Q: Who Really Runs Long Beach? [Open Forum/Opinion]

whorunslongbeachThe above image was so hilarious, I just had to post it. It was sent to me by a local who wants to be called Citizen X, who asks, “Who really runs Long Beach? Is there somebody behind the scenes? I sure think so.” Citizen X adds how Long Beach needs an elected Mayor over an appointed City Manager, so accountability is in order.  

Is Citizen X right?  Is there a wizard behind the curtain pulling all the strings?  Before this turns into an X-Files episode, I will go on record and say that I would vote for current City Manager  Jack Schnirman if he ran for City Mayor, because I feel he is doing a fine job. That being said, Who Really Runs Long Beach? Please Note: This is an open forum. I am not responsible for what you folks post, so please post at your own risk.

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27 thoughts on “Q: Who Really Runs Long Beach? [Open Forum/Opinion]”

  1. How is a mayor more accountable than a city manager? Or, more appropriately put, how is a mayor less corruptible than a city manager? I’m not being facetious, genuine inquiry…

  2. We don’t need to pay for anymore government. I agree with Charlie on accountability. However, I would like to know why the City Mgr. is a contractual position rather than an elected one. Thanks

  3. If the politicians don’t want it, we should do it. I don’t trust any of these guys. And Jack is my least favorite of them all. The Ray Nagin of Long Beach. How quickly we forget.

  4. I think the idea of an elected Mayor is a good one. Lets say we have a city manager that everybody loves, the second the regime changes, the new council will take the person out and appoint their own person, who could be terrible – us residents will have no say on that process.

    With an elected Mayor, the people decide who is mayor, regardless of what political party is the majority.

  5. Wikipedia offers an interesting historical note about the origins of the city’s appointed manager:

    “In 1939, Mayor Louis F. Edwards was fatally shot by a police officer on the front steps of his home. Officer Alvin Dooley, a member of the police motorcycle squad and the mayor’s own security detail, killed the mayor after losing his bid for PBA president to a candidate the mayor supported. Jackson Boulevard was later renamed Edwards Boulevard in honor of the late mayor. After the murder, the city residents passed legislation to adopt a city manager system, which still exists to this day. The city manager is hired by and reports to the City Council.”

    I’m not clear on the reasoning that led from one thing to the other, but here is a front page newspaper story from Alabama detailing the incident and the community’s reaction:

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1817&dat=19391115&id=I01BAAAAIBAJ&sjid=lLcMAAAAIBAJ&pg=6003,5814010

  6. A mayoral system could create checks and balances — assuming you have a mayor that is not part of the slate of the majority council members. On the other hand, you could have gridlock, unless the Council is stripped of power — which may well be the case in a mayoral system. Then there would be no check on the mayor. A benefit in theory of our current system is 5 people or a majority of them need to work together to give direction to the city mgr. I sort of like that spread responsibility/accountability. In contrast, the mayor would make decisions alone, and, arguably, ifsusceptible to “influence”, would be able to get things done alone w/o check/balance of spread accountability. Weighing these things over the years, I continue to reside on the side of the City mgr system.

    Input from former council members, particularly those now removed from active politics would be useful.

  7. The Mayor’s position was eliminated to “remove politics from the City’s operations, and replace a politician with a professional”. Doesn’t quite work that way, does it?

    If you are interested in the how and why, read “Scoundrels by the Sea,” a great history of Long Beach politics and its criminals. You can get it on Amazon.

    It will explain the entire tale.

  8. Everything surrounding Sandy. I’m sorry, but it was a disaster for the days, then weeks, then months to follow. I’d point to my Facebook posts on the city’s wall, but they were all deleted before the elections so they could spread lies about how wonderful they were handling Sandy. They sucked, they weren’t accountable and then they rewrote history and removed the opinions of those who disagreed. The pre-election pandering and politicking of the boardwalk is what really disgusted me most.

    So, no more “coalitions” and no more city manager. Everyone should run on their own merits.

  9. Why is Long Beach even a city? Is that a dumb question? Why shouldn’t Long Beach be consolidated into the Town of Hempstead like the rest of the south shore of Nassau County? Wouldn’t the cost of our services then be spread over a much larger tax base. Over 700,000 people live in the town, only 30,000 in the city of Long Beach. Whats the advantage of being an independent city?

  10. You should get a blog (or a tumblr, or whatever) so you can document these atrocities.

    I think things were screwed up pretty much after Sandy for weeks.

    But then again, I wasn’t expecting Jack Schnirman to come personally rebuilding my home. And the larger issues, like not being able to flush the toilets, I don’t think he was personally responsible for fixing. Is he a plumber or civil engineer? Doesn’t Long Beach pay people to do those jobs? (People whose homes were damaged just as much as everyone else?)

  11. If you have an issue with the local police department, you can complain at a city council meeting or try to speak with a council member. If LB decides to just be a hamlet, you need to complain at the county level. Got a problem with garbage pickup? Complain at the township level. (FWIW, I don’t think ToH has garbage pickup that is as flexible as LB in terms of pickup times.)

    There’s still a bunch of things that would remain local. School district. Fire district. Water district. Etc. Since those are all broken down within the ToH anyhow, regardless of village/hamlet.

    So while you would be able to scale a few things better, it wouldn’t be all things. And things like beach passes, you’d buy those from the town then, and money would go to whatever the town wanted, not just whatever the LB government spends it on.

    So there are pros and cons. I’m not sure I know enough to really compare.

    I do know that a frequently mention side effect of all the fiefdoms on Long Island is you get dozens upon dozens of school superintendants. Do you really need all of them to run a public education system? Could they be consolidated? How many police chiefs do you need for the patchwork of police forces (not nearly as many as there are school districts)? I understand those concerns and I’m not quite sure what having dozens and dozens of little fiefdoms, each with their own way of doing things and overhead, gets us as taxpayers (aside from the obvious Jericho and Syosset school district children getting an awesome education system and those in Hempstead and Uniondale getting a far less than excellent education system for no other reason than their parents can’t afford a house in a nicer imaginary box and thus they are less deserving by definition).

  12. Okay for you political novices out there I will break it down… the local party leaders (dem=Zapson/kohut &rep=Moriarty) find candidates to run for city council. They get elected and if they have a majority they get to call the shots , one of which is picking a city manager who will be loyal to them and their interests/campaign promises (the leader also assists in selection since they typically know a bit more about the rodeo than the newly elected city council members) . So in the end it is the local political leaders who are really running the city and providing guidance. This how its been for decades and its this was for a very good reason, the leaders have the most experience in how the game is played. Think about it if you got picked to run cause you make a good candidate and you don’t have a ton of experience in how the city works, you need someone to guide you. I know its not right but its the facts. Now the real rub is if you have a evil leader (think the current administration) then the citizens get screwed left and right cause they are out for their own self serving interests. So don’t just look at the candidates or city manager but the people behind the scenes offering counsel.

  13. I am assuming you are referring to “handlebars” and “the fuhrer”? Because if if you are, nope none of us voted for them! Heck many of us did not even vote for the other clowns up on the dais at the end of the video.

  14. B, One doesn’t need to shout out that Sandy was a disaster. There is a difference between emotional subjective speculation, and proactive organization/defensive response.

    Our elected leaders also live in this community, and have families, and are not your targets to vent over every thing that’s going wrong in one’s life. A local leader is a thankless job. And many of these leaders made a lot of people’s lives easier with the pragmatic work they did.

    If people think they can do a better job at the city council/city manager, then what’s stopping you?

    I remember people shouting belligerently on facebook about why the City Council members didn’t do anything to notify residents of the Election stations, and that is ridiculous, YES Ridiculous, because that is solely up to the board of elections, and at no way part of the city council’s requirements. And from those statements on facebook a cultivation of negative emotionally driven attacks came to these hard working people/neighbors! I know personally it’s better to go to a city hall meeting and have my statements recorded (Like I did about sewage, and toilets at the very first meeting they had, and I was still temporarily living in Queens). If all you want to do is get your voice heard on an authentic forum, well you should chose a city council meeting rather than a facebook wall post. Facebook is nothing more than a data entry service where people of varying maturity levels, varying age & experience levels are free to enter whatever data they respectfully subject others to, and without any accountability. A city hall forum on the other hand is much different.
    On that note I would entertain the idea of the TOH possibly consolidating the city of Long Beach because of concerns to over-payed administrators in many departments. Frankly, as many of us have seen at School board meetings, city hall meetings, Library meetings, and Hospital meetings, people have nothing better to do than repeat their trifling sensational stories just for the reward of stroking their egos. If you made the destination of at least one of those places to meet, in Uniondale, then it would filter out the people devoted to the serious concerns, from those who waste people’s time.

  15. Kohut = Handlebars
    Zapson = The Fuhrer
    If you knew about these two I doubt you would have voted for their puppets on the dais or the CM they put in charge.

  16. The best option for LB. But it will never happen. They will just bankrupt the property tax payers first, since they are in the minority in this town. You are going to see massive tax liens and seizures in long beach in the next couple of years.

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