Tag Archives: city council

Long Beach changes terms of leadership [NEWSDAY]

Newsday reports on our rotating City Council Presidents:

[quote]To decentralize authority in Long Beach, city officials have restructured the city council so the board will have a new president every six months.

City Council President Fran Adelson, who had accepted the position with no term limit when she took office in January, stepped down as president. Adelson will continue as a council member. Councilman Len Torres was voted in as new president on Thursday night by a count of 4-1.[/quote]

Read the full article over @ Newsday.com: Long Beach changes terms of leadership.

Rotating Presidents (Fran Will Step Down. Len Will Step In)

According to the City of Long Beach website, Fran Adelson is stepping down as President of our City Council:

In the interest of openness and transparency, the City Council will be appointing a new President every six months. It is the Council’s intention that Fran Adelson, having just completed her first six months in office as Council President, will be turning over the title to Len Torres. Scott J. Mandel will be stepping in as Vice President. These changes will occur at Thursday night’s meeting (source – Rotating City Council Officers)

I like this idea. Although, I must admit, I don’t exactly know what the duties are of the president compared to the other council members. I know I can look that up, but I’m hoping one of you readers can explain it.

I do like this sharing of power though; let’s give everybody a turn. The real question is: Will City Councilmen Michael Fagen and John McLaughlin be part of the rotation?

City Council Meeting Video (February 7th, 2012)

Here is video the February 7th City Council meeting. Again, iOS users (ipad, iphone, ipad touch) might have an issue viewing this video. If that’s the case then try one of the flash-enabled web browser apps from the itunes app store. I have used iSWiFTER and it works pretty well, but there are others that might be better.

(Source – City of Long Beach – City Council Meeting Video)

Weeping for Joy (The Induction Ceremony)

City Hall literally wept today on the back of the man’s coat. I sat next him to while the “New” City Council was sworn in. A few drips caught my eye as they fell from the 6th floor ceiling when we were alternating from sitting to standing in applause for the swearing in of Fran Adelson, Scott Mandel and Len Torres and duty to our flag and country.

The room was filled with supporters from both sides of the horrific division during the November 2011 election. This ceremony thankfully was not interrupted by shouts of blame but genuine applause for going forward in what seems a dismal economic outlook in our City’s coffers. During the first Special City Council meeting a Temporary President was chosen. Mr. Torres was unanimously passed as the man in charge and in a gallant manor he declined and proposed Fran Adelson to be the President of the City Council. A drop fell again on the man’s coat. I felt obliged to tell him our ceiling was leaking but he looked so happy I didn’t want to rain on his parade. I look forward to watching our elected officials along with Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Fagen try and sort out what some consider a sinking ship of wasted monies and talent. You can watch them too! Kudos to the City for it’s first live Ustream video: LINK

Overdrawn Salaries? Seasonal Help bleeding us dry? Long Beach in the Red.

Rather than making any assumptions, pointing fingers, getting quotes from those involved and creating a giant circle jerk of accusations – I’m going to make the following documents speak for themselves: (ClarsonDec9-1, Clarsondec9-2 – or see images below) My personal take on this? My 12 year old nephew can do a better job balancing the budget. OH NO HE DIDN’T!

Yep, let the following documents speak for themselves and you can all draw your own conclusions. I’m tired and I get no money to run this blog, so I’m too cranky to further investigate.

$4.5M loan plan approved by City Council 3-2 (& a note about this blog)

Yesterday’s Emergency City Council Meeting resolutions just needed a simple majority and not super majority vote. Not surprisingly, it got just that (3 LB coalitions to 2 Democrats)- as the LB Herald writes:

The City Council passed two resolutions during a contentious emergency meeting on Wednesday night that will allow the city to borrow $4.5 million in the face of a cash-flow problem that would have prevented the city from meeting its Dec. 23 payroll obligations and making payments to a number of retirees.

To bring you all up to speed, please read our SBC related articles listed on the bottom of this post. The LB Herald has the full Emergency Meeting story, so read it there: Long Beach City Council OK’s $4.5 million loan to pay workers

Just a quick note to those who think SBC is a “one-sided” blog: Our main goal is to make Long Beach the best place in the world. By attempting to do just that, we blog our opinions on all sorts of topics. Just because we have a difference of opinion with some readers on certain topics doesn’t mean we’re “one-sided.” We are not affiliated in anyway with any political party and don’t solicite local business for $ to run this blog, so please keep that in mind. We are 100% independent. Like any Facebook Group, if you don’t like what we write then don’t visit (or like us). Or maybe you should just start your own Long Beach blog with your own opinions. I’ll even post your link if you want.

Now, going back to the main story: From the mentioned LB Herald article: In her memo, Clarson also said that unbudgeted termination payments — which include employees’ accrued vacation time and unused sick days — for three outgoing employees of the Police Department, would cost the city $1.4 million.

In other words: Hurricane Irene has nothing to do with unbudgeted items. We all agree that city workers need to get paid, but potential retirement payoffs should of been in the budget in the first place. I know how to balance my checkbook and budget future contractual expenses. That is how I see it.

Read – LB Herald Long Beach City Council OK’s $4.5 million loan to pay workers

Related SBC Articles:

 

Fagen: “The injunction was denied.”

City Council Member Michael Fagen: The injunction was denied. It’s disappointing because the taxpayers interests are not being served. The court viewed a previous settlement, crafted by Theofan (which BTW he has refused to provide to Councilman Torres and myself for years) and they are allowing the City to borrow the money.  The questions as to how they arrived at $505K for Sofield or $2.5 million as a total number still has not been clarified as only one employee has submitted retirement papers and that remains to be Sofield. This is not the end and Councilman Torres and myself will not rest as long as the Sofield administration continues to squander the taxpayers money.

We will update more as soon as we get it. Don’t forget about the Emergency City Council Meeting tonight @ 5pm

Related Articles:

FULL PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO. Fagen: “We are looking for injunctive relief as we speak.”

I was able to sneak out of work for a few minutes and catch today’s Press Conference over at the Supreme Court Building in Mineola, NY. City Council Members Michael Fagen, Len Torres along with soon-to-be members Fran Adelson and Scott Mandel were all present.

Fagen said they’re looking for injunctive relief as their attorneys were currently inside during the conference. Fagen urges us all to make tonight’s emergency 5pm City Council meeting. Len Torres, who also spoke, brought up the issue of nepotism and said “there might be an issue with a person that’s a family member voting for another family member walking away with a certain amount of money.” Fagen added “This family [Sofields] is trying to take close to a million dollars in one lump sum away from the city at a time when they mismanaged the city into close to a four and a half million dollar deficit. Outrageous.”

View the whole video below or at this link.

Related Articles:

 

*I apologize for the video & audio quality. I just found out about this Press Conference after I left for work and all I had was my iPhone. 

or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the LB City Beat

(Image courtesy City of Long Beach)

At the beginning of every month, I’m like a little kid on Christmas anticipating the arrival of the LB City Beat. While anxiously waiting since the last edition I wondered if anyone at City Hall read SBC’s series of reactions to the October issue.

Update: Anthony pointed out that LB City Beat prints on an irregular schedule and doesn’t traditionally come out monthly.

In October, I took umbrage with the fact that something was written, printed, and mailed at tax payer expense, amounted to little more than a taxpayer-funded campaign newsletter. I talked about some of the articles while Anthony crunched the numbers.

I hoped, this issue would at least make an attempt and pretend to include all members of the City Council, or just ignore the urge to identify particular council members and take the high road, using the pronoun “the City did ….”.  Again, this newsletter is supposed to list accomplishments of the City as a whole, not particular members of it.

And then I was greeted with November’s issue.  Realistically, all I could do was shake my head and laugh.  They seemingly took my every criticism, and somehow ratcheted up the volume even more.

Instead of highlighting how the articles read like advertisements for how much Mr. Sofield Junior and Ms. Goodman have singularly done for the residents of Long Beach, I’m going to instead focus on another tactic on display here: construction.

The tried and true technique incumbent politicians have used through eons to drum up support before an election is get the the trucks and the work crews out, and have them build or fix something. Whether the official has been in power a year, two years, four years, or a decade, right before the election, they get the workmen to come out and start making all sorts of superficial (and sometimes substantial) improvements across the tow: Filling potholes, curb repair, light posts, planting trees, etc.  These are the sorts of projects that every resident of any municipality will see and acknowledge, so when a voter goes to the booth they say, “wow, they’re really doing so much for us!”

In our case, they’ve done an exemplary job picking the perfect projects to maximize visibility: the boardwalk and parking lots. The boardwalk is self explanatory. Often called the “jewel” of Long Beach, besides those little violent crimes that we’ve all forgotten about, the crews have been out full force over the last two weeks ripping it up and putting it back together. They appear to be doing a bang-up job too. Curious that they’ve decided to begin the overhaul of the boardwalk nearly dead center – at Riverside Ave, as opposed to, say, one end and working towards the other. But then, that wouldn’t get quite the same visibility.

And then there are the parking lots. Park Ave is literally the main drag of Long Beach. Conservatively guessing, I’d say two thirds of all vehicle traffic leaving Long Beach exit via Long Beach Road or the Loop. Every person driving in and out through that route see the construction.  The parking lots east of Long Beach road have been decrepit for a decade. I’m thrilled they are finally getting the overhaul they need. Shockingly, (with cameras ready) the crews showed up and started working weeks before the election, and there’s a big sign. Don’t worry, the symbolic beginning of the project was captured for future generations by a City photographer, and immortalized in the November issue of LB City Beat.

Great: Two new infrastructure improvement projects in the middle of town just started. These are all welcome additions to the City and have sorely been needed.

Picking mid-October to start though? Were these planned to begin earlier but bumped because of Irene or perhaps the Quiksilver Pro? Interesting timing with the winter bearing down on us – especially in light of this year’s early snow. Have major boardwalk rebuild projects traditionally started this close to the winter – or more often during early spring, before the peak summer months?

If all this wasn’t so glaringly a campaign gimmick – without a doubt one that will still benefit the city – I would really have to laugh. The implicit story presented in this “campaign” flier is that the current majority is solely responsible for these projects (and a laundry list more that’s included in the City Beat), and that without the current majority, this frantic construction would somehow not happen.  It’s blatant in the choice of “quotes” and photos used to convey these stories.

This month’s LB City Beat has done a great job of highlighting how much this City has been able to do in just a few weeks.  Now why doesn’t the City operate at this pace of improvement for the other 22 or so months when the City is not afflicted with election fever?