Saturday, October 6, 2018

OpenUpLongBeach Discovers Bombshell About Measure BBB

In response to an email from community activist, Ann Cantrell, about the City Attorney's "impartial analysis" of Measure BBB -- which would extend term limits for the Mayor and City Council from two to three, I did some digging into the Government Code and Attorney General opinions about this issue.

What I found is shocking! Government Code section 36502(b) requires that any term limits provision may only apply to terms served after the effective date of the measure.

This means that should Measure BBB pass, this current Mayor and City Council will be allowed to seek 12 more years in office. No wonder they are pushing so hard for its passage!


Friday, September 14, 2018

FPPC Drops Complaint


FPPC Counsel Says ‘Not enough evidence’ of Violation of Law by City of Long Beach on Measure M Mailers – Matter Could Be Taken to City Prosecutor -- Apologizes for Unclear Response on Complaint

Long Beach, CA – September 14, 2018 – Ruth Yang, Counsel for the Fair Political Practices Commission today told Gerrie Schipske, who filed complaints with the FPPC, alleging that the Mayor and City Council had spent taxpayers’ dollars to advocate for passage of Measure M, that she did not find “enough evidence” to continue an investigation.

Schipske had alleged that the Mayor and City Council collectively and individually had spent taxpayer dollars to advocate for the passage of Measure M. Specifically, the City hired a political consultant to develop direct mail pieces that were not sent to all voters, but a targeted 43%, which makes them not general information as required by law. Additionally, the pieces advocated for passage by omitting key issues such as the measure was a tax; the transfers were from gross revenues and the City could raise utility rates to pay for the transfers.

“I am deeply disappointed in Ms. Yang’s response,” says Schipske. “I had been emailing and calling FPPC several times for an answer on the main complaint.”

Schipske added that Ms. Yang apologized for not having sent correspondence earlier on the entire complaint, and instead only responded to allegations concerning Mayor Garcia and Councilmembers Richardson, Andrews and Price utilizing taxpayer paid cellphones and emails to advocate for the passage of Measure M.

“She did offer that I could ask the City Prosecutor to look in the matter, which does not appear likely.”

Friday, August 31, 2018

FPPC Drops Investigation Against Councilwoman Price -- Didn't Spend More Than $1000 to Advocate for Measure M

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) which investigates complaints about certain violations about campaign spending and spending of taxpayer money to advocate for or against ballot measures or candidates, has dropped its investigation against Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price.

A FPPC complaint had been filed by OpenUpLongBeach founder and public advocate, Gerrie Schipske, asserting that the Mayor and City Council and certain individual councilmembers used taxpayer monies to advocate for the passage of Measure M.

In dismissing the complaint that Councilwoman Price had used taxpayer funds to send out a lengthy email advocating for Measure M, the FPPC Enforcement Division held that Councilwoman Price used "personal funds" to advocate for Measure M and that because the threshold for an independent expenditure is $1000 or more, the complaint was dismissed.

The complaint against the entire City Council and Mayor concerning hiring a political consultant to target only a portion of voters with information and advocacy on Measure M is still under investigation by the FPPC.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Political Action Committee To Launch


Schipske Prepares to Launch OpenUpLongBeach.com/Political Action Committee to Fight for Open, Transparent and Accessible Local Government




August 21, 2018 – Former Council member Gerrie Schipske today announced that she is filing paperwork necessary to launch a new political action committee that will raise and spend money to fight for open, transparent and accessible local government. She issued the following statement:

“In 1994, the voters of Long Beach approved a ‘Campaign Reform Act,” because of their concern that:

Monetary contributions to political campaigns are a legitimate form of participation in the political process, but the financial strength of certain individuals or organizations should not permit the exercise of a disproportionate or controlling influence on the election of candidates…The integrity of the governmental process, the competitiveness of campaigns and public confidence in local officials are all diminishing.

Today, many voters are concerned about how the ‘Campaign reform Act’ has been weakened by this Mayor and this City Council and how we are seeing the growing power of special interests in our City which contribute tens of thousands of dollars for candidates and ballot measures. Consequently, this Mayor and this City Council continue to raise taxes, to increase and consolidate their power and to further weaken the City’s ‘Campaign Reform Act’.

Voters supporting open, transparent and accessible local government need a way to reach other voters to stop these actions. A political action committee will provide this way by raising and spending money to reach voters with the information they need to make good decisions at the ballot box.

OpenUpLongBeach.com/Political Action will be a general purpose, local political action committee. Our Treasurer will be David Gould, a seasoned political consultant on campaign finance.

We are setting up an on-line secure link so that contributors can make contributions safely on-line. Contributions can always be sent to: OpenLongBeach.com/political action, c/o David Gould, 249 E. Ocean Blvd., Suite 685, Long Beach, CA 90802. Contributions are not tax deductible.”

Contact: Gerrie Schipske: 562 201-1296 and openuplongbeach@gmail.com.








                                                                                                             

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Schipske Files Notice --Ballot Titles Violate Election Code



Contact: Gerrie Schipske (562 201-1296)  August 7, 2018
Taxpayer Advocate and Former Councilmember Schipske Files Objections to Descriptions for Charter Amendments Dealing with Merger of Utilities and Giving the Mayor and Council a Third Term in Office

Former Councilmember Gerrie Schipske today filed a notice with the City Clerk concerning the proposed ballot titles of the Charter Amendments which would merge the City’s utilities and extend the terms of office for the Mayor and the City Council. Schipske contends that pursuant to Election Code 9203, the ballot titles are misleading because they do not include enough information for the voter and actually hides the real intent and impact of the amendments.
Schipske asks that the City Attorney make the necessary changes before the Council proceeds. Election Code 9204 allows a voter to request the court to direct the City Attorney to amend a ballot title when it is found to be ballot title false, misleading, or inconsistent with the requirements of Section 9203 .
Notice to Mayor and City Council:

"Long Beach Utility Consolidation. Shall the City Charter be YES amended to consolidate the existing gas, water and sewer utilities and potentially other future City-operated utilities into a single utility department overseen by a five-member Public Utilities Commission, the members of which shall be appointed by the Mayor, subject to Council confirmation?"

The "short title" above quoted totally fails, directly or indirectly, expressly or impliedly, to indicate that the proposal is intended to make major changes in the City Charter and the structure of City government.

The short title fails to disclose that the measure merging the water and gas departments will eliminate the Charter established Water Department and the Board of Water Commissioners, which have operated in an independent manner since 1954. This proposed merger is not a ministerial action taken by City management. This is a substantive change in the City Charter and the oversight of the Water Department.

"City of Long Beach Term Limits Amendment. Shall the City YES Charter be amended to limit the Mayor and City Councilmembers to serving three terms and to prohibit individuals who have already served three terms from being elected as write-in candidates?"

The "short title" above quoted totally fails, directly or indirectly, expressly or impliedly, to indicate that the proposal is intended to extend the terms of office for the Mayor and City Council from two to three.

The short title fails to disclose that this amendment to the City Charter will eliminate the current two term limitation and replace it with a third term and further eliminate the right of voters to elect a candidate who runs as a “write-in.”

The City cannot opt to provide “all the sweet” and “exclude the bitter” in providing a short title that is defective in that it fails to disclose the substantive changes in the structure of City government and elections. As such, the titles are clearly misleading and do not substantially comply with Elections Code 9203.
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OpenUpLongBeach Discovers Bombshell About Measure BBB

In response to an email from community activist, Ann Cantrell, about the City Attorney's "impartial analysis" of Measure BBB...