|(Feb. 21, 2017) -- Immediate-past 5th district Councilmember (2006-2014) and Mayoral candidate (2014) Gerrie Schipske has launched a Facebook page titled:"Write In Gerrie Schipske for 5th Council District" at this link which states "Many residents of the 5th Council District have contacted Gerrie Schipske and asked her to return to the Long Beach City Council in 2018. Before Gerrie decides, she needs to hear from you" and asks "Do you think I should run?"
On the Facebook page, Ms. Schipske writes in part:
She was the first city council member to post her schedule on line and to not accept gifts from those doing business with the City. She authored legislation to register lobbyists and to prohibit them from giving gifts to all council members...
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But in our view Councilwoman Schipske has invited questions about her fidelity to openness and transparency when it comes to a major issue that polarized 5th district residents and those beyond under her successor, now-incumbent Councilwoman Stacy Mungo: Should the City Council should allow a federal customs facility at LB Airport (located in the 5th Council district) that would turn the municipal facility into an international airport for passenger and/or cargo operations?
As previously reported by LBREPORT.com, documents obtained by this publication under the CA Public Records Act show that during much of 2013, Long Beach Airport management and staff operated without public transparency to explore and effectively pursue a potential federal customs facility at the behest of JetBlue and twice summarized in memos for then-Council incumbents much of what was taking place.
In response, Council incumbents remained mum, failing to alert the public, letting residents remain the last to know what was really taking place entering the 2014 election cycle...in which Schipske and Garcia were both running for Mayor. In addition, and in some ways even more troubling, no Council incumbent publicly questioned what was taking place...in which the Council was effectively letting Airport management pursue this matter without first seeking and obtaining Council voted approval to do so (which would have required public discussion.)
And in some ways, what Schipske did was arguably worse. Even if she somehow overlooked two Airport management memos on the significant matter, JetBlue's Sr. VP/Associate Gen'l Counsel Rob Land cc'd Councilwoman Schipske in a Sept. 4, 2013 letter to then-LB Airport management, expressing gratitude for Airport management's cooperation on the issue and looking forward to "partnering" with the City on the matter.
If any then-Council incumbent -- including Schipske or Garcia -- had told the public the extent of what they were told was really taking place, the Airport issue would have almost certainly become a major issue in the 2014 election cycle. Instead, the election put Councilwoman Stacy Mungo in office and Robert Garcia (and not Schipske) in the Mayor's office.
As of dawn Feb. 21, to our knowledge neither Mayor Garcia nor write-in Council candidate Schipske have plainly stated whether they support or oppose allowing a customs facility at LGB that would change it to an international airport...and Schipske is seeking a decision-making vote on that very issue by announcing her write-in candidacy.
To us, it looks like Schipske is channeling Robert Garcia in trying to straddle the issue and channeling Hillary Clinton in making excuses for an obvious lack of openness and transparency in not disclosing and sounding the alarm on what was taking place while she was in office. That's probably not a smart strategy for a candidate touting her devotion to transparency in seeking to return to office now.
We think it would behoove candidate Schipske to honestly acknowledge what she did and didn't do on this matter when she was in office, and tell the public whether she does or doesn't support making LGB an international airport in seeking that office again.
Opinions expressed by LBREPORT.com, our contributors and/or our readers are not necessary those of our advertisers. We welcome our readers' comments/opinions 24/7 via Disqus, Facebook and moderate length letters and longer-form op-ed pieces submitted to us at mail@LBReport.com.
Feb. 23, 4:10 a.m.: Added a sentence quoting from the Nov. 14, 2016 Airport management memo. Also added text in next-to-last paragraph "in not disclosing and sounding the alarm on what was taking place while she was in office" and "in seeking to return to office now."
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