As Election 2011 continues to heat up, Dem Councilman Mike Fagen (elected in 2009 and not up for reelection in November) has taken his gripes about the way City Hall has worked in his time there to everyone’s
most despised favorite microblogging site, Twitter.
In a list of four grievances, he dubs “Key points that City does not want you to know,” he rattles off a barrage of claims and questions about the City’s current budget situation. (Below I’ll include his tweets, and my best guess at what he was ranting about in 140 characters or less)
1-City just ran almost $3 mil in red in fiscal year that ended June 30.
I assume what he’s talking about here
are the results of the FY2010/2011 audit * is the same thing he was talking about at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting when he mentioned “preliminary numbers” from the City’s comptroller’s office. The City’s fiscal year goes from July 1 – June 30. So the City wrapped up FY 2010/2011 on June 30th, the City has a “preliminary” number, then sends the financials out to an auditer to get analyzed. An auditor then comes back and says “actually the City made this much, not this much… you’re (either) broke/rich.” If Mr. Fagen’s preliminary numbers are correct, a $3 million shortfall would completely wipe out the remainder of the budget surplus that has been in place (though rapidly vanishing) for years. (*Updated based on reader email who was at Tuesday’s Council Meeting and noticed the same figure was used)
2-Water and sewers lost almost $1 mil
Here, my guess would be he’s referring to the revenues generated by the Water and Sewers departments. Remember, those services have had their associated fees increased, so a shortfall here is really a shock if it is in fact true.
3-City has the info..won’t release any of it before the election.
This seems a bit like a non sequitur, because Mr. Fagen is the City. Though, I would think he is referring to the “Republican” majority. Now this just harkens back to a theme anyone that’s read this blog understands: City Hall’s very interesting idea of what transparency is. It’s well documented that Councilman Torres has had to actually FOIL for information about the Quiksilver Pro, even though he’s an elected member of the City. The Long Beach Herald today confirmed that Mr. Torres still hasn’t received a reply on his months-old FOIL request. Turns out Seabythecity actually got the documents before an elected member of the city government! You can read about it here. Is it such a stretch to believe the City majority wouldn’t share budget data with some on the City Council?
Mr. Fagen’s claim here is that the City has received new financial data about the state of the City, but has chosen not to release it before the election because it could reflect poorly on the “Republican” majority.
4-PBA gets settled. How do we pay them the 4 years of retro pay $1.5 mil?
Mr. Fagen finishes off by talking about the long running saga of the Police Department’s contract. They’ve been operating without a contract for years. Once a contract is reached, a huge lump sum payment is required to be made. Mr. Fagen above estimates that the lump sum is $1.5 million. As I’ve repeatedly talked about the City’s precarious budget position, $1 million here or there could spell serious trouble.
Mr. Fagen punctuated his manifesto, with tweets thanking both the Long Beach Professional Fire Fighters and the Long Beach Police Benevolent Association (whose leader has sued City Hall) for their “overwhelming” endorsements of the Democrat’s ticket, i.e. Torres, Adelson, and Mandel.
Mark your calendars, Long Beach politics, already on Facebook, has finally invaded the twitter-verse. His twitter claims, if true, would forecast an even worse financial future for Long Beach. As reaction to his twitter rampage shakeout, I’ll update.
With three weeks left in this campaign, I’m really looking to what other fireworks come out and what other Web 2.0 outlets we’ll find the politicians ranting on. A youtube remix from Ms. Goodman? Mr. McLaughlin as a Tosh.O web redemptiont? Perhaps a Google + note from Mr. Sofield Junior? Or maybe we could get a blast of Digg comments from Mr. Torres?
Remember the debate is at the library tomorrow and it could be a real barn-burner.