This timeout wasn’t called be either team, pro-breakwater or anti-breakwater.
Instead, it was the federal government who called it, intentionally or not, as my latest Long Beach Register story details. As funding has dried up for previously-earmarked federal projects, so has the cash to move the Long Beach breakwater study (technically, the East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study) from idea to reality.
That doesn’t mean it’s not still a touchy topic. Since I arrived in Long Beach — since I arrived in California, even — I haven’t found government and other officials this unwilling to talk about a story. Sure, I only got one refuse-to-comment (from the Port of Long Beach, which has a lot of stake, but deferred to city hall, which technically oversees the Port), but most all the others were reticent to say much, keeping their comments brief. The activists on either side, the surfers and Peninsula homeowners, were quite talkative, eager to get their opinions out there.
But city hall? The operators of the THUMS oil islands? The Port? The Army Corps? All avoided expressing strong opinions. Why? I can’t say for sure, but I can guess. The breakwater is a touchy topic. The debate on whether to alter it or leave it be isn’t going to go away anytime soon. And for those who answer to the public, taking sides can be dicey.