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, March 14, 2013

Schipske's Efforts on Open Up Long Beach Receive Statewide Notice

 California Forward, a nonpartisan, non profit organization whose mission is to bring government closer to the people has highlighted the efforts of Long Beach Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske in its “State of Transparency in California: 2013” report.

The report, which is an analysis that explores the core issues of governmental accountability and transparency in California, was released this week to coincide with Sunshine Week, which is an initiative promoting dialogue about the importance of having an open government and being able to access public information. Three cities are highlighted as “City Hall Success Stories in Public Engagement” in the report. The first story discusses the efforts of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske to make Long Beach more open, transparent and accountable:

Long Beach Launches “Open Up Long Beach” In January of 2012 Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske of the City of Long Beach took public education and transparency efforts one step further. Her initiative “Open Up Long Beach” provides residents with increased access to the city’s every day affairs and includes opportunities to learn about what individual council members are working on, what committees they sit on and what projects they spearhead. The project combines an online resource with “Open Up Long Beach” community meetings.

“I am very honored that California Forward has acknowledged ‘Open Up Long Beach’,” says Schipske. “I agree that with so many difficult decisions facing local government that the demand and need for transparency is great. I am doing what I can to make certain that Long Beach is open, transparent and accountable.”

Schipske frequently writes on her two blogs ( and , Facebook and Belmont Shore Patch on the issues before city council  and posts city documents that provide readers with background information on the issues. She also sends email alerts on events and issues and has launched a “behind the scenes” tour of city operations to give residents a closer look at how their government and its agencies operate. To date, Open Up Long Beach has visited: the oil islands, SERRF waste to energy plant, the Emergency Operations Center, the Long Beach Health and Human Services department and laboratories, and the inter workings of the Aquarium of the Pacific. Schipske was the first councilmember to post her schedule on line and to provide a 24/7 problem/complaint system on the city website.

The complete “State of Transparency in California:2013” report can be downloaded by clicking

Sunshine in Government is Crucial

Government transparency is the cornerstone of democracy.  As such, it is our collective responsibility to protect our right to a government that is open, and whose business is the business of the people it serves.  Similarly, it is the responsibility of state and local elected officials to work to actively increase the public’s access to public information, to provide opportunities for citizen participation in key decision-making processes and report the results of those decisions back out to constituents.

Governments that create pathways for citizens’ effective engagement and participation typically learn that doing so, enables them to enhance their own performance; by using public feedback to guide their decisions, government leaders can fund and implement programs and services that are reflective of the public’s interest and that are highly impactful at improving their overall quality of life.

I am writing today because this week is International Sunshine Week—an initiative dedicated to educating the public about the importance of open government. As such, I would like to reassert my commitment to fostering a transparent government.

Here in Long Beach, I have been working to identify solutions for increasing government transparency and exploring opportunities that will encourage collaboration and innovation. In January of last year, I led the launch of “Open Up Long Beach,” a government transparency website that aims to provide residents with access to important information, including city budget documents, council agenda items, City departments, and other important resources. 

My council colleagues and I have also initiated several online applications that serve as dynamic two-way communication channels between residents and city staff and implemented new open government policies, requiring that all city contracts be posted online.

California Forward, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, is just one of the many groups throughout the state that are working to bring government closer to the people. This week, they are launching their “Government Transparency Portal,” an online tool that residents can use to access information about the inner workings of their local government as well as others throughout the state.

With the increased use of technology and the internet as well as of dozens of other online innovations, there’s no reason not to be more open and transparent, especially now in the digital age. I support open, transparent local government, and I encourage you to do the same.

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March 17th Event for People Who Love Dogs and Books

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Documents You Need to Read...Today

In my on going attempt to make Long Beach city government as open and transparent as possible I would like to share with you three important documents just received on my desk (with links to the full documents):

1) The City of Long Beach is projecting a $3.6 million surplus for the coming budget year. This means we need to restore funding to the police and fire services and staffing that were drastically cut for the past several years and have left both departments scrambling to respond to calls for services. The projected budget surplus comes from a combination of pension reforms we enacted through negotiations and the fact that once redevelopment was dissolved by the state, 42% of Long Beach's property tax increment was restored -- resulting in $11 million in revenues.
2) You might soon receive a notice of a water increase. Well it isn't coming from the City Water Department. It is coming from the WRD. Never heard of WRD? Most people haven't. This agency provides groundwater and groundwater replenishment and the City Water Department pumps 60 percent of its water from their sources -- which are charged. WRD is increasing their charges which get passed along to you. 
3) The state dissolution of redevelopment is a complex story. Basically the city placed 42 percent of the city into a redevelopment area which then locked up the tax increment that could only be used for redevelopment. The state legislature abolished redevelopment last year so that the state could realize more property tax revenue. Well, the side story is that the dissolution produced a restoration of $11 million dollars in property taxes for Long Beach!

Thanks for reading these documents.

Please free to send me your comments at


Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske

Lot of shaking on last Saturday

Long Beach earthquake, 1933
Long Beach earthquake, 1933 (Photo credit: California Watch)

It was the day before the 80th anniversary of the 1933 Long Beach earthquake but there was still a lot of shaking going on at the El Dorado Community Center. It was a packed house that attended the Get Ready Workshop hosted by my office.

Everyone saw these videos which should be passed along to everyone living in Southern California:

KCET anchor Val Zavala did a wonderful job as our "MC" as she moved the day along so that the crowd (more than 100) could listen to experts from USGS (earthquake specialists), FEMA, CAEMA, American Red Cross, CERT, Long Beach Fire Department and the EMS and Disaster Coordinator for our local hospitals.

Each attendee received a copy of the KCET program: Bracing for a Quake and numerous hand outs. The afternoon included a session with the American Red Cross discussing how to get your neighborhood ready.

Throughout the day, Southern California experienced over 33 quakes of different magnitudes.

I hope to continue this effort for the next year so that Long Beach can get prepared for the next big one that is coming. It is just a matter of time.

If you want to sign up for earthquake notifications from the USGS click here.
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The Streetlight of the Future Will Do So Much More Than Light Your Street

Check out this exciting article about streetlights that can aid public safety. The City of the city of Chattanooga had a serious crime problem and turned to a company that makes street lights to lower its crime. But they are not just ordinary lights. These light can be controlled inside a police patrol car to flash in an emergency, become a spot light and dim and get brighter as needed.

Additionally, the lights can provide WIFI and be connected to cameras and air quality detectors which can detect if certain drugs are being used in the area.

The Streetlight of the Future Will Do So Much More Than Light Your Street
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