Traveling the Telecom Highway with GTT’s Scott Charter

A very cold and icy evening in Denver. One of my new data center customers, WBS Connect, was based in Denver under the technical leadership of Scott Charter. Scott gave me a call, and asked if I had the time to get together and meet, since I was in town for some business meetings and he had some ideas I might be interested in.

Several hours later, with staff at the Rialto Café getting annoyed, and my head hitting the data absorption and comprehension threshold all of us experience when talking with people a whole lot smarter than us, I knew I’d met a true visionary.

Ideas. Ideas about technology, about business, about people, and about the world we live in. Beyond the technology, Scott is a guy who genuinely cares about people – an excellent role model for young entrepreneurs.

Pacific-Tier: Today we are talking with Scott Charter, who is with GTT.   Scott, how do you like Hawaii?

Scott Charter from GTT at PTC 2010Scott Charter: Love it. I’ve been here a few times (Hawaii) before, but this is my first time on Oahu.

Pacific-Tier: We’re at the Pacific Telecommunications Council annual meeting. Scott agreed to sit down and talk with us a little bit. Scott, you’ve had some changes professionally – what’s going on?

Scott Charter: December 16th, WBS Connect, my company that I co-founded in 2002 was acquired by GTT. The deal had been brewing a couple months prior (to December), but we announced it December 16th and we’ll call it the end of January when the integration will be complete.

Pacific-Tier: So what does that bring to the business? Aside from obviously the acquisition and things, does that bring any benefits to WBS, your customers, or to the business that didn’t exist before?

Scott Charter: That’s two pointed questions. I’ll start with my customers at WBS Connect. They will continue to receive the same level of service they did from WBS Connect, and now from GTT, with an augmented NOC (Network Operations Center), we are a much larger entity as a publicly traded company. So from a financial perspective it is a much healthier organization that is continuing to grow.

We feel that what we brought to GTT was something they didn’t have, and that was a network. GTT was a switchless, global network integrator, and it was an easy add-on to give them a global Ethernet backbone.

Pacific-Tier: So how about the services WBS Connect was offering? Video services, and different types of value-added services to your network, where do they exist today?

Scott Charter: The growth on where we are on a commodity-based, circuit-based, will only continue to grow as we layer on. We have to be careful though, not to layer too much in at once. We don’t want to have too much culture shock.

So for example, I don’t really see us striking out immediately and driving more video. Conferencing services as a primary add-on for our business customers, as a business product, give till the second or third quarter and we’ll roll back into that.

Immediately we’re talking about going back to all of the GTT customers with more Ethernet. Going into the WBS customer with more off-net circuits that GTT had already done as well.

Slowly, when we get out of that, we’ll go more into managed services. I see us actually going more with other managed services in addition to video, such as managed security. Probably by Q2.

Pacific-Tier: How about WBS Connect, and I hate going back to that, but I will… You were a very open network. You would peer with other networks, you would peer with CDNs (Content Delivery Networks), do you feel that your ability to integrate or work with other companies would be changed by your acquisition (or merger) by GTT?

Global Telecom and TechnologyScott Charter: I’m learning as we’re going, because I am now working with a publicly-traded company. Things are a little bit different than when you are with a privately held, entrepreneurial small organization that is quite dynamic.

We want to bring the dynamic nature of WBS Connect to GTT, however we also have to remember that we have certain parameters that go with a publicly-traded company.

On top of that you also have an organization that really focuses on ensuring they maintain good margin. Now what we’ve done in the past with WBS Connect was that at times we’d take a lower margin deal in order to expand our network, and ultimately grow our value in another way that was not standard “Hey I need to have this much margin.”

I don’t know how much of that we’ll continue to do, but if it doesn’t make sense financially we probably won’t do it moving forward.

Pacific-Tier: So you’ve always been a leader, a thought leader in the industry. There are things changing now such as carrier Ethernet exchanges, Internet exchange points, cloud computing and the integration of CDNs into the network itself. Tell me your visions. What’s happening now? Where will we go into the future that will either support, or change, or direct the future of our business?

Scott Charter: There are so many great things that I see on the horizon right now that all seem to layer back into one another. So when we talk about additional transport services that are required to talk about enhanced cloud. Machine-machine activity, and the way they are going to interact is the future of where hosting goes – for sure.

I mean just standard dedicated servers and things like that are… I don’t want to call them a typewriter of the future, but things are definitely going to evolve. I think that as a WAN operator as part of our business we definitely see the need to connect more and more data centers that have this idea of being able to understand the need for this cloud infrastructure.

And I think you are going to find that you are going to have a global consolidation in certain points around the world that are going to mirror this cloud that is going to happen in let’s call it 10 mega data centers, at least, for computing. And we want to be a part of that.

One of the things I’m really excited about though, is the game-changing effect that I believe that 4G will have on incumbent connectivity in our existing infrastructure. If you’re a LEC (Local Exchange Carrier) with DS3s, OC3s, out to an enterprise base, that’s going to compete in a way with 4G. Call it 18~24 months from now.

I see us steering GTT towards embracing 4G as a part of our WAN business.

Pacific-Tier: Are you going to get into the tower business yourself, or are you going to connect towers?

Scott Charter: Connect towers for sure. You know, continuing to talk about any type of carrier extensions or servicing that wholesale side. But in addition to that I see from a large enterprise side, really seeing us drive more and more into that (4G and connecting via the wholesale business).

Pacific-Tier: With 4G, and LTE – ultimately 4G, does GTT get into the wireless business yourself or are you going to stay in the terrestrial business?

Scott Charter: That’s to be seen. I’m cautious on what I say now on where we’ll be, depending on where we need to be then. When I look forward now – I’m only talking about LTE. No offense to WiMAX, but I feel the real play there is with LTE.

It’s not just North American LTE, it’s global LTE. So seeing the Vodafones, the China wirelesses, and how they’re going to drive global saturation of LTE, let’s call it over the next four years, five years possibly, we’ll want to play there one way or another. I’m not sure how we’ll do it.

Pacific-Tier: So in 18 months what is the difference between terrestrial cable, terrestrial services, and wireless? Is there a difference?

Scott Charter: I’m afraid that spectrum is going to be a too little, people are going to be so excited that we might almost have another iPhone paradox that we see now with AT&T – that their own success with their partnership with Apple has caused some people to believe that the AT&T 3G is completely saturated.

Now there are some people who have some data on it which says that’s not truly the case. But there is enough of a customer backlash that it’s a customer perception that the AT&T network, due to its own success, has lead to its current situation that people are accepting it.

Now, fast forward a couple years and say what happens if we actually eat through all that LTE spectrum that’s out there now that that Verizon and AT&T – let’s just talk that North America’s acquired, wouldn’t that be interesting if that too becomes so saturated that we’re now reverting back to just terrestrial, as we’ve eaten up all the wireless.

Pacific-Tier: Tell me something, domestic or international, where’s your focus?

Scott Charter: 50-50. Let me take that back. (the) Opportunity for growth, 80-20 international. Consistent with where we are today, 50-50. New growth, international.

Pacific-Tier: Why?

Scott Charter: Under-served markets with a much higher profitability margin. It’s much easier to go in and saturate MENA, or LATAM, or parts of Asia than it is to continue to try and compete against incumbents in major markets, Tier 1, Tier 2s, or for that matter try and compete against a Time Warner in a Tier 3.

Pacific-Tier: WBS Connect helped shake up the American Internet industry by bringing affordable bandwidth and high-performance services to people. How do you continue to disrupt Verizon and AT&T and people who would possibly like to hold back development of competitive services in the United States. How do you go about continuing to hit that “borg?”

Scott Charter: By coming to shows like this (PTC) and ITW. You continue to partner up with aggressive companies that are willing to shake up the status quo. If you are working within a fleet of speed boats, if you are not there you are probably in a super-tanker that is probably going to run aground at one point.

That’s a little too much of an analogy…

Pacific-Tier: Let’s talk about your effect on the social or the people part of this business. Do you feel that your new company (GTT) or your old company (WBS Connect), or yourself as an entrepreneur – do you feel you have a responsibility to contribute to the good of the community? Is there any inherent responsibility you have to the community?

Scott Charter: I believe we all do if we want to be good global citizens and good global businessmen. It’s in our best interest to make sure we are doing things more and more efficient.

Power (electricity) is probably a great analogy because we are all working towards a more efficient data center. It’s in our best interest to try and find a means to use off-peak power. We’re involved in something right now that I think is going to shake up data centers worldwide.

And when I talk to people about it I don’t want them to think I’m getting too…, what I really want to say is that I think I have a real opportunity to change what we’re doing in global computing with some colleagues that we’re involved with on power.

Pacific-Tier: Well we hope so, and whether it’s alternative energy using solar or wind, or whether it’s using innovative ideas like fuel cells or co-generation… All of those things are good for the environment and hopefully in the future we’ll be able to reduce our reliance on very energy-inefficient hardware.

Hopefully people like you will put in SSDs using 1% of the power draw as a spindle… But tell us, as we wind down the discussion to a close, again you’ve been a visionary ever since I’ve known you. For several years I’ve looked to you for ideas and thoughts on what’s going to happen to our industry in the future.

Shoot for the stars. Tell us something we don’t know that is going to excite us.

Scott Charter: Well let me follow up on this through energy consumption. To drive the existing grid to use it more efficiently so we don’t have to build new. If we can avoid building new coal-fired power plants in order to generate all this new data, because data centers are gobbling up more power per capita than any other sector in the world right now. I mean it’s amazing.

We’re not getting that many new aluminum smelters out there, but new data centers are coming up and just eating and eating more power.

What if? And we believe we’re on to something that will allow us to not have to go and just massively overbuild our electrical infrastructure in order to accommodate this data center growth. I can’t wait to see where we are in two years with this.

Pacific-Tier: I think it’s exciting too, as a former data center operator I saw the sins of inefficiency time and time again, and I applaud your efforts in trying to correct that problem in our industry.

Any final words for the readers?

Scott Charter: I’m excited where I am going with GTT. I’ve never been a chief marketing officer in a publicly-traded company before. Colleagues of mine have come up joked with me and said “Mr. CMO! What are you going to do?” I laugh. It’s so exciting. Coming here and just trying to drive brand.

Go meet 40 new companies out of Eastern Europe, or go meet Western Africa. Wow!

Pacific-Tier: The industry needs competent evangelists and we warmly welcome your entry into the marketing business. Thank you very much for the time!

You can download the audio/recording of Scott’s interview HERE

Scott Charter has more than 16 years of data telecommunications experience, specializing in data networking. Prior to launching WBS Connect, Scott held management positions with Qwest Communications, Rhythms Netconnections, and Echostar Communications.GTT is Global telecom and Technology http://www.gt-t.net/ 

Deleting Your Hard Drives – Entering a Green Data Center Future of SSDs

For those of us old-timers who muscled 9-track tapes on 10 ft tall on Burroughs B-3500 mainframe computers tape drives, with a total storage capacity of about 5 kilobytes, the idea of sticking a 64 gigabyte SD memory chip into my laptop computer is pretty cosmic.

Disk DriveTerms like PCAM (punch card adding machines) are no longer part of the taxonomy of information technology, nor would any young person in the industry comprehend the idea of a disk platter or disk pack.

Skipping a bit ahead, we find a time when you could purchase an IBM “XT” computer with an integrated 10 megabyte hard drive. No more reliance on 5.25″ or later 3.5″ floppy disks. Hard drives evolved to the point “Fryes” will pitch you a USB or home network 1 terabyte drive for about $100.

Enter the SSD

October 2009 brings us to the point hard drives are now becoming a compromise solution. The SSD (Solid State Disk) has jumped on the data center stage. With MySpace’s announcement they are replacing all 1770 of their existing disk drive-based server systems with higher capacity SSDs, and quoted that SSDs use only 1% of the power required by disk drives, data center rules are set to change again.

SSDs are efficient. If you read press releases and marketing material supporting SSD sales you will hear numbers like:

  • “…single-server performance levels with 1.5GB/sec. throughput and almost 200,000 IOPS
  • … a 320GB ioDrive can fill a 10Gbit/sec. Ethernet pipe
  • … four ioDrive Duos in a single server can scale linearly, which provides up to 6GB/sec. of read bandwidth and more than 500,000 read IOPS (Fusion.io)

This means not only are you saving power per server, you are also able to pack a multiple of existing storage capacity into the same space as currently possible with traditional disk systems. As clusters of SSDs become possible through additional tech development of parallel systems, we need to mentally get our heads around the concept of a three dimensional storage system, rather than a linear systems used today.

The concept of RAID and tape backup systems may also become obsolete, as SSDs hold their images when primary power is removed.

Now companies like MySpace will be in a really great position to re-negotiate their data center and colocation deals, as their actual energy and space requirements will potentially be a fraction of existing installations. Even considering their growth potential, the reduction in actual power and space will no doubt give them more leverage to use in the data center agreements.

Why? Data center operators are now planning their unit costs and revenues based on power sales and consumption. If a company like MySpace is able to reduce their power draw by 30% or more, this represents a potentially huge opportunity cost to the data center in space and power sales. Advantage goes to the tenant.

The Economics of SSDs

Today, the cost of SSDs is slightly higher than traditional disk systems. Even with fiber channel or Infiniband supporting large disk (SAN or NAS) installations. According to Yahoo Tech the cost of an SSD is about 4 times that of a traditional disk. However they also indicate that cost is quickly dropping, and we will probably see near parity within the next 3~4 years.

Now, if we remember the claim MySpace made that with the SSD migration they will consume only 1% of the power used by traditional disk (that is only the disk, not the entire chassis or server enclosure). If you look through a great white paper (actually it is called a “Green Paper”) provided by Fusion.io you will see that implementation of their SSD systems in a large disk farm of 250 servers (components include main memory, 4xnet cache, 4x tier 1/2/3 storage, tape storage) you will see a reduction from 146.6kw to 32kw for the site.

Data centers can charge anywhere from $120~$225/kw, showing that we could potentially, if you believe the marketing material, see a savings of $20,000/month @ $180/kw. This would also represent 47 tons of carbon, using the Carbon Footprint Calculator.

Fusion .io reminds us that

“In 2006, U.S. data centers consumed an estimated 61 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy, which accounted for about 1.5% of the total electricity consumed in the U.S. that year, up from 1.2% in 2005. The total cost of that energy consumption was $4.5 billion, which is more than the electricity consumed by all color televisions in the country and is equivalent to the electricity consumption of about 5.8 million average U.S. households.

• Data centers’ cooling infrastructure accounts for about half of that electricity consumption.

• If current trends continue, by 2011, data centers will consume 100 billion kWh of energy, at a total annual cost of $7.4 billion and would necessitate the construction of 10 additional power plants. (from “Taming the Power Hungry Data Center”)”

When we consider the potential impact of data center consolidation through use of virtualization and cloud computing, and the rapid advancements of SSD technologies and capacities, we may be able to make a huge positive impact by reducing the load Internet, entertainment, content delivery, and enterprise systems will have on our use of electricity – and subsequent impact on the environment.

Of course we need to keep our eyes on the byproducts of technology (e-Waste), and ensure making improvements in one area does not create a nightmare in another part of our environment.

Some Additional Resources

StorageSearch.Com has a great listing of current announcements and articles both following and describing the language of the SSD technology and industry. There is still a fair amount of discussion on the quality and future direction of SSDs, however the future does look very exciting and positive.

For those of us who can still read the Hollerith coding on punch cards, the idea of >1.25TB on and SSD is abstract. But abstract in a fun, exciting way.

How do you feel about the demise of disk? Too soon to consider? Ready to install?

John Savageau, Long Beach

Inspirational Green: Microsoft’s Rob Bernard at Data Center Dynamics – Seattle

Rob Bernard knows green. As the Chief Environmental Strategist at Microsoft he walks the talk of reducing our carbon footprint, and evangelizing the impact of our actions on both the environment and quality of life. Our quality of life, and the quality of life others on the planet wish to enjoy.

Our Commitment

At Microsoft we are committed to software and technology innovations that help people and organizations around the world improve the environment. Our goal is to reduce the impact of our operations and products, and to be a leader in environmental responsibility.

(From Rob Bernard’s presentation at Data Center Dynamics, 6 Aug 09, Bellevue, WA)

Rob told the story of his first week at Microsoft. In their Redmond campus, Microsoft provided logo Styrofoam coffee cups to both visitors and employees. Lots of cups. Almost two million Styrofoam cups a year ended up in the trash.

Immediately prior to joining Microsoft, Rob had taken his family on a short trip to Oregon, where he stopped for a coffee break, and noticed the barrister provided him a paper coffee cup that included a printed notice the cup would bio-degrade within 30 days of use. Dust to dust. And about the same price as the Styrofoam cups. Those environmentally unfriendly landfilling non-biodegradable Styrofoam coffee cups.

Needless to say, Microsoft is now using biodegradable coffee cups, made from recycled paper stock.

The Green Telephone

Rob gave another example of simple things we can do. Oddly, he was not evangelizing Microsoft products, but rather talking to us as one planet resident to another planet resident. He gave the example of telephones, computers, and video. Most of us have a telephone plugged into the wall at home, next to a desktop or personal computer, in the same room as a television set.

Rob simply explained that he has now unplugged the telephone and television, and uses all three services off a lower power draw “Energy Star” computer. No more need to burn electricity to power redundant utilities within the house.

Microsoft Carbon Production

Microsoft is not perfect. In fact Rob noted as a company they had produced more than 936,000 tons of carbon in 2008. This is considered a grossly unsatisfactory condition for a company such as Microsoft, which employs some of the greatest minds in the world. Now Microsoft is on a corporate search and destroy mission to seek out and eliminate waste. Not only internally, but also to provide the lessons learned in the quest to reduce their negative impact on the planet to everybody. Kind of “open source” green.

Part of the philosophy is to lead by example, within the Microsoft campus, and stress to employees that everything learned at campus may be transferrable to their personal lives and homes.

Act with Transparency, Let Employees Inspire

  • Understand your impact
  • Share and borrow best practice
  • Employees lead by example
    • Compostable dishware
    • Connector Bus (employee transportation from home or “park and rides”)
    • Kitchen Grease (contribute to bio-deisel)
  • Help individuals drive change
  • Support employee engagement
  • Measure, measure, measure

(From Rob Bernard’s presentation at Data Center Dynamics, 6 Aug 09, Bellevue, WA)

He actually believes, evangelizes, and strongly urges Microsoft employees to live the talk.

The Data Center Challenge

Rob advised the delegates the US Government is preparing to study the potential of taxing data center operators who consume too much utility power. He went on to urge data center operators to aggressively attack the existing inefficiencies of data center designs, and start a structured approach to rethink, rebuild, and redesign our approach to data centers.

Do you use blanking panels to reduce inter-cabinet hot air recirculation? Are you working on consolidating individual applications into server-based applications? Do you really understand the implications of running high powered computer and server systems which only use 5~10% of their CPU and disk capacity? When possible, do you insist on buying and deploying “Energy Star” equipment, for, well,… for everything?

One problem many data center operators have is they really don’t even know how much energy their data center, much less individual components of the data center, is actually using. As much as we’ve seen it in the news, most data center operators have not even attempted to calculate their Power Utilization Efficiency (PUE) rating or factor. That is the equation that shows how much power you consume for support services in the data center vs. actual power being applied to IT equipment and operations.

Bottom line is how do we fix problems when we have not even audited our equipment and power consumption? We’ve got to get smart. A data center drawing 10 megawatts of power is producing a creepy amount of carbon, so we better start taking it seriously. And oh yeah, the government is going to eventually regulate our industry (since some data centers consume nearly as much energy as the city of Fresno), and penalize those data center operators who cannot prove their efficient use of power.

Consider the Cloud

It is here. It is working. It helps consolidate inefficient data centers into efficient data centers, eliminating much of the unused processing and storage capacity we insist on burning our limited CAPEX to fund. If we can bring our cloud utilization up to 80% through virtualization of existing stand alone server systems, well – we will recover considerable operational and capital expenses by eliminating hardware that consumes electricity, space, and costs a lot to purchase.

Smaller companies can gain even larger benefit by outsourcing their processing and storage to commercial cloud Infrastructure and Software as a service (IaaS/SaaS) providers, eliminating their need to operate a data center – period.

Rob Sells the Audience

Throughout his presentation the audience remained silent, fixed on his words. It is easy to listen to a man who not only knows his material cold, but also projects an enthusiasm which reaches into the soul of everybody present. And those who were squeezing into the back of the room to hear more of his ideas, stories, and visions of a greener future.

I am sold, as were a couple hundred other conference participants. I want to be green, and will not only try to bring more conscientious effort to my personal life, but also become a micro-evangelist in my company. And a macro-evangelist to my industry.

Rob’s website is http://www.microsoft.com/environment

 

John Savageau, Long Beach

Breaking the Long Beach Breakwater

In 1938 Hawaii’s surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku held the first US national surf contest on the shores of San Pedro Bay in Long Beach, California.

For a variety of reasons, including development of Long Beach as a deep water port and use of Long Beach by the US Navy, a nine mile 50 foot deep breakwater extending nearly 12 feet above the ocean was built between 1932 and 1949. The breakwater is owned by the US government, and thus the city of Long Beach has been merely an observer in the process over the past 60 years, and has suffered the negative impact of a breakwater which has significantly altered the eco-system of San Pedro Bay.

Google Maps View of Long Beach Breakwater

Impacts of the Long Beach Breakwater

The ocean has a natural flow, developed over millions of years. Currents keep runoff from the land, and other sources such as the Los Angeles River from stagnating in the bay, recycling the water through nature’s own system of environmental maintenance.

lb-surfingSince the natural current of water coming into San Pedro Bay was changed, the current has moved further south along the beach area near the Long Beach Peninsula, resulting in accelerated beach erosion. Property owners are in danger of flooding due to this erosion, and are now being forced to pay for a beach replenishment project needed to protect property when heavy southern swells push massive amounts of water through the narrow inlet created by the breakwater.

While Long Beach has one of the most impressive beaches in the Southern California area, on any given summer day the beaches are nearly deserted. The water, lacking any real recirculation or current, is stagnant and much higher in pollutants than other beaches around the area. The “Save the Bay” organization has a monthly review of all beach areas around Los Angeles County, and routinely fails Long Beach’s coastal areas.

Just a few minutes away, the beaches at Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, or even the South Bay area around Redondo Beach are close enough to provide a much better alternative than spending an afternoon in an unhealthy, sometimes smelly beach such as most of Long Beach.

Legitimate Concerns

Of course, as with all things, this is not a simple issue. The THUMS oil islands would need to be reinforced to withstand additional surf. The areas around Shoreline Village would need some reinforcement, although the breakwaters on the Long Beach Harbor side of the bay would probably not be affected, and Shoreline would be secure.

Since the Naples area was heavily built and populated after construction of the breakwaters, there would also be a potential of higher water levels and flooding within this rather opulent section of town. There is also some disagreement on the potential effect on the Long Beach Peninsula, with some believing removing the breakwater would increase the risk of flooding in that area as well.

Breakwater Politics

On July 24, 2007, the Long Beach City Council directed staff to fund a Long Beach Breakwater Reconnaissance Study. “This reconnaissance study is the first step in answering the community’s questions about the impact and role of the Long Beach Breakwater, and could help determine the future of the City’s coastal areas.” LB Gov

Other organizations, with the “Surfrider Foundation” at the top of the list, have done extensive studies on the oceanic, climate, environmental, and social impacts of the Long Beach breakwater. The Surfrider Foundation has been successful in bringing public attention and awareness to the debate. Their studies are available as detailed reports at:

As an emotionally charged issue, politicians are naturally attracted or forced into the discussion. The congressional district of Long Beach falls into the 42nd congressional district, a seat held by Dana Rohrabacher. Rohrabacher has fallen on both sides of the issue, recently bending to the volume of discussion favoring removal of the breakwater.

Long Beach Councilwoman Rae Gabelich is in favor of doing a detailed study of the issue, not making a definitive statement one way or the other.
Frank Colonna, a former council member and resident of the city’s peninsula area was also the lone vote against approving a study two years ago.

On Friday, 26 June (2009) Congresswoman Laura Richardson announced she had secured $100,000 in federal funding to evaluate the Federal interest in a reconfiguration of the Long Beach Breakwater.

After requesting funding last year, conducting several meetings with the Army Corps and intense negotiations with Appropriations Committee leadership, today all of Long Beach once and for all can review the facts of the longest urban breakwater in the country,” Congresswoman Richardson announced. “This $100,000 allocation for the Army Corps’s reconnaissance report is one of the most vital allocations this region will receive and it is particularly vital in these economic times to ensure an objective evaluation is made so that all resident, business and government issues and concerns are considered.”

Next Steps

The federal announced by Congresswoman Richardson is only the first step in a fairly lengthy process. This first step only funds the Army Corps of Engineers to initiate the “Reconnaissance Study,” which will determine if there is US Government interest in removing or altering the breakwater. If the Army Corps of Engineers determines breakwater alterations are in the government’s interest, they will then create a Project Management Plan (PMP).

The PMP documents the purpose of a feasibility study for the alteration, and tasks needed to complete the project. The PMP may include the City of Long Beach, and recommend a potential agreement that would outline the relationship between the city, the Army Corps or Engineers, and the federal government to complete the project.

This would include items such as who pays what percentage, which agency completes the tasks, and the overall plan to complete the project. This could take years.

On the other hand, we have to start at some point, and Congresswoman Richardson has taken the lead in representing the people of Long Beach in addressing the issue.

What We Can Do

Regardless of which side of the Long Beach Breakwater issue we stand, we need to take a stand. The result of this study and debate will potentially cost the city and government a lot of money, change the environment, and change the value of property near the waterfront. There will be an impact on surrounding communities, and an impact on the oil industry.

On the other hand, maybe someday in the future surfers will return to Long Beach and the city will regain its historical nickname as the “Waikiki Beach of California.”

John Savageau, Long Beach

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