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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.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Good Conference. How Code Enforcement Works. Looking Forward to Good Neighbor Festival Tomorrow.

I am not leaving my heart in San Francisco but I do like coming here to visit and for conferences. I guess I was the only City Councilmember from Long Beach to attend the League of California Cities Conference this week. City Attorney Bob Shannon and Director of Government Relations, Tom Modica were also here.

The sessions most attended related to economic development, surviving the changes in redevelopment and pension reform.

While here I took several calls from my office staff concerning complaints by residents who had received notices of code problems following the recent Shaping Up the 5th District walks in several parts of the district. The code enforcement problems were noted on report sheets completed by walkers who lived in each neighborhood. The problems were referred to code enforcement and if the complaint was valid, the residents were given notices to fix the problems. Well, apparently that process doesn't sit well with some residents who basically believe it isn't the city or other resident's business if their lawn is overgrown on to the sidewalk or their tree needs trimming because it is hanging over where people walk, or other issues. They are angry and are now threatening to sue everyone in the world, including the city. One resident called to alert me to the fact that because a neighbor was told to trim his tree, neighbors are building block fences between each other...interesting, but they will have to go through building inspection which should really make them unhappy. Hey folks. We are trying to make sure our neighbors continue to be quality neighborhoods --that's why your neighbors took the time to walk the area and help identify things that need to be fixed.

Which is an interesting transition into the Good Neighbor Festival and Picnic which is tomorrow beginning at 10 am. The public is invited. At last count, we have 45 neighborhood organizations and city services coming out for the festival. There will be games, free food and of course, the Elm Street Band. And we will be giving out our annual Good Neighbor Awards.

Well, I write this in the San Francisco Airport waiting for my Jet Blue flight back to Long Beach.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why I Am Not at City Council Right Now

Over a month ago, I registered for the annual League of California Cities in San Francisco, thinking that I could get a lower airfare and that the city budget would have been passed on September 13. Unfortunately, after the fact I learned that the newly negotiation contract with the Long Beach Police Officers Association would be on the agenda today. So I write this listening to the Council meeting in San Francisco. (By the way, my staff and the City Clerk worked very hard to try to arrange for me to participate via conference call - however, the hotel would not allow the public posting of the announcement required -- including my room number -- so I couldn't call in.)

I want to go on record that I support the contract. The LBPOA was entitled to a raise but the members stepped up and agreed to use 95% of their raise to pay the employees contribution portion of the pension and to agree that new hires in the PD would be placed on a lower retirement formula.

This is good for the city and the first step in getting full participation of our employee groups in paying their full share of their pension costs.

Remember, the LBPOA could have legally insisted on the terms and conditions of their current contract and they would wait until 2013 when the contract expires. They didn't. Their leadership and their membership understands that the City needs to make pension reform.

I look forward to moving forward on the proposals being offered by the Firefighters Association and the other bargaining units. Long Beach is fortunate to have excellent employee partners who want to work with the City to make the reforms needed. These reforms may not come as quickly as some in the public want -- but they are coming. And that's a very good thing for the city.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Save Station 18

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