Somebody narc'd on me.
I could have fought it. The Long Beach city ordinance is a little vague (see it at http://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=16115&stateId=5&stateName=California and search on "bees"). But the neighbors I suspect are involved are moving soon. I intend to wait 'till the new ones move in, and see if I can get more cooperation, and less paranoia, from them.
It was a sad thing to see the little ladies go, but I am optimistic that I will get to try again.