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VIDEO: During Sworn Public Hearing Testimony re Panama Joe's, Vice Mayor Garcia Exits For Ten Minutes, Returns To Write Multiple Thank-You Notes/Envelopes, Then Focuses on iPAD Before Seconding DeLong Motion To Approve Permit

Item passes 8-0 (O'Donnell absent) against recommendations of LBPD, city staff and Belmont Shore Residents Ass'n; public testimony at meeting was split


(July 25, 2012, 1:50 p.m.) -- During sworn City Council public hearing testimony on which Councilmembers were to decide whether to renew a permit for entertainment with dancing at Panama Joe's (5100 E. 2nd St.), Vice Mayor Robert Garcia exited as the item was called, was absent for roughly ten and a half minutes, returned and began writing thank-you cards and accompanying envelopes, then turned his attention to an iPAD with only occasional glances at speakers before seconding a motion by Councilman Gary DeLong to grant the permit.

The Long Beach Police Department, city staff and the Belmont Shore Residents Association recommended denying the permit. Public testimony was split. In a briefly summarized staff report, Business Relations Manager Eric Sund didn't invite LBPD representatives (who were present) to present in detailed verbal form their reasons for recommending denial, which were in written materials filed with the agendized item. was present in the Council Chamber and captured reverse-angle video (not shown on the City Clerk's video feed) of what Councilmembers were doing during testimony in the roughly one hour, four minute hearing.

Most Councilmembers appeared to be paying close attention to the testimony (including Councilman DeLong). Councilman Dee Andrews was absent for several minutes and circulating. Councilman Patrick O'Donnell was absent for the entire meeting. We didn't know in starting our video that it would show Vice Mayor Garcia doing what he did while the public was speaking...before he seconded a motion by Councilman DeLong to approve the item.

In making the motion to approve, Councilman DeLong acknowledged that there was "room for improvement" but if the City didn't grant the permit requested by Panama Joe's, the City would allegedly lose its ability to enforce conditions it now has (under the current permit for entertainment with dancing). Vice Mayor Garcia then echoed Councilman DeLong's reasoning after seconding DeLong's motion. The item carried 8-0 (O'Donnell absent). provides time-telescoped video below, summarized to show representative extended time portions with dissolves/cuts visible and audio included for reference. Our camera wasn't hidden; it was in plain view and fairly conspicuous on a tripod. We were seated in the second row from the front in the Council Chamber.

To view the video, click here
Caveat: Large file, May take a few moments to load.

Screen saves show envelopes used by Vice Mayor Garcia for multiple cards he wrote during hearing testimony (visible on video). He views stack accumulated in photo second row photo right, later focused on iPAD during hearing testimony (also visible on video above) before seconding Councilman DeLong's motion.

After the Council meeting ended, emailed Vice Mayor Garcia and said that during the hearing item, he had "appeared to be writing what looked like greeting cards, thank you cards or invitations or items of similar size and putting them into envelopes [not business size, more like greeting card size] during hearing testimony" and later "appeared to be scrolling and typing on [his] iPAD during testimony." We asked Vice Mayor Garcia what he could tell us about this. He responded via his iPhone:

Not sure exactly what you are referring too - but I use my iPad to look at my agenda (which is online), review emails about agenda items, notes from my staff, etc. I didn't have any greeting cards, But i think maybe you were referring to a couple thank you cards my staff handed me to sign.

Thanks and have a nice night.


See VIDEO of our dog -- before and after -- wash & trim at Wags to Whiskers (LaunderPet)

Related coverage:

LBPD & City Mgm't Recommend Denial Of Permit for Entertainment w/ Dancing @ Belmont Shore's Panama Joe's; Formal Council Hearing/Vote Scheduled July 24

Panama Joe's: Owner Submits This Written Response To City Staff/LBPD-Recommended Denial Of Permit for Entertainment w/ Dancing
Panama Joe's: Current & Immediate Past Presidents of Belmont Shore Residents Ass'n Submit Opposition To Owner-Requested Permit for Entertainment w/ Dancing

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