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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Long Beach Assets and Services Are Not for Sale

Ah, can you smell the 2012 campaign season in the air?

I can. Straight out the playbook from the "bootcamps" and "workshops" and other rhetoric camps is coming the pushing to totally privatize city services. Step right up folks and you too can bid on providing services for the City of Long Beach such as towing, trash collection and street sweeping.

Now you won't finder bidders for the more mundane less lucrative services such as libraries and parks. Nah. There isn't a lot of money connected with them.

But as we near campaign season for the free for all that is going to happen with re-districting, watch the bouncing ball as it goes crazy following the numerous suggestions to contract out Long Beach city services to the lowest bidder.

Towing, street sweeping and trash collection bring the City of Long Beach the highest sources of revenue outside our oil production. So it is only logical that the city would want to keep these services in-house, right? No, now we are starting to hear that certain council persons wishing to posture for their political followers want to sell these city services to the lowest bidder.

Oh, great. Our city employees who perform great service and who bring a tremendous source of revenue to the city now are to be replaced by private contractors that undoubtedly will: a) contribute to political campaigns and b) take from the city the very profit we realize in these services.

Luckily the voters of Long Beach were wise enough to vote for a proposition L which requires that the City Manager make a finding that the services  being selected for outsourcing cannot be done cheaper by city employees. And every Prop L study has shown that they are.

So what is behind the move to privatize city towing services and street sweeping? It makes great campaign brochures but lousy public policy. If a certain councilperson keeps this up, some of us will ask the City Manager to do a Prop L finding as to whether or not his job could be contracted out to the private sector.

Save Station 18

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