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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.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

How Often Should City Council Meet?

Heard it through the grapevine...that wonderful conduit of ideas circulating atop City Hall. Someone thinks it is a good idea that after the new council comes in that we start only meeting two times a month, instead of the three times a month we now meet.

Can't figure out the logic in that idea. We are the 6th largest city in California and have tremendous issues facing the city. Reducing the number of times we meet would obviously lessen the Council's authority because more and more decisions would be driven by staff that works full time. We actually need a full time city council.

Don't know what is behind the idea. Although there are some in California that would like to do away with government or limit it so much that it is ineffective -- which then leaves contracts and decisions to the impact of lobbyists. Bet someone will float an argument that it would save the city money. Don't think so. Every staff person there at council is on salary and does not get paid overtime.

Oh, this is an interesting idea just days after Maywood announced it would close all departments and contract out their city to Bell Gardens.

City Manager's Weekly Newsletter

Friday Newsletter 06-25-2010                                                            

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

World War II Icon Dies

From the New York Times today:

A nurse famously photographed being kissed by an American sailor in New York's Times Square in 1945 to celebrate the end of World War Two has died at the age of 91, her family said on Tuesday.

The V-J Day picture of the white-clad Edith Shain by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captured an epic moment in U.S. history and became an iconic image marking the end of the war after being published in Life magazine.

The identity of the nurse in the photograph was not known until the late 1970s when Shain wrote to the photographer saying that she was the woman in the picture taken on Aug. 14 at a time when she had been working at Doctor's Hospital in New York City.

I met Edith two years ago at an event on the Queen Mary which was commemorating the end of WWII. She was tiny and funny. We hit it off because she had been a nurse, but she also went on to teach kindergarten.

I had been invited because of my book "Rosie the Riveter in Long Beach" and we talked about what was going on when the war ended. She said -- "everyone who lived then can tell you exactly where they were when we got the news the war was finally over."

Breakwater Study -- Not Yet Funded

I have missed very few council meetings in the 4 years I have been in office. Last night was one of those times. I had to attend to a family matter that came up at the last minute during the Budget Meeting.

That being said, I was concerned to read the headlines this morning -- it gives the impression that the Council funded the local sponsor portion of the breakwater study -- it didn't. It voted 8-0 to fund $2.5 Million out of Tidelands and close to $900,000 in in-kind services -- that leaves almost $2 million that has to be found before the Army Corps of Engineers proceeds. (This reminds me of the "wetlands" issue -- We did it! We saved the wetlands -- except we haven't found a source of money to fix the wetlands, nor a non profit organization that wants to step up and buy the property we just obtained.)

There isn't any doubt that the water quality and the lack of any real tidal action needs to be addressed in the San Pedro Bay. And maybe there is cause to celebrate that a move in that direction is happening. But in the words of another Jerry -- Jerry McGuire -- "Show me the money."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Army Corps of Engineers Releases Its Study -- It will look at water quality and waves

Just hot off my email desk, I received the following email from our Government Relations Director regarding the Army Corps of Engineers study that indicates they will include water quality and waves in the study but did note that: Additionally, the Study lists the various constraints on the project such as the Port of Long Beach berths, Navy anchorage, Long Beach peninsula, THUMS islands, marinas and docks, and navigational safety, and states that these areas must not be adversely affected.

We need to improve the water quality and circulation of the waters behind the breakwater. I am still concerned about where we get the monies to pay for the study -- I don't think Tidelands is the answer at this point. I will read the entire report and listen to the presentation tomorrow before I make my final decision about my vote.

The Army Corps of Engineers has released the East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study (Long Beach Breakwater Study) and it is now available for your review here. The report can also be accessed through the links below on the City's web page. The City Council is scheduled to hear a presentation on the Reconnaissance Study on June 22, 2010 and decide if the City of Long Beach will become the local sponsor for this project. This is a public meeting and we encourage you all to attend and share your input.

Summary of the Report
The study concludes that there is federal interest in proceeding to a Feasibility Study. In the Feasibility Study, the Army Corps would evaluate opportunities for ecosystem restoration, water quality improvements and recreation improvements in the East San Pedro Bay in Long Beach. The Reconnaissance Study identifies potential alternatives such as reconfiguring the Long Beach Breakwater, changes in alignment of the LA River, creation of rocky reef habitat and kelp features, and measures to address pollutants in the LA River. The specific alternatives would be further developed in the Feasibility Study through a community outreach process.
The Reconnaissance Study concludes that restoration of reef and kelp habitat within San Pedro Bay can be enhanced by improving the water quality, clarity, and circulation. It also concludes that the project could result in improved conditions for recreational swimming and surfing. Additionally, the Study lists the various constraints on the project such as the Port of Long Beach berths, Navy anchorage, Long Beach peninsula, THUMS islands, marinas and docks, and navigational safety, and states that these areas must not be adversely affected.
The Feasibility Study will take a minimum of 4 years to complete and will cost $8,337,400. In the Feasibility Study the Army Corps will conduct an extensive analysis including wave modeling, water quality modeling, economic analysis, environmental analysis, engineering and design analysis, geotechnical studies, review of tidal elevations, sediment transport, and analysis of other areas.


Army Corps' Final Reconnaissance Study:
City's Breakwater Website:
Army Corps Study Website:
City Staff report for June 22nd City Council Item:

Survey Results Starting to Come in -- 64% Opposed

I am receiving results from the survey I posted regarding the City Council voting to approve expending $4million in Tidelands funds for a study to be conducted by the US Army Corps of Engineers on the issues surrounding the breakwater.

As of 3:00pm on Monday, the day before the vote, the City Council still does not have the final report and approval from the US Army Corps to go forward on the study.

That being said, @ 64% of those responding to the survey are opposed to the City Council voting to spend $4 million in Tidelands monies on the study. I will post all of the results Tuesday morning.

P.S. A few respondents asked why the City just doesn't reconfigure the breakwater without further study? That's because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns the breakwater on behalf of the federal government. And unless the Army Corps finds a federal interest in reconfiguring the breakwater, local government can't do anything.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Should Long Beach spend Tidelands monies to study the breakwater?

I have posted a survey on my blog which asks readers to respond regarding whether or not the City of Long Beach should expend $4 million in Tidelands monies for a feasibility study of the waters within the breakwater off downtown Long Beach.

Please take a moment to click here and give me your thoughts on this important issue.

P.S. Sending me email threats that I will be ousted if I vote against funding the study are really inappropriate on many levels.

I am in favor of improving the water quality of the ocean within the breakwater; I would like to see wave action increased in these waters; I think the City should only be expending Tidelands monies to fix not study at this point in our economy; I am concerned that the monies will be expended on a study that will not result in improved water quality or wave action --because the US Army Corps has indicated it is not including these items nor economic analysis of the impact of making these changes in the study. Additionally, the City of Long Beach hasn't even seen the US Army Corps official response on this issue and the City Council needs to read the fine print before we jump in.

Save Station 18

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