Notice: This is not a City of Long Beach site.

Dear Readers: Please note that this is not a City of Long Beach website and is not paid for nor maintained by taxpayer funds.

If you contact Gerrie Schipske through this site on any matter pertaining to the City of Long Beach, a copy of your contact will be forwarded to her official city email as an official public record.

Friday, March 12, 2010

We need to regulate marijuana collectives

Like it or not, state law (voted in by the voters) allows collectives to be formed to dispense marijuana for medicinal use only.

Using that state law, many, many collectives have opened in Los Angeles County and specifically in Long Beach. As a consequence of no local law regulating these collectives, they have managed to open and operate without business licenses.

The City Attorney has drafted an ordinance that allows the City to regulate these collectives and to restrict them to non residential areas and away from schools. Additionally the ordinance would not allow the importation of marijuana from outside the city. Marijuana could not be grown except in areas zoned for growing agricultural crops.

Unless we approve the regulation of these collectives, the City will be unable to make certain that only those qualified under state law operate.

This ordinance gives law enforcement the tools they have needed to make certain that the state law allowing medical marijuana is not exploited for illegal purposes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

WASP Barbara Erickson London Receives Congressional Medal From President Obama

Today in Washington, D.C. the surviving members of the WWII Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) received a Congressional Medal of Honor. These women flew the airplanes that were produced at defense plants during WWII -- often risking their lives. 38 died in the line of duty.

Because of the shortage of male pilots during the war, these women who were already civilian pilots learned how to fly every plane manufactured. They were not recognized as part of the military and received minimal pay and no benefits. When they died, their families had to pay for their funerals.

Before the war ended, the military disbanded the WASP because of complaints from male pilots returning home that women should not be flying the planes. It was not until the 1970's that Congress finally recognized these women and granted them honorable discharges and veterans status.

Among the most famous of the WASP was Barbara Erickson London who at the age of 23 commanded the women at the Long Beach Army Airfield. Erickson received an Air Medal for her service during the war -- the only WASP to receive the award.

Check out the US Defense Dept website on these women and the information concerning the Congressional Medal of Honor.

You can also check out my two books on Long Beach history that include information about the WASP and Erickson during WW II: "Rosie the Riveter in Long Beach" and "Early Aviation in Long Beach" -- both published by Arcadia and available at any local bookstore.

Also check out the historical display at the Long Beach Municipal Airport on the WASP.

Council Approves Ordinance to Require Buffer Zone Around Schools for Medical Marijuana Collectives

The City Council agreed with my request that we require that medical marijuana collectives not be allowed closer than 1,000 feet from all elementary and middle schools in Long Beach and 1,500 feet from high schools.

This is a big change from what the council voted on last month -- which allowed the collectives as close as 500 feet from elementary and middle schools and 1,500 from high schools.

I contacted the Long Beach Unified School District and asked that it indicate to the City Council their support of the 1,000 foot buffer. This buffer conforms with federal and state laws that require schools to have a drug free zone of 1,000 feet. While some may argue that medical marijuana is allowed for use, the federal law still considers marijuana a controlled substance which is illegal to sell.

Another important part of the ordinance is the requirement that all marijuana cultivated for medical use must be grown in the city in order to comply with federal and state law prohibiting the transporting of marijuana other than for a reasonable distance. There will be requirements regarding where marijuana can be grown.

The ordinance acknowledges the state law allowing cultivation and use of marijuana for medical purposes while giving our law enforcement the tools they need to properly enforce the law.

Because the collectives currently in Long Beach have not been legally operating, this ordinance will allow collectives to apply for a business license and in turn be reviewed by the police in order to determine that the collective is following the law.

NOTE: See the Attorney General's Guidelines on Medical Marijuana on this blog. Our ordinance follows these guidelines.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thank You USS Dewey and Friends

The 5th District received a gift of green as 50 crew members of the USS Dewey joined 70 others from the neighborhood, El Dorado Park South Association, Neighborhood Services and my staff in planting 45 trees in El Dorado Park South last Wednesday.

It is a Navy tradition that with a commissioning of a ship, the crew does a project in adjoining areas. They picked Long Beach -- specifically the 5th District -- and through a grant obtained by the El Dorado Park South Association they were able to plant the trees.

This is great. I am working with Walmart to get some work done on our duck pond area.
Our next Lakes, Ponds and Wetlands clean up with tackle a restroom and picnic benches.

Spring Street Being Spruced Up With Federal Stimulus Funds

I have been receiving emails from residents who: a) are concerned about where the city got the money or b) think that the repair along Spring Street from the westside of Long Beach to Orange County is unnecessary or c) think that the street needed to be fixed but not the curbs and gutters and storm drains.

So to clarify:
  • Spring Street needs a structural repair -- the street, the curbs, the gutters and the storm drains. Water pools in several part after rains.
  • The repairs are being totally funded out of federal stimulus funds.
  • Spring Street is a major street in Long Beach -- going from the westside to Orange County. It is heavily traveled.
  • Long Beach had the project on the drawing board for many years so it was ready or as they say "shovel ready."
Other issues:
  • Yes, there are other streets in Long Beach that need repair too and we are applying for funds for all of them.
  • No, the federal stimulus funds weren't available for residential streets -- only streets that are non-residential and have higher useage.

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