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.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Budget War on Libraries Is So Wrong -- Especially in the 5th District

The City Council asked for a report on usage of library branches over the past several years.

We did so because of the proposal to make three branch libraries -- "reading rooms" and cut their services.

First of all, no one in libraries any where in the US has branches that are "reading rooms" only -- ah Long Beach leads the way.

Anyway, the report came back and just as I suspected it shows that Bach is one of the busiest branches in the City -- yet one of the three slated for serious cuts.

Click here and look at attachment A under total circulation -- which means number of books, tapes, cds, etc. checked out. If you look at Bach you will see 106,544 while the other two branches slated for reductions: Brewitt and Alamitos have 1/2 half the circulation...

There is absolutely no logic to go after a library branch that is one of the busiest in the City...

Click here for emails and phone numbers of the Mayor, City Manager and City Council. Call and email and tell them "NO" -- leave Bach Library alone!!

Important FY 2012 Budget Documents -- How the City Spent Oil Revenues

In response to our questions during the budget hearing on oil revenues, City Manager responded to part of the question -- we asked for an accounting of the past 10 years  -- he only answered for 2006 to 2011.

If you click on this link you can read the answer in Attachment B of the memo.

Please note that with a few small exceptions, the oil revenues have been used just as Councilmembers Gabelich, Neal and I are proposing: to smooth out the deficit -- fund important city services.

That's why our "Public Safety and Quality of Life Protection Plan" is the responsible plan.
 We continue to use the additional revenue to smooth out the deficit and fund important police, fire and recreational services instead of spending on a "wish list" of projects. Click here to read the wish list being circulated at City Hall for spending oil revenues.

Here's why the Gabelich, Neal, Schipske "Public Safety and Quality of Life Protection Plan" is the MOST RESPONSIBLE -- we are proposing an incremental approach to using the revenue -- not spend it on one time projects.

It would be like if you and I received a raise -- would it be wiser to use it to go out and buy a new, bigger and better wide screen television or to use the monthly increase to pay for on going expenses?

If the oil revenue and other revenues for the city lessen next year, then we can adjust our spending immediately and make cuts as we go along. If we spend that revenue on one time projects -- it is spent and we cannot recover it. Now that would be irresponsible.

Come to the City Council chambers this Tuesday at 3 pm and tell the City Council in person what you think about the budget and whether or not you think the City should spend all at once now or do so on a month by month basis as being suggested by Councilmembers Gabelich, Neal and Schipske.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

LA Mayor Villaraigosa Takes Schipske's Jobs Idea to Washington, DC

Imagine my surprise to read in today's LA Times on page AA: "Mayor sends a jobs plan to D.C. -- Villaraigosa wants local workers to have an edge in federally funded transportation projects." (,0,7132005.story)

Surprised because on March 8, 2011 -- I introduced a council item (which I asked Councilman Patrick O'Donnell to co sponsor) that stated the following:

Subject: AGENDA ITEM: Request for Federal Wavier of Local Hiring Restrictions
Mandated by the Federal Highway Administration

At 14%, the City of Long Beach currently faces one of the highest rates of
unemployment in the state (if not in the U.S.). The need to create jobs is critical in order to put our residents back to work.

To increase the number of Local jobs, the City Council and the Harbor Commissioners
have approved the case of project labor agreements ("PLA") which contains among
other provisions, a requirement that a certain percentage of the hiring be of Long Beach

Unfortunately, Federal Highway Administration regulations prohibited local hiring
preferences. This prohibition needs to be waived, especially in cities such as Long
Beach, so that a local construction project can be staffed with unemployed residents
who live in the city in which the project is being constructed.

Request the City Manager to contact the Federal Highway Administration to
determine how the City and the Port can be given a waiver and allowed to set
sufficient local hiring preferences for major construction projects.

As you can see in the video below, the item passed 9-0.

So today, I read:
In an effort to bring down the stubbornly high unemployment rate, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is lobbying Washington officials to give local workers an advantage in winning some of the more than 166,000 jobs expected from transportation projects planned for the region.

Federal rules prohibit local hiring preferences on federally funded transportation projects, under the premise that all U.S. taxpayers help to pay for the work and should have an equal shot at getting the jobs.
The rule also stems from concern that making local hiring a factor in awarding contracts will increase the cost of projects.

But with Washington jittery about unemployment heading into an election year, the mayor has received a positive signal from the administration. Hovering at 12%, California's unemployment rate is the second highest in the nation, behind Nevada's.
So thank you Mayor Villaraigosa for taking a good idea from the City of Long Beach to Washington, D.C. and doing something with it...I'm still waiting here for Long Beach to do the same.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Right in our own backyard --Help Ability First

Schipske: Physical Fitness Program for Disabled Children, Adults
Needs Long Beach Community Support for Fiscal Fitness

Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske urges residents to support a local physical fitness program for disabled children and adults.

The AbilityFirst Long Beach Center, at 3770 East Willow Street, serves more than 350 community members with disabilities. “It has one of only two warm water pools in the Long Beach area and a curriculum designed to do more than teach participants how to keep their heads above water,” Schipske says.  “It strives to help them become more independent, learn to play and act in social situations and improve their physical and emotional wellbeing.”

The AbilityFirst After School Program serves more than 50 children and young adults who need a safe, effective exercise program where they learn to swim. That can be tough with physical or developmental disabilities including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and epilepsy.  The warm water is conducive to stretching, muscle extension and limb movement. Improved physical health radiates into all aspects of a child’s health, according to the center’s Gail Stewart Garber. The staff educates parents about healthy living so entire families can be fit, and encourages participants to attend aquatics sessions consistently all year.

More than 30 adults with similar disabilities are enrolled in the Adult Day Program.

Whether children or adults, these are people who typically don’t get to swim at public pools because they need a lot of assistance, changing into their swimsuits and getting in and out of the pool.  AbilityFirst provides a staff to participant ratio of up to one-to-one, for a quality aquatics experience tailored to each participant’s needs, Garber says.

AbilityFirst also offers warm water exercise classes for community swimmers with arthritis and related conditions, fibromyalgia, obesity-related conditions and people recovering from stroke, illness or injuries. It serves more than 350 community members with disabilities, mostly seniors, with an average age of 65.

AbilityFirst, provides a training ground for Cal State Long Beach Therapeutic Recreation students when it’s time to do internships, Garber notes.

“This incredible program exists on a tight budget, squeezed by the economic downturn and state cuts, and AbilityFirst is appealing for donations to Long Beach corporations and civic groups,” Schipske notes. “To help these children and adults continue to hone their abilities, please help AbilityFirst.”

For more information about the AbilityFirst Aquatics and After School programs, please contact Gail Stewart Garber, Regional Director of Development, at (562) 264-0479 or go to                       ###

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tele Town Hall Planned on Budget Cuts

with permission of

(August 30, 2011) -- Councilmembers Steve Neal, Rae Gabelich and Gerrie Schipske will use digitally enabled technology to communicate directy with taxpaying residents citywide and discuss their proposal -- reported in detail (with video) by last week -- to use already-budgeted money they identified in City Hall's proposed FY12 budget to provide an alternative to budget cuts to police, fire, parks and libraries proposed by Mayor Bob Foster and City Manager Pat West. 

On Thursday Sept. 1 from 7 - 8 p.m., the three Councilmembers will hold what they describe as a "citywide interactive discussion" of the FY12 budget which residents can access from the convenience of their home. 

A release via Councilman Neal joined by Councilmembers Schipske and Gabelich says residents will be able to hear -- and take part in -- a citywide telephonic Town Hall, including questions and answers and a live survey and direct feedback. 

To join in, the release invites residents citywide -- in all Council districts -- to RSVP by either emailing or or calling (562) 70-6932 (the 5th Council office) or 570-6137 (the 9th district Council office). 

"All who RSVP will receive a call at 7PM on Thursday evening, and will be automatically connected to the Town Hall. Participants will engage in question and answer, as well as live surveys and direct feedback," the release says. 

"Participants will discuss proposed cuts in the fiscal year 2012 budget, and possible alternatives, such as the "Public Safety and Quality of Life Protection Plan" as proposed by Neal, Gabelich and Schipske. The teleforum will provide an opportunity to join thousands of residents from all parts of town in a discussion on the proposed cuts to police, fire, and quality of life services, and how it will impact Long Beach families."
Councilmembers Neal, Schipske and Gabelich presented their alternative (a "Public Safety & Quality of Life Protection Plan") at an Aug. 23 midday news conference. It proposes using $18 million in current fund balance in the Uplands Oil Fund to maintain a $2 million fund balance and restore $12 million in Mayor/City Management proposed FY12 cuts in General Fund in Police, Fire, Libraries and Parks & Rec and use about $4 million for one-time expenditures:
  • Police: $6.2 million (14 patrol officers + gang enforcement, violent crimes and homeland security details + Chief's priorities)

  • Fire: $4.3 million, (maintaiun four person engine staffing, restore Stn 18 engine, restore Rescue 12)

  • Library Services: $750,000

  • Parks & Rec: $750,000 The three Councilmembers were joined by LB Fire Fighters Ass'n Pres. Rich Brandt, IAM Union rep & Sarah Pillet of LB Public Library Foundation.

    To view VIDEO on-demand of speakers' presentations, click here.
    UPDATE: To view VIDEO of reporters' Q & A, click here.
    Within hours -- and before the public had an opportunity to hear details of their alternative to the Mayor/Manager budget -- it was met with criticism by Mayor Foster (who called it irresponsible but has no vote) and by Councilman Gary DeLong (who does have a vote). Apart from DeLong, no Councilmembers (besides proponents Gabelich, Schipske and Neal) spoke on the issue and there was no voted action. Councilman Neal (who made a motion to adopt the proposal) withdrew it...but indicated the next day (as reported by that he intends to advance it on September 6.

    Meanwhile, at last night's (Aug. 29) 5th district community meeting on the budget [separate coverage coming on], Councilwoman Schipske told attendees that she believes the use of already budgeted uplands oil money to avert the Mayor/Manager proposed budget cuts is reasonable and responsible...and has publicly requested that city management explain how those uplands oil funds have been spent in previous years.
    In an exchange prompted by a question from the floor, Councilwoman Schipske indicated she would support a variation on the Gabelich-Schipske-Neal proposal (editorially proposed by, click here.

    She criticized Councilman Gary DeLong (at one point referring to him as the "Long Ranger") for leaking information -- that she called only partial information -- on revisions to City Hall's contract with the LB Police Officers Association negotiated by Mayor Bob Foster. Further on this to follow separately on will continue to provide details on these continuing fast breaking developments

    Monday, August 29, 2011

    City Council Was Told It Could Not Disclose Proposed Contract with LB Police Officers Association

    It wasn't a slip of the tongue. It was a deliberate disclosure of some of the details of the proposed new contract with the Long Beach Police Officers Association that one of the councilmembers gave to the Press Telegram last week.

    There are several problems with the Lone Ranger in doing what he did: 1) he was not the designated spokesperson for the City Council and thus as the City Attorney will probably confirm, he was out of line; 2) Mayor Bob Foster negotiated the contract with the POA and only he should have been discussing what is in the proposal; 3) he only gave his version of what the proposed contract includes -- leaving the public to wonder what else is in the contract and the cost benefit analysis of the features of the agreement (which some say is why he did what he did); 4) since most of the contract is out in the public, the rest needs to be as well.

    For a long time I have been advocating for making labor negotiations more transparent to the public. I believe the public has the right to know the details of what the council is doing regarding collective bargaining; details that are not leaked out but are provided in their full context. City management was directed by the council several months ago to put on the agenda a process for making negotiations more open and transparent -- we asked that this be done before the budget is passed. The budget has to be passed on September 15th. So where is the item?

    I am sure that the Lone Ranger will respond that his talking to the press is being open and transparent. But it wasn't, because he only gave selective details of the contract that was given to us in a closed session and none of us have seen the actual contract language that will be placed into the agreement.

    Had we a more open and transparent process, the information wouldn't be trickled out to the public as it was. You want real open and transparent? Click here and see how the City of San Jose posts everything about their labor negotiations so the public can see all along the way what is being negotiated. No surprises when the council gets ready to ratify a contract.

    And by the way for those who think this would be awful in Long Beach...nothing bad has happened in San Jose because the public knows what is being negotiated. The unions still come to the table. Negotiations still take place. Management is still able to bargain from a strong position. And my hunch is that the public trust is much higher.

    I Chair the Civil Service and Personnel Committee of the City Council and I will start conducting hearings on how we can make negotiations more open and transparent. A first "baby step" for transparency in employee negotiations is something that San Jose does in addition to posting negotiations on line -- it is a requirement that annually the city disclose an update on all employee contracts -- when they are set to expire, how much they cost, etc. The report also explains the state labor law governing these negotiations, the personnel rules and other items that impact negotiations. That way the public gets to know what is going on.

    Click here to read San Jose's "Sunshine Report." It is enlightening!

    Sunday, August 28, 2011

    Response to Press Telegram Editorial Bashing 3 Council Members For Trying to Find a Solution

    The Press Telegram today published an unsigned editorial (see they can use people's name in the editorial but you don't get to find out who wrote it) bashing Councilmembers Gabelich, Neal and myself for proposing that the council utilize a portion of the increased revenue we received this year for restoring cuts to police, fire, libraries and parks and recreation.

    Here's what I just posted on their on-line comments:

    It is hardly irresponsible for council members to suggest how to keep serious cuts to public safety and quality of life services from happening. While you bash the three of us who proposed a solution, we await the ideas of the the remainder of the council or the mayor. Yes, the others are lining up to spend the increased revenue on a variety of projects. Public safety should come first -- not an underground tunnel that someone forgot to design when the court house was proposed or a new city website.

    Please get your facts straight -- for the past 9 out of 10 years -- the City has received more oil money than budgeted and it was used to restore cuts which is what we were proposing to do.

    By the way, the three of us also tried to get the council to meet this coming week (instead of taking the day off) to continue working on the budget -- no surprise -- the City Manager said we couldn't get a quorum.

    Bet most residents didn't even know that for the past 9 out of 10 years the city has received extra funds -- some times as much as 9 - 10 million. I have asked the City Manager to explain to the City Council where the extra revenue from inland oil has been spent for the past 9 out of 10 years so the public can see where their money has gone.

    So as long as the Mayor continues to propose cuts to 5th District libraries, police, fire stations and recreational programs you can bet I will look for every source of funds to restore those cuts. That's being responsible.

    Save Station 18

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