An inside look at the City of Long Beach by Gerrie Schipske

Google Alert - open government

Monday, September 8, 2014

Long Beach Property Taxes/Spending, Etc. On line

English: An official image of California State...
English: An official image of California State Controller John Chiang (江俊輝) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It would have been nice if the City of Long Beach had used software like opengov to post its data. But no. Instead we must rely upon State Controller John Chiang to open up Long Beach and do the posting.

Check it out: and insert the City of Long Beach. Watch how property tax revenues have skyrocketed since 2003 yet the City still has fire stations without equipment, a reduced gang unit in the Police department and about 600 less police on the street.

This is an eye opener and one that I tried getting while on City Council.

Go Open and Transparent Long Beach! Because you have the right to know.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Article Discusses the Tyrannies of Local Government

It is ironic that last night the City Council without any dissent, passed the City Budget in record time (even before all council districts were able to hold public meetings on the budget) ignoring the continued concerns of many residents about the lack of adequate police services particularly in and around City parks and today an article ( appears in The Nation titled: The Greatest Threat to Our Liberty Is Local Governments Run Amok.

The article rightly points out with the lack of strong local media watchdogs and elections that are bought by special interests, local elected officials have developed political monopolies and enact proposals that do not reflect the concerns of their constituents: 

Political scientist Jessica Trounstine calls “political monopoly”—officials and organizations who have so effectively defeated any potential predators that they can lazily begin to gorge. She writes: “When politicians cease to worry about reelection, they become free to pursue government policy that does not reflect constituent preferences. They acquire the ability to enrich themselves and their supporters or pursue policies that would otherwise lead to their electoral defeat.”

Add a low voter turnout in local elections, and there is little threat to the politician who simply doesn’t listen to the voters.

Local government should be the level of government closest to the people and the most accountable. Unfortunately, that’s not happening.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Why Form 803 is so important to open government

I just finished filing two Form 803s and sent them off the Long Beach City Clerk who is make sure they get filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission in Sacramento.

What is a Form 803 you ask?  It is a disclosure of any contribution made to a charitable organization at the behest (request) of a politician. These are not campaign contributions but instead monetary contributions made by a person or corporation to a non profit organization.

The intent of the form is to publicly disclose whenever an elected official has asked for money to be donated to a favorite cause.

In my case, I requested several companies to donate to Partners of Parks (a non profit organization which supports projects for the parks and recreation). I raised more than $50,000 for the 4th of July Municipal Band Concert and Fireworks Show at Vets Stadium.

A Form 803 is required whenever a contribution of $5,000 or more is made at the behest of an elected official. So, I needed to file one for the $22,000 donated by Sares-Regis Company and the $10,000 donated by Lamar Advertising. All the other donations made were under $5,000.

These forms give the public one more look into whom an elected official deals with. and an accounting of large contributions made at the request of the elected official -- all perfectly legal, but nonetheless needing disclosure.

Technically speaking, the Mayor of Long Beach should be filing these forms for the contributions made to Children of the Night which funded his inauguration events.