(November 20, 2006) -- Nearly three weeks have passed since three women were beaten and suffered serious injuries on Halloween night on a public street in the City of Long Beach, allegedly preceded by racial taunts.
What happened that night awaits a court of law, but what happened since Oct. 31 needs to come out now.
Over a week after the fact, city management, to whom taxpayers give $220,000+ a year for a Human Relations program including a designated Human Dignity Officer, dispensed what we believe is inaccurate information to the City's Human Relations Commission on what CA hate crime law says.
The City Hall Commission then violated CA's Brown Open Meetings law by taking a voted action without public notice on what amounts to a politically-correct manifesto in the form of a pledge. (LB's City Attorney office, which learned of the action after the fact, prevented a trainwreck by directing the vote be rescinded until public notice is respected.)
As of our posting today, the Press-Telegram hasn't reported this. It hasn't reported in detail what CA hate crime statutes say. It hasn't reported what city management said the law says. It hasn't reported what City Hall's Human Relations Commission tried to do contrary to the state's Open Meetings law.
Instead, the PT offered front page coverage to the City Hall Commission's announcement that it would monitor LBPD's investigation of the Halloween night occurrence...without reporting (then or since) that the Commission itself violated the law during the course of its sole meeting on the subject.
And while offering mild editorial criticism of top city officials for failing to hold a public meeting in the aftermath of October 31, the PT tore into 8th district Councilwoman Rae Gabelich who shouldered the task of hosting an open public meeting when others didn't.
That meeting turned out as well as it did because of the way Councilwoman Gabelich, LBPD and the public conducted themselves. Yes, the PT had a right to promote that meeting...but to leave the rest of the bigger City Hall story untold is unfair by our standards.
That's why LBReport.com is separately making a freedom of information request under state law (CA Public Records Act) for records of city management, including its Human Relations program and Human Dignity Program, related to its response to the events of Oct. 31. We will do likewise for the Mayor's office since he's the city's highest ranking elected official and LB's new Mayor has shown a rare talent, in the face of centrifugal forces on other issues, for finding common ground where others saw none.
We intend to go where the truth leads on City Hall aspects of this no matter whose toes it steps on. To borrow the PT's phrase, that's our job.