Further On Councilwoman Pearce's Chartered Bus Event To
|(Jan. 19, 2018, 10:25 a.m., UPDATED 5:10 p.m.) -- LBREPORT.com has learned more about the Sat. Jan. 20 event organized by Second district Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce's office, apparently with some levels of support from some other LB Councilmembers (details of which remain unclear), offering free chartered bus transportation to a second annual L.A. Women's March. Last year, several-hundred thousand women (joined by a sizable number of men) converged on downtown L.A. to protest President Trump's inauguration, an action the L.A. Times described at the time as "the first act of resistance to a conservative administration." Large crowds also turned out for similar events in other U.S. cities and internationally.
By midday Thursday (Jan. 18), Councilwoman Pearce stated on the LB event's Facebook page ("WeRiseStronger LB Women to La Women's March," logo right) that charter bus seats are "officially sold out" (participants were required to RSVP online to get a free seat). On the event's Facebook page, Councilwoman Pearce thanked Vice Mayor Rex Richardson and Councilman Roberto Uranga for their support (no details.)
[UPDATE] Shortly after 3 p.m. Friday, Councilwoman Pearce's office emailed an updated advisory that indicates a fourth bus has been added [we didn't have a number before] and will now bus 200 LB residents [we didn't have that number either] to the L.A. event, and indicated from where the funding came:
[Councilwoman Pearce email advisory] Throughout the week, her office has received an outpouring of support. The three buses she reserved were sold out within 24 hours of the announcement. Her office is still receiving calls to reserve tickets, so she went in search of support to book a fourth bus to carry more residents to the march.
[Scroll down for further.]
LBREPORT.com learned (and yesterday added to our original text) that a reliable third party had indicated to us that Councilman Uranga wasn't planning to join on the bus ride to the L.A. event. LBREPORT.com asked Councilwoman Pearce's office about that, and sought information about the role of Councilwoman Stacy Mungo, the only Republican currently on the LB City Council (and now seeking re-election) who's sought support for her re-election at some LB-area Republican events.
Councilwoman Pearce's Communications Deputy Devin Ablard said in a Jan. 18 email that he wasn't sure if Councilman Uranga is or isn't riding on the bus, but said Councilmember Pearce indicated on the morning of Jan. 18 that each person listed as a co-host is contributing in some way. "Some have contributed to the reservation of the buses through their Office Holder accounts, some are donating snacks and waters, others are helping to hand out those snacks and waters. Also, each Councilmember that is signed on is sending someone from their office if not coming themselves," Mr. Ablard emailed.
Councilwoman Pearce's Jan. 16 release included a paragraph listing co-hosts as including Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, state Senator Ricardo Lara, Supervisor Janice Hahn, Vice Mayor Rex Richardson, Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, Councilwoman Suzie Price, Councilmember Roberto Uranga, Building Healthy Communities Long Beach, Elders Rising, LiBRE, Long Beach Area Peace Network, Long Beach Firefighters Union Local 372, Long Beach PRIDE, MADE by Millworks, Queer Mafia, Ronnies House Foundation, The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach, and VIP Records." The release included a sub-headline listing co-hosts as Senator Lara, Vice Mayor Richardson, Councilmembers Gonzalez, Price, Uranga...and Mungo.
Asked for further information about Councilwoman Mungo's participation, Communications Deputy Ablard emailed on Jan. 18 that "we did invite her participation and she did agree to it" while adding that the event was "put together at the last minute" and one of the "late additions to the press release [was] Councilwoman Mungo" although he did not have direct contact with her.
Earlier on Jan. 18 at 7:32 a.m., LBREPORT.com attached a copy of Councilwoman Pearce's release and asked Councilwoman Mungo via email if she is or isn't part of the Saturday event. As of Jan. 19 at 10:00 a.m. we're received no response from Councilwoman Mungo.
LBREPORT.com invited comment on the event from Ben Goldberg, handling Community Outreach for the Long Beach Area Republican Party. Mr. Goldberg commented:
[LB Area Republican Party statement via Ben Goldberg] In our view, for some Long Beach City Council members to use resources at their disposal such as their "officeholder accounts" to promote more divisive politics and for what can serve as a platform for their next offices is despicable. We think there's nothing wrong if people want to join the L.A. rally but we don't think it's the place of City officials holding non-partisan offices to promote divisive politics when they could better use resources they have to serve Long Beach needs, especially when we face a looming City budget crisis. Officeholder accounts should be used for apolitical items, like snow days or other Long Beach community items that may face budget cuts, that contribute to the betterment of all citizens of Long Beach. They should not be used for purposes that divide the community.
Regarding Councilwoman Mungo's role in the event, Mr. Goldberg said he can't comment without knowing details of her involvement [details unclear for now.]
As LBREPORT.com reported on Jan. 18, the Jan. 17 Pearce Council office release was emailed by her Communications Deputy to addresses labeled "CM- Social Media Distribution" and "CM - Media Distribution" and "CM - National Media Distribution") and Communications Deputy Ablard said the buses "are being funded through the Councilmemberís Officeholder Account.
"Officeholder Accounts" [which Pearce's office says were used to charter a bus or buses] are funded by contributors to the Councilmembers, not taxpayer funds. Following the election of Mayor Robert Garcia, a new Council majority changed LB law regarding the size and uses of "officeholder" accounts in two controversial votes (2015 and 2017.)
On split votes in Feb. 2015 (prior to Pearce's election), a Council majority approved allowing LB electeds to collect triple the annual amounts previously allowed in the "officeholder accounts." In 2017 following Pearce's election, Mayor Garcia appointed her to chair the Council's Elections Oversight Committee where she brought forward for Council approval (April 2017) further changes to LB law that now let electeds use their "officeholder accounts" to support candidates they favor in other political races.
Mayor Garcia (who as a citywide elected was allowed to collect a significantly larger officeholder account total than Councilmembers) didn't veto either of the Council "officeholder account" related actions.
For a detailed history of how Long Beach came to allow "officeholder accounts," see LBREPORT.com coverage at this link.
The organizing entity for this year's Los Angeles event (a 501(c)(3) non-profit) has issued press release (with an italicized sub-headline of "March to Focus on Power to the Polls") that says this year's event "is committed to turning out the vote and hopes to use the power of the upcoming March, along with the work being done by partner organizations, to bring attention to the urgency of preparing for the November midterm elections" with speakers discussing "a plan of action leading up to November 2018 and beyond." Notwithstanding the 2017 event's genesis as an
In her release, Councilwoman Pearce (currently facing a formal recall effort following an incident involving her now-former Chief of Staff that escalated to an LBPD-encounter with no charges ultimately filed by the DA against Pearce) states: "After a life of experiences often difficult to share, I have found my voice and power through the support of my community. After years of seeing more women rising, marching, and sharing their stories, I know what comes after the struggle...We Rise. I continue to be inspired and I know through these collective struggles, We Rise Stronger. We see that the most difficult part of #MeToo is the courage it takes to break the silence especially in the face of people questioning your truth, but what we learned is that for all of us; men, women, and members of the LGBTQ community, our struggles are not for nothing! Our struggles have become our strength."
The L.A. event's website (at this link), states in part: "Our event on January 20th will feature music, art, community booths, and speakers in a shared voice of resistance with advocacy aligned with the national Women's March Unity Principles: ending violence, protection of reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, workers' rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights, Indigenous people's rights and environmental justice...The 2018 Anniversary event will provide participants the tools, and amplify their motivation, to use their vote as their voice to build government that reflects their ideals. We will create a safe and peaceful space where the important issues of voter turnout, access, restrictions, and intimidation will be addressed and begin a plan of action leading up to November 2018 and beyond." It adds: "We will use the power of the Women's March on January 20 to bring attention to the urgency of preparing for the November elections and to augment and magnify the work being done by our partner community organizations to turn out the vote in 2018 and work on important voting initiatives in the future."
The event's Facebook page says the L.A. event will be "part of a national movement to unify and empower everyone who stands for women's rights, human rights, civil liberties, and social justice for all. This is a non-partisan and peaceful event. People will unite locally and nationally in every state and major metropolitan area to stand with us in solidarity for the American values we represent."
The L.A. event website includes a page at this link. listing its partners and as of Jan. 17 at dawn, lists the following "Partners, Speakers, Grassroots, Community Groups":
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