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.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Before You Yell at the Bicyclists on Second Street -- Be Concerned About Their Health

English: Long Beach Transit
English: Long Beach Transit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A recent story published in Atlantic Cities (my favorite source of up to date info on cities and trends), research is indicating that people trying to reduce air pollution by bicycling places may in fact be inhaling even more pollution.

That's right. Before you shake your fists at the bicyclists sharing the road, you might show a little concern for them. They are inhaling bus fumes and the fumes from your car (as you whiz by) and it's all very unhealthy. The obvious suggestion of the article is to stay away from the back of the bus.

Considering Long Beach Transit was the first to put filters/traps on their exhaust to trap danger particles from diesel, burning low sulphur fuel since 2002 and adding 46 hybrid buses to their fleet, it may not be as dangerous to bike in Long Beach as the article points out it could be in San Diego.

People Trying to Reduce Air Pollution Might Be Inhaling Even More Pollution

P.S. No. The rail on the front of the bus is not a "bike catcher" (on trains they call it "cow catcher"). It is a rack so those who want to take their bikes along for a ride on the bus can do so.
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Long Beach Unveils Plan to Make “Most Bike Friendly City” the Safest Too

Long Beach Unveils Plan to Make “Most Bike Friendly City” the Safest Too

Check out the programs Long Beach is launching to improve bike safety in the city.

I remember getting my first bike -- a blue one -- at age 6. Then I got a red one at age 9. I lived on my bike. Rode it everywhere -- as long as I was back home by the time the street lights came on.

LA Times article indicates rate of homelessness down in LA County -- LB Needs to Make Issue with HUD

Current Seal of the County of Los Angeles, Cal...
Current Seal of the County of Los Angeles, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A current article in the LA Times ( indicates that the number of homeless has decreased in Los Angeles County due in large part to aggressive programs that have helped them find permanent housing.

When Long Beach applied for the surplus Army property at Willow and Grand, HUD required that the City accommodate homeless services because of the number of homeless in our area and county. That was 6 years ago.

I have asked city management to call HUD and argue that since homelessness has decreased, so has the need for programs and therefore the City should be able to use Schroeder Army Hall for its east side police substation without having to accommodate a homeless program as a requirement.

Let's see what happens.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Long Beach Residents Need to Know What Potential Liability Is on Telephone Tax Case

The Sacramento Bee has just disclosed that a case against the City of Long Beach could possibly cost millions if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiff. (see

I asked for this information several months ago when I discovered that the City of Los Angeles had publicly acknowledged in its budget statement that a similar suit had been filed against the City of Los Angeles and that the potential liability could be up to $750 million.

The suit is about the City collecting a telephone users tax despite a federal telephone excise tax being eliminated.

To put this in the proper perspective, $750 million equals 17% of the City of Los Angeles' year’s General Fund.

In both the LA and Long Beach cases, the plaintiffs are suing for refunds for residents claiming that the taxes were illegally collected by the City.

I asked for information on how much at risk the City of Long Beach is because of the suit against us by John McWilliams.

I still believe the residents of Long Beach need to know what potentially is coming our way. Last time I asked for the information it was put into a closed session. I think now that everyone who reads the Sacramento Bee knows about this case, it is time to let residents of Long Beach know what to expect.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Belmont Shore Fire Station 8 to Lose Engine

The Long Beach Fire Department today announced the closure of a fire engine at Belmont Shore Fire Station 8. The engine will be relocated to Station 14 near Marina Vista Park.

A paramedic unit will be sent to Fire Station 8.

Below is the memo sent to the City Council today by Fire Chief Duree:

We Need More Dog Parks...and Some Guidance

We Need More Dog Parks...and Some Guidance 

Tomorrow in City Council is an agenda item I placed to set up an advisory committee for the Parks and Recreation Commission that will help set up some guidelines regarding off leash areas for dogs and dog parks.

We certainly need more spaces but we also need some guidance as to the rules for establishing these areas. Right now it has been up to staff to decide.

I have received several requests from residents who want to use portions of parks in the 5th to run their dogs off leash. Right now it is illegal to do so. And the east side needs a regular dog park.

This agenda item would enhance the efforts of the current dog owners groups to provide meaningful input on this issue -- after all they have an important interest in this issue. It would not take away anything from their current work -- it would just provide a set of rules that everyone could abide by if they want to use our parks for dogs.

Here's the agenda item:

Subject:                Establish An Off Leash Dog Area (Dog Parks) Advisory Committee


The City of Long Beach has six off leash dog areas also known as dog parks. There is interest in opening more in other areas of the City and some residents want to be able to utilize portions of existing parks to let their dogs run off leash. Currently, the City lacks a policy regarding the opening and operating of a dog park and dog owners can be fined if they allow their dog to be off leash in a park.

Most cities allowing dog parks and off leash areas have in place a policy that outlines program structure, funding and project operating costs, basic facility elements or design standards, facility rules and regulations, and general dog owner group requirements to support this effort. These cities have required that all dog exercise areas have a "dog owner group" which is responsible for "policing and maintaining" the dog parks because of governmental funding and staff shortages.

An Off Leash Dog Area (Dog Parks) Advisory Committee would provide needed input to the Parks and Recreation Commission about the many issues facing existing and proposed dog parks in the City. Suggested membership would include:
  • Community members representing: veterinary science, dog owners groups, and each council district.
  • Ex officio members from the following departments: Animal Care Services, Parks/Recreation/Marine, Health and Human Services and Development Services.

This Advisory Committee would meet monthly, without compensation, and assist the City in drafting policies related to the establishment and operation of off leash dog areas in the City. These policies would be given to the Parks and Recreation Commission which would decide whether or not to approve these policies and recommend to the City Council for adoption.

Fiscal Impact:

Staffing would be required for the Advisory Committee. However, the involvement of the community in this effort would provide much needed clarification and consistency of the policies concerning establishing and maintaining dog parks in Long Beach.


By motion of the City Council, establish an "Off Leash Dog Area (Dog Parks) Advisory Committee" to advise the Parks and Recreation Commission on the needed policies related to the establishment and operation of off leash dog (dog parks) areas in the City.

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We Tried Once in Long Beach -- We Need to Try Again

Back in the 1990s I was fortunate to participate in an effort by the Carter Foundation -- founded by former President Jimmy Carter -- to deal with the problem of our children, our youth dying as a result of guns. The program was titled: Not Even One -- meaning not even one death of a child due to guns should be acceptable.

We tried to work on the issue -- identifying gun violence as a public health issue -- and as in public health cases -- we took the deaths of several young people in Long Beach and tried to do an examination of the events that led up to the killing. We tried to find the root causes of the violence and what could be done to prevent more violence.

Long Beach was one of only three national projects funded by the Carter Foundation. The other ones in Compton and New Mexico.

We tried to grapple with this problem locally. We need to try again..

See the following explanation from the Carter Foundation:

News & Publications
<SPAN class=genHeading>News & Publications</SPAN>

1 Dec 1997

'Not Even One' Program Seeks to Prevent Firearm Deaths Among Children In 1990 alone, nearly 4,500 children in the United States under age 19 died from gunshot wounds. In 1994, The Carter Center founded Not Even One (NEO), a program that calls on faith communities, schools, families, local governments, and public health and social agencies to reduce firearm violence against children. "The number of children injured or killed by guns every year is a national tragedy," said Wallace Woodard, newly appointed director of NEO. "Our program promotes the philosophy that 'not even one' death of a child by firearms is acceptable or inevitable." Dr. Woodard has spent his career working to improve the lives of children. Before joining NEO, he worked on public safety issues for The Carter Center's Atlanta Project. He has taught elementary and college students and led training sessions on runaway and homeless youth, gang violence, and drug prevention. "Protecting children must become the responsibility of every community," Dr. Woodard said. "In order for a program to work, people must be willing to listen. Citizen involvement must become the top priority in stopping this epidemic." Working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Task Force for Child Survival and Development, and the Emory University School of Public Health, NEO has developed the Community Action Team (CAT). CATs include community leaders and members of public health and police departments, schools, and social service agencies in high-risk areas. Teams have been trained at demonstration sites in Compton and Long Beach, Calif., and Albuquerque, N.M. A third pilot is planned for Atlanta in 1997. NEO will evaluate their efforts to develop a prevention model for use nationwide. "CAT members are being trained to gather and share information on possible causes of firearm violence that could lead to prevention strategies," Dr. Woodard explained. "They will use the same methods that public health professionals use to contain and prevent disease. Our hope is that those steps most likely to save our children will become habitual where they are most needed."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Come where few in Long Beach have ever gone

You are invited to come behind the scenes with me on Jan 11 to see how Long Beach converts your trash into electricity.

Click here to sign up for this Open Up Long Beach event.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Council Approves Look at Impact on Police -- Crimes Soar to 854 in Last 30 Days

The City Council unanimously approved having the City Manager report to the Council in January on the impact that the FY 2013 budget has had on such departments as Police.

And it couldn't come soon enough. Residents are constantly reporting crimes in their neighborhoods. Although the Mayor insists Long Beach is "safe" I challenge him to review the following stats on (that are reported by the LB Police Department). These stats show the number of serious crimes by zip codes: (robbery, burglary, car theft, theft from vehicles, shootings)

90801 - 263 crimes
90803 - 42 crimes
90804 - 50 crimes
90805 - 91 crimes
90806 - 109 crimes
90807 - 96 crimes
90808 - 60 crimes
90815 - 62 crimes
90814 - 132 crimes

Residential crimes are increasing. We need more police resources.

I asked the City Attorney if I could make a motion to reallocate funds ($500,000 for a consultant) to the Police and he indicated because we were asking for a report, it would not be appropriate. I will do so when the report comes back to the Council.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Schipske Asks for Report on Odor

Oil island
Oil island (Photo credit: theqspeaks)

Well, they did it again. Someone or something let off a smell last week that fluctuates between rotten eggs and burning oil. No one quite explains who really is doing it and why. But it seems to happen frequently when it just rains or is overcast and I can smell it at Studebaker and Spring.

So I am asking for an official report from city management on what this is and who is doing it and whether or not it is harmful.

Here's my agenda item:

Periodically, especially when it is overcast or has just rained, there will be a strong, noxious odor with a smell that is described as natural gas, rotten egg or oil burning. When residents on the east side of Long Beach call 9-1-1 they are told a number of things concerning the source of the odor: “It’s AES burning off oil; it’s the oil operations at the oil islands burning off oil or it’s an oil tanker burning off its fuel in the harbor.”

It would be helpful if: a) the source of the smell could be confirmed; b) an assessment could be done to determine if the odor is harmful and 3) the reverse 9-1-1 be used whenever the odor occurs to alert residents that it is not harmful.


By motion of the City Council, request a report from the Fire Department, Gas and Oil Properties and the AQMD regarding the source of this odor and confirmation that the odor is not harmful. Additionally, request that the reverse 9-1-1 system be used to alert residents on the eastside of the City whenever the odor occurs.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Schipske to Propose Shifting Consultant Money to Hiring Police -- Appoint a Citizen Blue Ribbon Panel to Serve as Consultants

Long Beach Police Department (California)
Long Beach Police Department (California) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Schipske to Propose Using the $500,000 Approved by Council for Consultants to Restore Cuts in            Police Services– Says Mayor Should Appoint a Citizen Blue Ribbon Panel to Serve as Consultants to City Management

December 8, 2012
Long Beach, CA – Just one week after the City Council on a 5-4 vote approved spending up to $500,000 to retain Management Partners, a Cincinnati, Ohio based consulting group to advise on governmental reform, Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske announced that she will make a motion during Council on Tuesday to redirect the $500,000 to the Police department in order to “restore some of the cuts that were made to the department this budget cycle.”

“Every area of the City of Long Beach is experiencing a severe increase in crime,” says Schipske who placed an item on this coming Tuesday Council agenda, asking for an update on police response times. 

“I placed the item concerning the Police response times because of the numerous complaints I received from residents who are concerned about the increases in crime. My constituents are having their homes and cars broken into constantly and are being told that due to budget cuts there are not enough police. I don’t know how anyone on the council can tell our residents that we need consultants when we don’t have enough police.”

Schipske also will propose that instead of hiring out of town consultants to review the City of Long Beach, that the Mayor should appoint a “Blue Ribbon Citizen Panel” and let them advise on how to improve City management. 

“This City has 450,000 people and among them are many talented people who know a thing or two about how to make organizations run better. Many of those people actually work for the City of Long Beach or are in the private sector that does business with the City. We also have expert faculty at our major university and community college so I am confident we can fill a ‘Blue Ribbon Citizen Panel’ quickly and without spending $500,000.”

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Friday, December 7, 2012

What Council Did Last Tuesday

There they go again...spending money we don't have and without even getting the details.
Two Really Bad Ideas on Council Agenda Tonight

Two very bad proposals were placed on the agenda that spend money we really don't have and gave authority to the City Manager to spend up to $250,000 without City Council approval.

Earlier this year, City Management hired a consultant, Management Partners, who took exactly one month while we were debating the budget, and were asked to come up with a list of issues that they feel needed to be changed.

One month is nothing to determine what a city needs and the consultants admitted they didn't really know Long Beach. The City spent $80,000 for the one month report and today on a 5-4 vote the council approved an additional $500,000 for a study that had no parameters. (By the way, City Management did not even go out for a bid to see if other consultants could perform this work for less.)

No specifics or details were given to the City Council as to what the consultants would do for $500,000 -- no proposal, no indication of the numbers of hours they would work or when we would see their work. Nothing.

When I asked if the Council would be given the contract to review, the City Manager responded "no." So I voted against the expenditure. I will be damned if I will asked to approved spending $500,000 and I can't see the contract.

What was also very troubling was the fact that as I sat in Council I went on line and found several proposals given by the same consultant to other cities with specifics as to hours, the scope of work and the timeline for completion. But somehow, the City Council in Long Beach could not be given the same information.

Oh, here's the part you will really find interesting. Councilman DeLong spoke and stated: "Isn't it true that Management Partners said it could save the City $28.8 million with their ideas?" Oh, my "yes" was the response and the $500,000 proposal was agreed to on a 5-4 vote. Really? We don't even know what they are going to do for the $500,000 but we know they can save the City $28.8 million? Why not $50 million? Why not $10 million? Amazing because Management Partners didn't promise the other cities it did reports for it could save them that kind of money.

The other motion was to increase the authority of the City Manager to make purchases up to $250,000 without City Council approval. The item was amended to $200,000 but I voted against this bad idea that raised his authority from $100,000.

In this economic situation it is fiscally unwise for a City Council to give authority to spend this level of money without oversight. I asked if any other City in California allowed their City Manager authority up to $200,000 or $250,000 and the answer was "no." I guess we're special. No information on how we are spending money and now we've upped what can be spent without our approval.

I did speak out on both of these bad ideas and pointed out that my constituents have asked repeatedly why in a City this size with the number of managers we have, we continue to hire outside consultants. By increasing the amount the City Manager can spend without our approval he can continue hiring more and more consultants.

Sometimes I think we have gone mad in this City. We don't have enough funds for police and fire, library and parks but yet we can spend $500,000 on consultants. (And almost $1 million on a tunnel design that went nowhere.) Reminds me of the story: The Emperor Has No Clothes -- everyone was so afraid of the emperor that they dare not tell him he was naked. They ooooed and ahhhed and said what a "fine garment you are wearing" instead of stepping up and telling the truth.

Let me know how you feel about these two items by emailing me at:

Gerrie Schipske 

P.S. I  learned that the City spent almost $1 million dollars on a study and design for a tunnel that will not be built between the Police Department and the new courthouse.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Two Bad Ideas Brought to City Council

Two very wrong proposals were placed on the agenda that spend money we really don't have and to give authority to the City Manager to spend up to $250,000 without City Council approval.

City Management hired a consultant Management Partners who took exactly one month while we were debating the budget to come up with a list of issues that they feel needed to be changed. One month is nothing to determine what a city needs. The City spent $80,000 for the one month report and today on a 5-4 vote the council approved an additional $500,000 for a study that had no parameters.When I asked if the Council would be given the contract to review, the City Manager responded "no." So I voted against the expenditure. I will be damned if I will asked to approved spending $500,000 and I can't see the contract.

The other motion was to increase the authority of the City Manager to make purchases up to $200,000 without City Council approval. In this economic situation it is fiscally unwise for a City Council to give authority to spend this level of money without oversight. I asked if any other City in California allowed their City Manager authority up to $250,000 and the answer was "no."

Take a Survey on Chickens, and Goats and Bees...oh my!

Click on my survey to assess the opinion of residents concerning whether or not the City should adopt an ordinance that would allow chickens, goats and bees to be maintained in your backyards.

Also check out the City's Office of Sustainability information on "Urban Agriculture" :

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sidewalks to be repaired in FY 2013

The 5th Council District has the most sidewalks of all the council districts because we have the most area due to the fact we are spread out with single family homes. Other districts are compact with apartments and condos.

Historically each council district was given the same amount of funds for sidewalk repairs even if they had the most need. I advocated for a change in that policy and now the 5th District receives the most for sidewalk repairs because we have the most needing repair.

Additionally, since taking office in 2006, I insisted that sidewalk repairs be bunched together by neighborhood instead of a shot gun approach of one here and several there. I am proud to announce that the Public Works department has adopted my system city wide. This will allow more sidewalks to be repaired each year.

Below is the latest report on the sidewalks to be repaired this budget year. Following the memo is a map showing where repairs have been made: FY 2013 Sidewalk Repairs Scheduled for district 5 Map of sidewalk repairs made in the 5th district

Schipske Asks Chief of Police for Public Report

Schipske Asks Chief of Police to Publicly Report How Much Additional Funds Needed for Police Department – Says “constituents complaining of being told by Police  ‘not enough resources’”

Long Beach, CA -- November 30, 2012 – Vice Chair of the City’s Public Safety Committee, Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, today submitted an agenda item which asks the Chief of Police to publicly “report on the impact of the current budget (FY 2013) on response times of the department and to identify what additional funding is needed so that residents are assured that the police have appropriate resources.”

The agenda item comes as a result of Councilwoman Schipske learning during a recent council meeting that the Police Department needs an additional $1.5 million just to cover its overtime costs for this budget year “and an increase in the number of residential crimes in the 5th District coupled with numerous complaints from 5th District residents that they are being told by police that the police don’t have enough resources,” explains Schipske.

“Just recently, the City Council transferred monies which were designated for shot identification technology for use by the Police Department for overtime. When I asked the Chief what additional monies were needed to meet overtime needs of the Department, she was told in Council by the Chief that the Department needs $1.5 million,” says Schipske pointing out that FY 2013 Budget proposals for the Police Department were submitted to the Council by the City Manager and the Mayor. “At no time was the Council told by either party that current budget levels would be insufficient to maintain an adequate police presence in the City or at a level that officers in the field would need to inform residents that they lack sufficient resources.”

Schipske also recently asked the Fire Department to report on the impact of the budget on its responses times after hearing reports from firefighters how difficult it is to respond to calls for services with less staff and less equipment.

“Neither of these situations is acceptable. The City Council needs to hear in a public session what additional funds are needed now to keep this city safe.”

Schipske indicates that funding may be available from the increases in both property and sales tax revenue the city is experiencing due to an improving economy. “The recent court ruling that the County of Los Angeles owes the city money should also be considered a source for public safety. Additionally, as the city sells off properties that were once owned by Redevelopment, we need to designate the revenue from the sales for public safety.”

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