Tag Archives: Local Development Corporation

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

Newsday: Retirement Incentive, Local Development Corporation, Public Safety Commision

Newsday updates us on a few stories (Read – Council OKs early retirement incentive.) In the article, Candice Ruud writes:

The Long Beach City Council has approved an early retirement incentive program for members of its largest union, a move that could save millions of dollars, City Manager Jack Schnirman said.

If 13 employees took the incentive and the positions were left open, Long Beach would save about $490,000 in the first year, city spokesman Gordon Tepper said

The council on Tuesday also passed a resolution to retain the Uniondale-based law firm Harris Beach for consulting while the city creates a local development corporation, a nonprofit private entity meant to spur economic growth, Schnirman said.

Also mentioned is the creation of a public safety commission. Yeah, head over to Newsday and read the entire article. I can’t copy and paste the whole thing here! It’s also in today’s print, so go and pick up a copy.

Newsday 2/23/2012 –  Council OKs early retirement incentive.

Local Development Corporation (self-dealing? nepotism? improper loans? exorbitant expenses? oh my!)

Just posted on the City’s website is a more detailed look at what the Local Development Corporation (LDC) is about. Included are various memorandums in support of the LDC from the following: The National Center of Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, New York League of Conservation Voters, Long Island Builders Unite, Long Island Contractors Association and The Long Beach Chamber of Commerce – where Chamber President Michael J. Kerr writes that he “fully endorses” the plan (source). I guess that means the Chamber and LDC will work together with:

  1. Supporting local businesses, &
  2. Aiding our community by attracting new businesses here and also encourage new development.

I support this idea of bringing in a Local Development Corporation to Long Beach, even thought I’m still not sure exactly what it is… Yep, even after reading this, I’m still kinda clueless. To me, it seems like it’s either the privatization of our government or a broker. Either way, we definitely need a shot in the arm around here: some new faces with some fresh ideas. With that, I applaud the new gang for trying something new.

That being said…..

I found this Wall Street Journal article regarding LDCs where the first line is: The New York attorney general’s initial review of local development corporations uncovered the potential for self-dealing, nepotism, improper loans and exorbitant expenses at some.

I only bring this up because It was mentioned yesterday on this blog how Tom Suozzi is of counsel to Harris Beach PLLC, the consulting firm that would set up the LDC.  Some folks might say this LDC deal with Harris Beach PLLC is a political favor for the democratic clubhouse, but I just think it’s typical political behavior. Politicians hire people they know; if the Republicans were in office, somebody else would be saying the same thing about them – thus continuing the never-ending cycle of policial arguing (both sides do this so they can point fingers at each other).

Below is a verbatim summary of the Wall Street Journal article, but definitely go ahead and read the entire piece yourself @ The Wall Street Journel, December 26, 2011 – Schneiderman eyes local development corporations.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been reviewing salaries and spending at the more than 200 local development corporations. The nonprofits, which take on development projects and other activities for municipalities, do government work but with fewer restrictions and less oversight. They also are free from state comptroller audits, unlike the state’s industrial development agencies.

….According to the attorney general’s office, the initial review showed potential self-dealing, improper loans between the two nonprofits, some exorbitant occupancy expenses and a potentially improper relationship with a for-profit entity.

……The examination of local development corporations is part of Schneiderman’s public integrity push. Since taking office in January, he has established a taxpayer protection bureau targeting corrupt contractors, tax cheats and public pension frauds; appointed public integrity prosecutors for all his 13 regional officials intended to take reports of local government corruption without fearing political blowback; begun joint investigations with the state comptroller’s auditors; and asked New York’s 932 towns to show his office their ethics codes to try to to bolster self-policing by local government.

Local Development Corporation with Harris Beach PLLC (& Tom Suozzi?)

As mentioned yesterday, on the February 21st City Council agenda is the following item which seems to be creating a buzz:

WHEREAS, the City of Long Beach desires to retain the services of Harris Beach PLLC, 333 Earle Ovington Blvd., Uniondale, New York 11553 for the purposes of the formation, creation, organization and administration of a local development corporation and related public finance and economic development services; 

It was brought to my attention that our former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi is of counsel to Harris Beach PLLC. You can translate that anyway you want. Is our city hiring this firm as a political favor? Or is it pure coincidence? Or maybe we’re hiring them because of the word BEACH, which makes sense for Long Beach, no?

I mean, I get it. Politicians hire friends of politicians; or in this case – a former politician. Honor amongst thieves is what my Dad would call it, but I guess it’s not that much of a deal. As long as we pay attention to what exactly Harris Beach PLLC does for Long Beach.

Which brings me to the second part of this post: Why are we hiring Harris Beach PLLC again?

IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF A BID?

From my understanding, a Business Improvement District (BID) is when a city takes a commercial district and implements a ‘BID’ tax. The money collected is then used for beautification: adding benches, pedestrian lights, sidewalk improvements, facade & signage improvement, and being able to enforce strict sign laws for storefronts, keeping to a theme or downtown look – which in our case with Park Avenue would be red tile roofs and that spanish look. BIDS are also used if you want to dictate what types of businesses come in and stay out (aka – Dunkin’ Donuts in the West End (where are we now?). Please note: We have no BID in the West End. An example of a BID is the Garment District in NYC.

The main purpose of Harris Beach PLLC appears to be “Recruiting and Supporting Local Businesses.”  The agenda says nothing about a BID, so I don’t think this is the case, but I could be wrong.

THE LONG BEACH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

I mentioned in my post yesterday about the possible conflict of interest the Local Development Corporation could have with the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. Some questions I asked were the following:

  1. So this business consulting firm would help support local businesses? Isn’t that what the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce does?
  2. This business consulting firm will be aiding our community by attracting new businesses here and also encourage new development? Isn’t that what the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce does?

THIS CAME OUT OF NOWHERE

An insider told me this idea of hiring a Local Development Corporation came out of nowhere; We all found out when the February 21st agenda appeared on the City’s site. This just adds to the mystery over what exactly there purpose really is…

ARE THEY JUST BROKERS?

I have a feeling that Harris Beach PLLC will be just that – the middlemen. Brokers trying to attract new buisneses to Long Beach. For the most part, Long Beach has faired well in this horrible economy. Besides the Waldbaums shopping center and maybe the eastern end of Beech Street (with newly vacant Matteo’s), The vacancy rate hasn’t been that bad. So then what kind of businesses do these guys want to attract?

I like to think big. I want to turn Long Beach into a year round community, so let’s fix the rec center, bring an aquarium and marina to the bay side and maybe try to attract some of those silicon valley business that want some Long Island presence (see – A plan to create LI’s own Silicon Valley). Let’s get some jobs here and I don’t mean just retail. New types of businesses will do nothing, but strengthen the retail we already have.

I certainly hope we aren’t giving Harris Beach PLLC $15,000 to bring in more nail salons and pizza restaurants. Here is some advice to them if they want to know what some folks around here want: READ – “Please no more nail salons or real estate offices!” Then what do we want?   And the Results: Read – The Results of: Please no more nail salons or real estate offices!” Then what do we want?

Of course I am merely speculating here. Hopefully all our our questions will be answered tonight @ City Hall 7Pm.