Column: New bridge name voting is over. We have a ‘winner’

Early this month, from May 7 through May 12, Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach and state Sen. Lena Gonzalez, D-Long Beach gave the public the opportunity to name the new old Gerald Thomas Bridge, and today they announced we have a winner!

The problem with this sort of democracy steeped in the freedom guaranteed to all Americans, was we were shackled with just three choices, none of which could be described as a winner.

Your choices were International Gateway Bridge, Long Beach International Gateway Bridge and Long Beach Transpacific Bridge. Those candidates came from a dozen unimaginative people of the sort that you sometimes get trapped into having an awkward chat with at a mixer that you totally didn’t want to go to, all of whom were chosen by O’Donnell, Gonzalez and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, according to O’Donnell.

So, your winner, the name that you shall call the bridge henceforth: Long Beach International Gateway Bridge.

The name was greeted by O’Donnell and Gonzalez with almost the exact opposite amount of enthusiasm you’re likely feeling right now.

“The community has spoken and they made a great choice,” said O’Donnell in a statement. “The name ‘Long Beach International Gateway Bridge’ appropriately signifies Long Beach as the gateway to the American economy. Thank you to the community for helping us in this very important endeavor.”

“I am very thankful for all the input we received from our community to choose a name for the new Long Beach bridge,” gushed Gonzalez in the very same statement. “This iconic state landmark will connect us to the rest of the world for decades to come.”

If the lawmakers had used Zencity, the artificial intelligence software platform that analyzes residents’ social media use to help officials gauge public opinion on policies, I think they would have spent a little more time and a lot more thought into coming up with a name.

On Facebook, the comments were adamantly against all three candidates:

“Until they add ‘none of the above’ I’m not voting.”

“Absolutely none of these.”

“Your choices are dumb and boring.”

My own suggestions got a few likes. Bridge of Lights got three nods and Angels Gate got a couple. Either one, with just those few votes, beat the names on the ballot by a landslide.

“Such lousy choices,” was another comment.

Most likely, people are going to continue to call it the New Gerald Desmond Bridge, or just go with “the bridge.”

Assemblyman O’Donnell and Sen. Gonzalez have now introduced Assembly Concurrent Resolution 88 to designate the state highway Route 710 where the bridge is located as the Long Beach International Gateway Bridge.  If adopted by the State Legislature, private funds must be identified for the construction of a sign.

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.
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