster,” it has begun to represent too many things rather than something very specific—and that something specific in NIMBYism is someone unreasonably against change. It’s the kind of person that, when the image comes to mind, is an angry curmudgeon standing beside his or her home and yelling, “Not in my backyard!”

Two things therefore define the NIMBY: a lack of reason about change paired with anger over that change, whether the change is existent or not.

And as with anything on LBReport.com, there are also two things that define it and things which one must move beyond: utterly lengthy titles (like: “Heads/Up: Do You Want This? See Maps Showing City Staff Recommended Increased Density/Increased Bldg Hts Citywide And In Your Neighborhood; Mayor-Picked Planning Comm’n Will Make Voted Recommendations This Thurs. Aug. 17; Council Majority Will Decide In Coming Months”—yup, that’s just one title) and the Geocities/AOL website from ’99 that might prompt some shuddering because it looks like something the Unabomber would design.

But there is something to be said about the site and that is they know their audience and who they’re catering to—like they when they decided to instill fear about a yet-to-arrive Building Height Armageddon that will turn their precious suburbia into an all out concrete metropolis that puts New York to shame. And they’re doing it by badly photoshopping Big Box stores like KMart and Big Lots! (because, y’know, Big Box stores are building five-story high shops in the Age of Amazon.com).

Kid you not:

They also make a bicycle shop grow a few stories:

That is how they’re framing the Planning Commission’s upcoming meeting to alter land uses—and therefore, alter the limited heights of buildings in areas because, well, time moves forward, things can’t stay the same forever, and we’re in a housing crisis (of which an historic lack of density has contributed to).

Here’s how the article, by some unnamed person but I am assuming it’s still Bill Pearl who runs the site, puts it:

“So consider this as a possible future scenario. You live in a single family home post-WWII developed LB neighborhood, the type comprising much of ELB’s 4th and 5th Council districts (although the scenario below is in principle applicable to neighborhoods elsewhere.)  You wake up one morning to discover that after the City Council’s action, three of your neighbors quietly sold their homes to some out of town developer, a corporate entity that plans to put six to nine townhouses where three houses currently sit.”

Heavens no! You wake up to find more housing for people to live in when a third of our neighbors teeter toward poverty? OH MY GODS THE INSANITY!

It goes on:

“You discover when you run some errands (bank, groceries) at the neighborhood’s shopping nodes that after the Council voted to allow greater land use density, some of your favored businesses will be closing for a few months because the commercial landlord/owner now wants to rebuild the current one story buildings into three or four story buildings.”

You mean let property owners do what they want with their own properties? You mean create things for the future? You mean actually look at something… new? I CAN’T EVEN LOOK AT IT.

And on:

“And you learn that after the Council acted, some now-vacant property and commercial buildings along [Los Coyotes Diagonal] and nearby have been bought by a developer who plans to put several hundred townhouses in the location alongside the nearby single family home neighborhood.”

Several hundred homes during a housing crisis? HOW DARE THEY DON’T TOUCH ME ARE YOU SERIOUS YOU DID THIS.

The anonymous author goes on and on: telling people they should worry about their home’s value and paying for their kids’ college tuitions—swear to the gods—and all these other new homes will just screw them over. (An irony here because a single family home amidst other development will increase in value but who the hell cares about sound information? It’s all about how they feel.)

In short: it’s some of the most asshole-ish, backward-thinking, childish, don’t-care-for-the-future, egotistical propaganda that I’ve ever read from a local source. And that’s saying a lot considering this—but maybe that’s what these kind of selfish people want after all. SECEDE FROM THE UNION!

In my opinion? That ain’t Long Beach.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food to politics to urban transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 12 nominations and an additional win for Best Political Commentary. Born in Big Bear, he has lived in Long Beach since college. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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