When I read in the Chinook Observer the statement by the new city manager of Long Beach regarding traffic congestion I couldn't grasp the concept. Then I became angry, then confused and then I fell down laughing. Local residents are being asked to "find an alternate route" to their destinations so as not to annoy tourists? Boy oh boy, is that a blunder worthy of presidential aspirations. Hilarious scenarios flooded my mind. It may take a little while for word to get around. Many people only read the dispatch reports and only then to see which neighbors are in trouble again. It is important to know who is going to be calling around for bail money and to screen their calls.

As for me, I want to do everything I can to make sure that Long Beach keeps as many of "their" tourists as they possibly can. "Not in my neighborhood" doesn't just apply to prisons, mental institutions or strip joints.

My husband and I both come from families with long-term, deep ties to that one blinker community north of Long Beach called Ocean Park. If the new city manager down south has ever heard of us, he doesn't know us at all. I figure that the only reason to visit Long Beach is for employment or goods and services not found at home. Now that my options are to be more limited, well as Wayne Downing stated in his column, "I don't need nearly as many things as I think I do."

Just a few things to clear up and I could limit my trips to once or twice a year, mid-week, in the off-season. Mail order will take up some of the slack. Of course delivery vehicles will have to travel alternate routes under cover of darkness to avoid the appearance of life going on here. We'll all change our schedules to accommodate the Long Beach visionary.

I will need an excuse note written to the WorkSource office at DSHS in Long Beach. Perhaps as a return favor for my compliance the city manager could do this for me. Something along the lines of the following should do the trick. "Please excuse little Frannie from the mandatory acceptance of employment south of Ocean Park if it's offered. Despite the fact that she is a voting, taxpaying property owner in Pacific County with a clean driving record, valid license and car insurance, we here in Long Beach just don't want her clogging up the state's highways just to go about the details of her daily life. It's all about facilitating tourism, you know. Heh, heh, she could take public transit if we allowed those pesky buses to stop in Long Beach or to run on a schedule that would take her to and from work on time. That was a wizard vote, blocking transit funds. We sure don't want her camping in the dunes or public parks, that wouldn't look good either. So, please don't penalize Frannie for being unable to accept employment in Long Beach due to transportation regulations."

That should work really well. Oh yeah, perhaps the city could build cheap dormitories hidden from downtown and "import" service workers from third world countries.

I will sure miss some things that enriched our lives and the friends we've made in Long Beach. Such is life in the slow lane. I will miss the animal shelter, Independent Books, Cottage Bakery, Werner's Candies, Dennis Company, Rocket Diner, Corral Drive In, The Bead Store, Chen's, Neptune Theatre, 42nd Street Café, Subway and many more merchants and friends whom we have supported through the lean winter months with our business and our friendship. We wish you health, happiness and prosperity.

Or ... Maybe someone could wise this person up to reality before the backlash builds momentum. I am actually one of the more (mostly) timid residents of Ocean Park. He may not want to know some of the others.

Does this man not know the local nickname for outsiders? Wouldn't want sensitive touristy ears to hear that, but he sounds like a "you know what."

Ocean Park, eight miles north of Long Beach on Pacific Highway. Visit our Tsunami-Free Zone, a well-kept historical secret.

Fran Weeks Smith

Ocean Park

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