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, April 28, 2012

Sending a Positive, Optimistic Message

I am taking our economic situation very seriously. But we need to step back and think what type of message is continually coming out of City Hall to the community -- residents, businesses and potential businesses.

The message is negative and pessimistic. A  potential deficit has been announced almost every year that I have been in office. Of course, by the time we pass the budget, it is balanced as a deficit is not allowed by state or city law. That message rarely gets out.

Residents have been told time and again that unless all city employee unions step up and agree to pension reform, serious cuts in core services -- the services delivered by these employees -- will happen.  Public safety unions have agreed to pension reform -- yet their services have been cut. The non-public safety employee union is slated to also agree to pension reform -- yet the services they provide are also being proposed to be cut. These employees were publicly chastised for not wanting to help with the deficit -- they have helped and are scheduled to help -- yet cuts continue.

The City Manager and Mayor have proposed and made serious cuts to core services -- police, fire, parks and recreation and library. Infrastructure repair is behind.

Streets particularly need fixing -- but oil prices are increasing dramatically and the cost of asphalt increases significantly (as asphalt is made from oil). Yet, the City (which sits one of the largest oil and gas fields) assesses an oil (but not gas) production tax (which would help pay for asphalt) one half the amount that Signal Hill does. (The oil production tax does not impact the cost of oil at the pump whatsoever because the cost of oil at the pump is sent at the international market.) Today, oil is selling at $104 per barrel with an annual forecast that oil will reach $121 a barrel. There are 42 gallons in each barrel. The City of Long Beach's oil tax  (which is a .41 cents per barrel tax and not based upon the market value)  essentially charges Occidental Petroleum 41 cents, leaving the oil company $103.59 a barrel. Last Saturday, the LA Times reported that Oxy Petroleum generated a net profit of $1.56 billion in the first three months of 2012. See article by clicking here.

The City Auditor has identified 5 instances of City departments not appropriately handling and/or collecting revenue to which the City is entitled and needs. These instances include: towing, animal care services, parking tickets (two reports) and parks, recreation and marine department fees. What does this say to the community? That perhaps our "deficits" are being caused by our inefficiencies?  No business would operate like this...for long.

Sadly, there are numerous other departments that need to be audited concerning their revenue collection practices. (I will write more on this because I think we need to heed the advice of the Government Finance Officers Association and to either contract out our collections activities or consolidate all these activities into one department.)

Our message needs to be changed. Now. We need to get our own house in order and make certain that the City is efficient and effective and that we are lean. The first thing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel did upon taking office was to order a 10% reduction in senior management: reduce compensation across the board or reduce the number of positions -- whichever results in a 10% reduction in the cost of senior management. This makes sense. Instead of laying off lower paid employees who actually deliver the services to the taxpayers -- cuts needs to be made where they will not impact these services.

Every City department needs to justify its existence for continued funding. Can we consolidated departments?

And my personal pet peeve I have pursued for 6 years: when are we going to get an automated time and attendance system so that we know who is at work, how long do they work each day, who is on sick leave or vacation or workers compensation? Is every hourly employee getting their breaks and lunch -- a fact we need to prove if they ever file an FLSA claim that they didn't receive these.

We employ 5,000 and time sheets are hand written every two weeks and put into the computer by 12 employees.

Okay. So we have a lot of work to do. And I would appreciate your input.

Thank you for being engaged in this important civic effort.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gazette Covers Solar Grand Prix

Thanks to the Grunion Gazette for this great video covering the 3rd Annual Solar Grand Prix in El Dorado Park. The students were amazing as were their cars. The volunteers worked so hard on making the day flawless. The food trucks were a hit as were the exhibits on careers and trades in solar energy provided by IBEW and the Carpenters -- who also for the 3rd year constructed the race tracks. The Lifeguards brought ice water to fill up recyclable water bottles brought by the Carpenters.

United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners o...
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Enhanced by Zemanta
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I asked for the estimate several months ago

 Check out this link to an earlier story in the Long Beach Business Journal in which it was reported that the City Council was told by management that the LA Sheriff's Department quoted over a $1 million to pick up our prisoners and take them to the courthouse. The article notes that I asked to see the estimate from the LA Sheriff -- which I never received and which now has been disclosed by the LA Sheriff's that it was never requested. This looks really bad.

Proposed Long Beach Police Tunnel To Deukmejian Courthouse Project Heads To City Council

Monday, April 23, 2012

Schipske Angry that Sheriffs Claim LB Never Asked for Estimate on Prisoner Transport

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20:  Los Angeles Cou...

 Remember the story about a tunnel needed between the LB Police Department and the new courthouse? And how the City didn't get it into the original design and how when I asked why we couldn't have the LA County Sheriffs department just come and pick up the prisoners as they do for other cities I was told it was too expensive??

Ok. So when I asked to see a copy of the LA County Sheriff's estimate of what they would charge to transport City of Long Beach jail inmates across the street to the new courthouse -- I wasn't given it.
But trust us Councilwoman Schipske, said City Management -- the Sheriff says it would cost a lot -- and so it would be cheaper for us to spend $5 million and build an underground tunnel.

The worse part was the the city Council was even given a written memo outlining supposed estimates by the LA Sheriff for transporting prisoners across to the new courthouse.

So when the reporter from the LB Business Journal called me and asked if I had seen a copy of the estimate, I said "NO" and suggested she call the LA County Sheriff herself to see what they would give her.

Wow. Not only do they not have a written estimate. The spokesperson states no one from LB ever asked for one.

So where did all the figures come from that were placed into a memo from City Management to the City Council??See link below to article.

Long Beach Police Tunnel: Starting Over On Cost Estimate
Enhanced by Zemanta

Save Station 18

Popular Posts