“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” Andy Warhol said this mostly about art and culture, but it seems particularly relevant to our community in Seal Beach. It seems as though we are at a crossroads with many things in our town: business growth and character, how we participate with other communities and what we find most important about our town’s character.
Most of us would likely agree that Seal Beach is “Mayberry by the Sea” – quaint, small town, conservative to change, a bit older than the median, relatively well heeled and beachy. Or is it? When we look more closely, Seal Beach has some major industry players present – Boeing, Clean Energy, Energy Tubulars, Affliction Clothing, shopping centers and major destination restaurants. It also has a new younger crowd of entrepreneurial business owners – just look at our Main Street and other centers of shopping. The City and community in College Park East has concerns about composting at the Joint Forces Training Base, parks and getting their children more programming. They aren’t just an afterthought in our community, they are a dynamic part of it. There is a new energy in town. The Chamber and the City are even redoing the official City map because it hasn’t been redone since 1986!
Sunset Beach has made it clear that they want to be part of Seal Beach rather than Huntington Beach, because we match their vision of independence, creativity, community involvement and nature. I for one am thrilled with the idea that our town would become more diverse and expand to encompass Sunset when our state and our nation is in a phase of recession. The Chamber of Commerce is very interested in bringing more businesses into our sphere of influence and hopefully that will happen. By the same token, do we want to restrict business in the Main Street Specific Plan area? Maybe not. We are just beginning to see vacancies on Main Street get filled in. Perhaps we should talk about what we want in our town rather than what we don’t. The Sun even ran for weeks a request for that information.
Our City is in the process of major public works projects like the new Fire Station, paving, water and sewer projects when the State can’t seem to find two pennies to rub together and are slashing programs in every service area. That doesn’t seem so “small town” to me. We are a region preparing for the next 40 years of continued high quality of life. It certainly make me want to invest in our town buy building business and buying property here.
Why is all of this true? Because the people of Seal Beach are engaged in a uniform action based on a simple premise: Let’s make Seal Beach better! Though people may disagree with how we make it better, at least we are engaged in the process. So whether you want more restaurants or less, more special events or fewer, more visitors to the beach or our parks, the thing about change is it is up to you. Let us all grow more together than apart as the character of our town develops into not just quaint, but vibrant as well.
Seth Eaker is the current President of the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce and is the founder of Black Marble Consulting, LLC., a business consulting and marketing firm.