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, January 19, 2012

Open Up Long Beach -- Why We Need to Do It

I have launched -- a website and resident project to identify what we need to do to open up the City of Long Beach -- its records, its data, it processes and who impacts the decisions.

For instance:
  • Residents trying to obtain emails of elected officials find themselves blocked because many elected officials now use private, personal emails to conduct city official business and claim it is not discoverable as a public record. If official business is being conducted on personal emails a copy of that email should be sent into the city email system to capture a record. (I do this on any email sent to me on my non city email.)
  • Although elected officials must post campaign contributions they receive for city offices on the city website, they do not post on city websites the money they receive for their state or federal campaigns -- money received from those who have are doing business with the city or who have a financial interest in the outcome of the city's decisions. The public has to expend a great deal of time searching other websites to see who has donated to our city officials.
  • The current collective bargaining process tells the residents little of what is being bargained -- unlike school districts which by law have to disclose publicly in a meeting before bargaining begins so that the public gets a chance to comment on the proposals. The residents of Long Beach are given little information on the proposals until they are basically a "done deal."
  • Business that wants to decide whether or not to come to Long Beach or to expand in Long Beach find little data readily available on the website. Opening the data and making it readily available in other cities has grown businesses. Entrepreneurs have developed applications that help local government use the data better.
  • What does the city spend tax dollars on? The data is lumped together in the annual budget report -- but why isn't there data given every month on line? It is the taxpayers' money and several cities and states have found it helpful to post the payments and expenditures on a regular basis so that taxpayers can see where their money is going.
  • Who does the city contract with for services? There is a tab on the city website where you can search. But you need to know the contract number or the day the city council approved it. How about just listing all the contracts so the average citizen can get information that is a public record?
There are many, many more examples of how we can open up Long Beach so that we can hold all elected officials accountable.

Please check out the website: and come to our first informational meeting. The public is invited.

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