Long Beach committee votes to name library branch after Michelle Obama

The Long Beach City Council committee that has a say in naming public facilities voted Tuesday to support the proposed naming of a branch city library in honor of First Lady Michelle Obama.

The city’s Housing and Neighborhoods Committee voted unanimously to send the proposal on to the full City Council for final approval. The committee includes council members Dee Andrews, Al Austin and Daryl Supernaw. The library in question is the new North Branch Library, which is expected to open in summer.

Councilman Rex Richardson, who represents North Long Beach, initially put forth the proposal to name the library in honor of the First Lady and he has cited support from Jordan High School youth as being among his reasons to favor the idea.

“We really feel strong about finding a leader we can identify with to have the honor of naming the library after. We also feel strongly that students will be able to identify with this name and feel excited about utilizing the library, especially if they had a part in naming it,” reads a Dec. 14 letter signed by nearly 50 Jordan High School students that city staffers provided to the committee.

That kind of support for the idea, however, has also been mixed with some opposition at public meetings by people expressing their preference for the library to be named after a luminary with a direct link to Long Beach.

The council initially voted to name the library after the First Lady in late December. The council took a re-vote in January in order to ensure the action complied with the Brown Act, the state’s law governing how local governments do business.

Richardson said at the time the City Attorney’s office had concerns that a series of tweets sent from his office to other council members may have run afoul of the law’s requiring council members’ deliberations take place during official meetings.

The proposal may go back to the full council in February.

By Andrew Edwards, Press-Telegram

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