The surfin' congressman.
The surfin' congressman.

Where Will Surfin' Congressman Stand on Long Beach Breakwater?

As Louis Sahagun blogged on the LA Times' L.A. Now, Long Beach has released the long-awaited results of a study aimed at reconfiguring the breakwater to create bigger waves, cleaner water and beaches, and more surf tourism. According to the study, the city could gain $52 million a year in local spending--and $7 million annually in taxes and fees.

The engineering firm Moffat & Nichol is scheduled to present details of the $100,000 report to the Long Beach City Council at 5 p.m. Monday. But the real audience may not be council members and residents but members of Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who breakwater breakers hope to convince to push for reconfiguration.

That should particularly put Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) in an awkward position.

On one hand, he's an avowed surfer, Long Beach's Surfrider chapter wants to break the breakwater and Rohrabacher's 46th Congressional District extends from Huntington Beach along the Long Beach coastline and on up to Palos Verdes.

On the other fin, Rohrabacher lives in Huntington Beach, owes much of his support to businesspeople there and, as the Weekly has previously reported, one fear about changing the breakwater is it could churn up decades worth of nasty stuff confined off the Long Beach shore and dump it on Surf City beaches. Indeed, the breakwater issue is what helped fracture what had been the Long Beach-Huntington Beach Surfrider chapter into two separate chapters.

Rohrabacher could find himself in the position of pissing off large chunks of voters whichever side he took. Not that that has ever stopped him before. Bless his heart. Debbie Cook, the former Huntington Beach mayor who championed breaking the breakwater while running against Rohrabacher in 2008, was handily defeated. So, perhaps the best strategy for Dana will be what's gotten him this far on the breakwater issue: just shut up and surf.


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