Tag Archives: city council meeting

A Resident take on Tuesday’s City Council Meeting [Guest Author]

NOT written by Anthony. The author wishes to remain anonymous:

I went to Tuesday’s city council meeting fully expecting good public theatre. I walked out having witnessed a tragedy for our community.

I’ll put all my cards on the table up front and say that I believe there is room for improvement in our professional firefighting force, especially in terms of our emergency medical service. Improvements that certainly were not taking place under the current system. So I am at least open to some of the changes the city seems ready to implement within our emergency response system. My willingness to consider changes is based on the following:

  • We have an inefficient structure within the paid force. It is an excessively top heavy organization, with nearly one lieutenant for each firefighter.
  • I can see how having highly trained paramedics might offer superior service to EMT’s.
  • Given the nature of most emergency calls, with 75% of the calls being EMS, I can see how putting greater emphasis on paramedics over firefighters makes sense.
  • I can see how having a pre-deployed ambulance in high demand areas (as proposed in the ICMA report) could improve our response times. So for everyone arguing how this is a safety issue, why would you be against improving response times?
  • While some are arguing that cross trained firefighters and EMTs offer the most versatility, as a taxpayer I can appreciate the savings associated with optimizing the makeup of the force to better meet the emergency services needs of the community. A force made up entirely of cross-trained firefighters is an expensive luxury that is not making us any safer. In fact, if the proposals are implemented, Long Beach would actually see an increase in available emergency medical services.

You can agree or disagree with me on the above points. That’s fine. But they’re what make sense to me from a logical perspective. But this post isn’t really about that anyway.

What this post IS about is the complete and utter lack of civil discourse taking place in our city.

To our firefighter community and their supporters – your behavior is doing you no favors. You’re coming across as an angry mob that’s either unwilling or unable to engage in a factual debate. Saying a report is garbage doesn’t make it so. Saying our firefighters are somehow doing a better job simply because they’re locals is insulting. Does that mean that every NYPD and FDNY professional that commutes to work from LB is doing inferior work? Your inability to acknowledge even the most obvious inefficiencies in the way things are currently done (11 Lieutenants? Horrible relations between Professional and Volunteers? A completely outdated leadership structure!) only serves to undermine whatever valid points you might try to make.

By the way, at community meetings your attempt to intimidate our elected officials and those that don’t agree with you by your constant public outbursts is likely not helping your cause, and is most certainly causing collateral damage. By intimidating your fellow residents, you are stifling a healthy public debate. In addition to myself, I know of others that have lost respect for both your cause and professionalism. I assume this isn’t what you want, so I implore you to consider your actions and behavior moving forward.

The perceived anger, however, is not without its merit.  And that’s, of course, because the City Council refuses to publicly weigh-in on or answer any questions on the issue. This is indefensible. These are our elected representatives…our fellow citizens. And they owe it to the community to explain their thinking and actions. Not just by voting one way or another on some resolution that may or may not take place, but in a way that shows they acknowledge some of the reasonable concerns expressed by their constituents.

I’ve already stated that I’m open to some of the changes being proposed. Of the council though, I’d ask this. “If you’re not willing to publicly defend your decisions, why should I?”. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. You were elected to lead, so lead. Who knows, someone like myself might just follow.

And to the rest of my fellow residents, whether it be on this blog, Facebook or on the 6th floor of city hall – please consider your own role and actions in all of this. “Give em Hell” is not civil discourse. A shouting match at city hall is not a “community awakening”. Posting half-truths and incendiary material on Facebook is NOT helping to educated our citizenry or move our community forward. It is abundantly clear that most have not read the ICMA report. It’s fine to take exception with it’s findings, but it is incumbent upon you to at least be versed with what you’re so passionately railing against.

Is it so long since Sandy that we forgot we’re all in this together? Clearly, we’re not going to agree on everything. Democracy is necessarily messy. It depends on spirited, informed debate to arrive at optimal decisions. But a debate worthy of our city can’t happen with all sides acting the way they have been. And because of that, we all lose.

Guns N’ Trees: “Take me back to the Paradise City by the Sea” [July 1st City Council Meeting]

“Take me back to the Paradise City by the Sea where the trees are green and the guns are … uh… water guns?”

gunsandtreesConcerned residents flocked to last nights City Council Meeting to address many of things: Loud bar noise, Non-ADA compliant bathrooms with offensive and misspelled wording on one of the doors, recent alleged gun violence and city-wide tree removal. Ohhhh so much amazing stuff was said, but I cannot paraphrase everything. I will touch on guns and trees because I made that terrible photoshop graphic and must roll with it.

You should watch the videos of the Council Meeting for full content. They can be found here:

1. GUNS, DRUGS, GANGS, VIOLENCE 

The city addressed this prior to the public session. I guess they anticipated residents bringing the topic up. There was talk of crime being down as well as addressing all the rumors that float around. ‘Don’t believe everything you read or hear until the city makes it official’ was the general city sentiment. One example of a recent rumor was whether or not a gun was involved in an incident that started in Lido beach and ended up in Long Beach (does this bring back any memories from a few years ago?).

The city statement wasn’t good enough, as several residents raised the issue during public session:

John spoke first (watch his highlight here).  His main concern was the communication between the city and residents regarding recent incidents that involved gun violence specifically. John also brought up the idea how minorities are not being properly represented in our police force.

Kerri: (watch her highlight here: part 1 & part 2). Also concerned with recent gun violence, reports of herion use and boardwalk safety. She also wants speed limits on side streets to be addressed.

Jessie (watch her highlight here): Sums up all the amazing residents in Long Beach who have stepped up with no intention other than making Long Beach an amazing place. Jessie asks the city to step up the same way.  Not with tacky billboards (thank you!) or pay raises, but something of substance, I literally cannot paraphrase her speech at all because it was so amazing, but I will get a copy and post it on the blog later in the day for you to read.

“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” Walt Disney (and Jessie at last nights city council meeting)

Todd Kaminsky, who is running for New York State Assembly, spoke and confirmed that Yes, he does indeed live in Long Beach (referring to this).Todd offered his service to Long Beach on dealing with gun violence in the city. As a 10 year prosecutor,  he has a ton of experience in this field. Will the city take him up on it? My guess is no, since his opponent Anthony Eramo sits on City Council.

Long Beach responded today by posting a Police Department Community Engagement Update. Click on it for the larger image. Satisfied? Hmm..

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2. TREES

Long Beach addressed tree removal by going over the Tree FAQ, which is posted on the city website. They cited public safety as a main reason why most city-wide tress are being removed; the majority of the trees have suffered salt water-damage. Getting rid of dead and sick trees with healthy, young ones will bring clean air to our city. I cannot disagree with that since young trees do provide more oxygen.

The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. U.S. Department of Agriculture [Arbor Day]

A resident asked what kind of trees the city planned on replanting: “$10 trees or sycamores?” Well, I hope not sycamores. As beautiful as they are, they aren’t the best for the area and are pretty diseased as it is.  Another resident brought up pruning. She said she hasn’t seen any being done, yet was told by one of the arborist how it would.

I know so many people will disagree with me on this topic, but too bad. Start your own blog and tell us why half-dead trees are better than brand new young ones.

When it comes to these trees, we have to think with our mind and not our heart. I know it’s popular to say “keep the trees,” but my house is surrounded by sycamores with falling branches. I cannot wait for the city to remove them. The reality is, native trees appropriate for Long Beach are best for Long Beach. Best for our health, best for the local birds, bugs, best, squirrels and opossums.

Did they city go to far and cut down trees that could have been saved? I don’t know. Go ask your local arborist 😉

Dune Repair, Dune Walk-Overs, Grass Plantings (Army Corps of Engineers Project Update)

The city just updated the March 19th City Council agenda with plans to move forward with the fed-funded Army Corp of Engineer project. Separate from the boardwalk rebuild, this Army Corp project will answer all your questions on how your house, business and sanity will be safe from future super storms.

armycorp

Item #8: “City desires to amend the current agreement in order for Coastal  Planning and Engineering to assist the City with a Dune Repair Project, consisting of the  preparation of plans and specifications for dune repair, for the dunes walk-overs and grass planting, as well as assist in the bidding process, construction administration services and acquire permits from the DEC for said projects;”

Now, how high will those dunes be? High enough to make Frank Herbert proud, I hope. Wait, will they block our views? Are they even enough to protect us? Well, incorporated walk-overs tells me that there will be no more “pathways” like what the West End dunes had. Every dune entrance to the beach will most likely  have a walk-over or they will be breached with ease. Remember a few years ago when the City of Long Beach got in trouble by the DEC for widening the paths through the dunes in the West End? I can’t seem to find the article… but yeah, those paths have to go. I think. Right?

We shall find out tomorrow at City Council, 7PM.

 

 

City Council Meeting – October 2nd Edition

What’s on the October 2nd agenda? PRACTICALLY NOTHING! Tonight is perfect for anybody who wants to bitch about parking, budget, recent shootings, trucks on the boardwalk or whatever else is bugging the crap out of you. Why? BECAUSE THERE ARE ONLY TWO FREAKIN’ ITEMS ON THE AGENDA and one of them has to do with waiving the off-street parking for the new Jewelry Store at the former-Healing Oasis location – that should take two minutes.  (FYI: Healing Oasis moved a couple of stores down).

Tonight’s Items:

1. Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Enter into a Contract for Emergency Ambulance Billing and Collection Services from the Lowest Responsible Proposer. Legislative Memo: The last time this service was awarded (7/15/2008), MultiMed Billing Service charged a fee of 10% of all monies collected. With this new contract, MultiMed is charging a fee of 6.5% of all monies collected, resulting in an increase of 3.5% in revenue to the City. The fees for Medicaid billing have also been reduced.

2. Resolution Authorizing Publication of a Notice of Public Hearing of an Application to Waive the Off-Street Parking Requirements for Premises: 250 East Park Avenue (street floor), Long Beach, New York. Re: Jewelry Store

City Council Meeting – September 19th Edition

What’s on the September 17th agenda? An adrenaline-rushing fine time.

  • ITEM 1: Amending this law: 15 MPH in the Presidents section of Long Beach: Fifteen miles per hour. No person shall operate a motor vehicle upon any public highway or street of the city between Nevada Avenue and New York Avenue, both inclusive, excepting only West Park Avenue and West Beech Street; and upon East Pine Street between Neptune Boulevard and Curley Street and East Chester Street between Neptune Boulevard and Curley Street; upon Curley, Harmon, Clark, Vinton, Farrell, Barnes, Kirkwood, Heron, Boyd, Dalton, Kerrigan, Armour, Doyle and Forester Streets; and upon Cleveland, Harding, Mitchell, Belmont, Pacific, Atlantic, Coolidge, Wilson and Taft Avenues at a rate of speed in excess of fifteen (15) miles per hour.”
    Sec. 2. This Ordinance shall take effect September 20, 2012. (Ok, now we are getting somewhere. Some of those streets are pretty narrow, so this is long overdue.)
  • ITEM 2: Amending the Budget for the Fiscal Year Commencing July 1, 2012 and Ending June 30, 2013, and Re-Appropriating Sums Set Forth Therein and Determining and Fixing an Amended Real Estate Tax Levy. (Property tax increase? I am hearing 14%… I blame the last guys, but what do I know.)
  • ITEM 3: Authorizing a few tax cf Certioraris which were already in the budet (Congrats to those who got their grievance. Don’t talk to me about how property taxes are computed. It’s all wrong. In lamen terms: Did you know the nicer you make your house, the more property taxes you pay? You are essentially being punished for niceness. Then you file for a grievance and the county/city has to take out a loan to pay you back. It’s a mess.)
  • ITEM 4: Resolution Authorizing the Retention of Albrecht, Viggiano, Zureck & Company, P.C. as Independent Auditors for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2012.
  • ITEM 5: Resolution Authorizing a Dispute Resolution Procedure. Legislative Memo: The Collective Bargaining Agreement between the City of Long Beach and the Long Beach Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association expired on June 30, 2008. In light of the City’s fiscal crisis and the fact that the economy is in a downturn, now is an opportune time to push forward and get a favorable arbitration settlement in order to avoid another costly round of arbitration with the appointment of an Impartial Arbitrator.
  • ITEM 6: Proactive management of our outstanding debt expected to save the City approximately $100,000.00 after expenses associated with the refunding. Savings will be realized annually over the seven years remaining life of the debt. (There are like five million pages of this on the agenda. Would you believe four million? Read it there.)
  • CERTIFICATES OF RECOGNITION to MATT DEMERSET, CASEY KANTOR, BILLY PAPETTI For Their Commitment and Aid to the Members of Our Community with Disabilities and Helping to Organize the Annual C.U.R.B. Bike Ride for the Past Nine Years (YAY! Well deserved and congrats!!)

City Council Meeting – September 4th Edition

What’s on the September 4th agenda?

  • Resolution Granting Waiver of Off-Street Parking Requirements for the new Thai Restaurant @ 895 West Beech Street
  • Bond Ordinance Authorizing Separation Payments to Employees in and for the City of Long Beach, Nassau County, New York, at an Estimated Cost of $6,650,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of up to $6,650,000 Bonds of Said City to Pay Part of the Cost Thereof.
  • Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Enter into a State Assistance Contract for a New York State Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program  Grant.  Legislative Memo: The City intends to complete a Nomination Study for an approximate 170 acres characterized with five potential Brownfield  sites that are located within the City and incorporate the neighborhood of  North Park, as well as part of the Westholme North neighborhood. Waterfront property = $$$  [see – The Forbidden Zone of Long Beach: A Photographic Journey.] This is actually quite interesting. I remember years ago with then-Nassau Executive Suozzi doing his photo opp next to the knocked down Long Beach Incinerator. There was plenty of talk about redeveloping that area. I heard about a marina, the Marriott Hotel, four large residential towers, seafood restaurants on Reynolds Channel, a sculpture garden, an amphitheater and a walk connecting all this to the tennis facility on the other end of the Long Beach Bridge. 
  • To replace railings destroyed by Hurricane Irene on the ramps at Grand and Lincoln Boulevards. 87 ½% of the cost to be reimbursed to the City by State and Federal funds. Are we going to lose more historical railing? [see – Historical Railing Requested By Historical Society and Opinion: Old Boardwalk Railing Revisited (Work being done in the name of job security?)]
  • Resolution to Schedule the Second Regular Council Meeting of September for Wednesday, September 19, 2012. Second meeting?
  • You cannot tell a lie and drive over 15mph in the Presidents: “Fifteen miles per hour. No person shall operate a motor vehicle upon any public  highway or street of the city between Nevada Avenue and New York Avenue, both inclusive, excepting only West Park Avenue and West Beech Street; and upon East Pine Street between Neptune Boulevard and Curley Street and East Chester Street between Neptune Boulevard and Curley Street; upon Curley, Harmon, Clark, Vinton, Farrell, Barnes, Kirkwood, Heron, Boyd, Dalton, Kerrigan, Armour, Doyle and Forester Streets; and upon Cleveland, Harding, Mitchell, Belmont, Pacific, Atlantic, Coolidge, Wilson and Taft Avenues at a rate of speed in excess of fifteen (15) miles per hour.”
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENT CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION TO the Long Island Crisis Center For Their Commitment to Help Those in Need And Their Contribution to Our Community
I feel like I’m missing something…

 

City Council Meeting – August 21th Edition

What’s on the August 21st agenda? Nothing exciting. There is no reason to read the rest of this article. Go outside while the weather is still nice and enjoy the beach. For those who love to be bored to death, please read on.

  • More Bamboo talk: Make sure your non-invasive bamboo doesn’t grow on a neighbor’s property, or you’ll be fined $250 per day. Make sure you have no invasive bamboo whatsoever, or your head will be cut off. This Ordinance shall take effect three months after enactment.
  • Amend and specify the hours for all commercial garbage collection, effective September 15, 2012. I am really happy about this. I think it’s going to make a big difference keeping our streets cleaner. 
  • Personnel change: In an effort to address quality of life concerns and to keep the streets clean of garbage, a current sanitation worker will be empowered to become a sanitation inspector in order to enforce City Code regulations regarding all sanitation collection. Also known as: Delete: One (1) Sanitation Worker ($43,717.00). Add: One (1) Sanitation Inspector $50,030.00
  • Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Enter into a Contract for Masonry Work at Various Locations Throughout the City of Long Beach on an “As-Needed” Basis. I see plenty of “As-needed” mason work in front of all the stores on Park Avenue. Did somebody say sidewalk overhaul?
  • Enter into an Agreement with the New York Power Authority Energy Conservation Project. Project will include the replacement of 960 street lights throughout the City to more energy efficient induction lighting, as well as an upgrade to the lighting systems at both City Hall and the Ice Arena. More of those energy efficient lights for people to complain about?
  • Resolution Appointing Eight (8) Members to the Board of Ethics for the City of Long Beach. Look at the agenda for the list of ethical people.
  • Waive the Off-Street Parking Requirements for the premises located at 895 West Beech Street (street floor) to be used as a Thai Restaurant.
  • Resolution Authorizing Publication for Hearing of an Ordinance Authorizing Separation Payments to Employees in and for the City of Long Beach, Nassau County, New York, at an Estimated Cost of $5,450,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of up to $5,450,000 Bonds of Said City to Pay Part of the Cost Thereof.  Legislative Memo: This item is on for publication only. Issuance of this Bond allows the City to amortize the cost of separation/retirement payments (this was included in the CSEA Memorandum of Agreement) to employees over a period of five years. Legislation was approved authorizing and empowering the City to prepare for such events. by the State Senate, Bill No. S7672 and the Assembly, Bill No. A9954. (yeah, I just copied and pasted the whole thing. I haven’t had enough coffee yet to figure this one out. Bond ordinance, retirement payments, blah blah blah.)
  • Certificates & Acknowledgements to the Summer Police Specials of 2012 & CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION TO Firefighter Dave Yolinsky, For His True Heroism at the Scene of an Accident Staying with and Aiding a Man in a Wheelchair that was Hit by a Truck. Way to go folks!

City Council Meeting – August 7th Edition

What’s on the  August 7th agenda?

  • Item No. 1:

    It shall be unlawful for any owner, occupant or person having control of any lot or land, or of a plot of land along the sidewalk or street adjacent to the same between the sidewalk and the curb, to plant, grow and/or maintain bamboo. The term “bamboo” shall be defined as any tropical or semi-tropical grass of the genera Bambusa, Dendrocalamus or of any other related genera.”

  • “The Canals” street fixing talk:

Boyd Street (between East Chester Street and East Pine Street)

Vinton Street (from East Pine Street to the Bay)

  • Resolution Authorizing the Formal Adoption of the Long Beach Local Development Corporation. (It’s been a while since we heard about the LBLDC).
  • Annual Testing at the Water Treatment Plant. (Nothing to see here, expect some pesticides, prescription drugs, chlorine, etc…)
  • Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Enter into an Agreement for Alarm Administration Services. (Somebody please hit the snooze button!)
  • Resolution Appointing Eight (8) Members to the Board of Ethics for the City of Long Beach. (Don’t they know ethics and politics don’t mix?)
  • Resolution Authorizing the transfer of $9000 big ones. Legislative Memo: When boardwalk benches and bench plaques are purchased by the public, the payments are deposited into one account and then transferred to the Benches account as needed. (sit on it)
  • Publication specify the hours for all commercial garbage collection. (Hopefully this will keep the commercial garbage in the trash where it belongs and not flying around our streets, bay, ocean, sewers and in my yard.)
  • (What, no waivering of off-street parking requirements this week? What kind of City Council Agenda is this?)
  • (Well Deserved) ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

CERTIFICATES OF RECOGNITION TO
The following Firefighters:
Chino Cuevas
Nick Costantakos
Sam Pinto
Hadrick Ray
For Their Courage and Dedication While Responding to a
Fire in Lido Beach on July 27th, 2012

CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION TO
Elliot Zuckerman
For His Long Service to our Community by Sharing His
Joy of Surfing with Countless Students Through Surf2Live and
Special Needs Surfers Through Surfersway

City Council Meeting – July 17th Edition

What’s on the July 17th agenda?

  • The waiver of off-street parking requirements for 273 West Park Avenue (It wouldn’t be a City Council meeting without one of these).
  • Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Enter into a Service Agreement with the Long Beach Housing Authority to Continue Providing Inspections for Section 8 Housing. (The City is getting $65,000.00 for something.)
  • To prohibit the planting, growth and maintenance of bamboo within the City. (Bamboo is an invasive species that hurts native plants).
  • The hiring of attorneys to protect themselves.
  • Fix City Hall (The Building) Enter into a Contract for Engineering and Design/Construction Administration Services for the Rehabilitation of City Hall with the Lowest Responsible Proposer. (Lowest Bidder was from Brookhaven. That means something to somebody and/or insert Crookhaven Joke.)
  • Sigelock Spartan, LLC will provide the city some fire hydrants on demand. 

City Council Meeting – July 5th Edition

What’s on the July 5th agenda?

  • The City Council President Shuffle (read – Rotating Presidents)
  • The waiver of off-street parking requirements for Bank of America, 915 West Beech Street (exciting!)
  • Capital Improvement Program (reconstruction of roads, fences, sewers, water systems and a whole lot more). How about we also brick the sidewalks on Park Avenue? I’m getting tired of uneven, lard stained sidewalks. 
  • Automatic Alarm Systems (Police Business)
  • The Purchase of new Fire Hydrants (Will they be the new blue ones that are somewhat phallic? Hey. Somebody had to say it.)
  • Tax issues at 645 West Broadway and 21 Arizona Avenue
  • A grant application phase requesting funding to stabilize and improve the shore line between Monroe Boulevard and the Waterfront Park.
  • A grant application phase requesting funding to make improvements to the Ocean Beach Park Boardwalk.
  • The waiver of off-street parking Requirements for 273 West Park Avenue (street floor), Long Beach, New York. Re: On-Line Medical Supply Store (for Long Beach Surgical)
  • A bunch of certificates of recognition being handed out. I want one!