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Friday, April 26, 2013

The Civic Center Belongs to the Taxpayers

Long Beach city management today (April 26) released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) inviting interested parties to submit their qualifications to develop, construct and operate a new Civic Center. 
 I am puzzled why the City is sending this RFQ out before it has verified with another seismic expert the one report we have that indicates there is $170,000,000 in repairs needed for City Hall. The Council was told there would be a peer review to verify the repairs are required and at the amounts stated. Doing it after the fact seems not logical and appears that this train is already out of the station on moving to get rid of the current city hall.

The other troubling aspect to this announcement are the comments by the Council member of the 2nd District whose district the Civic Center is in, which neglects to mention anything about concern for the taxpayers. At a time when we have huge unfunded liabilities and services which need to be restored, concern about rebuilding a very expensive building because is " design lacks human scale, is difficult to access and does little to assert the importance and value of the public realm" seems rather out of touch with what this City is experiencing.

The Civic Center is not the plaything or the design project of one particular council member. "Visioning" what a civic center should look like or whether or it not it should be rebuilt belongs to the taxpayers of the entire city -- and this discussion has yet to take place.

Finally, one of the major reasons I tried to get my colleagues to discuss prohibiting contributors from contractors and those bidding on contracts is because of this specific potential "trough" of public funds to build a new Civic Center. We need to make certain that any decisions concerning this issue are free from political contributions.

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