(June 9, 2005) -- Gerrie Schipske today announced her candidacy for ELB's 5th district City Council seat currently held by Vice Mayor/Councilwoman Jackie Kell, who confronts term limits if she seeks reelection.
In an emailed release, Ms. Schipske (elected to LB's Community College Board of Trustees in 1992, made subsequent runs against Steve Kuykendall for state Assembly and Steve Horn and Dana Rohrabacher for Congress) said her LB City Council campaign will focus on getting the Council to "stick to the basics of local government."
"Running a city should be like running a business or raising a family," said Schipske. "First, you take care of the basics. Police. Fire. Libraries. Code Enforcement. Streets. Then you pay for the luxuries. Long Beach has done the big-ticket spending to attract new corporations and tourists. The Aquarium of the Pacific. The Long Beach Convention Center. The Pike Project. Now it’s time to take care of the people who are already here," she said.
In her release, Ms. Schipske said the City Council should focus on:
- "Hiring enough police officers for a city with a 491,000 population because they keep our neighborhoods safe, and frankly, most of us are tired of watching the news portray Long Beach as a crime riddled, gang infested city."
- Fully equipping our fire stations so that our firefighters have the equipment they need.
- Fixing our streets and sidewalks so that our cars don’t hit potholes when we drive down a street or we don’t have people tripping on the cracks and bulges on the sidewalks.
- Aggressively enforcing housing code regulations throughout the City to clean up and rid our neighborhoods of blight.
- Keeping our libraries open because we should care as much about the people who use these services as we do the consultants that the city spends millions on.
Ms. Schipske's release doesn't explicitly mention LB Airport. It does include restoring the "quality of life in all our neighborhoods" by making certain "our neighborhoods are free from noise and air pollution" as part of what she calls "the 3 R’s of good government"
- "Reform Wasteful Spending. No more costly consultants to do the work City management is already paid to do. Investigate why Long Beach is currently spending more to service the debt of the City than it spends on the entire Police Department budget. Institute a pay-cut for the Mayor and City Council every year the budget has a deficit. Cut the number of management positions earning in excess of $100,000. Stop the "me too" practice of allowing management to receive the very same level of pensions which they negotiate with non-management employees.
- Reduce Crime. Stop making the Police Department beg for the necessary funds to hire enough police to keep our neighborhoods safe. Fund public safety -- without raising taxes. Do everything possible to drive the gangs out of Long Beach. Enforce a "zero tolerance" of crime throughout our city and in our schools.
- Restore the Quality of Life in All Our Neighborhoods. Make certain that our neighborhoods are free from noise and air pollution. Fully equip our fire stations .Remove the blight that exists in several areas of Long Beach by strong Code enforcement. Assist residents with renovation grants.
Ms. Schipske's release said her previous runs for public office "have significantly increased her name recognition among voters and demonstrated that she’s not afraid to stand up for what’s right." Ms. Schipske added in her candidacy release, "In some ways, my running for city council after running for higher office is my ‘getting back to basics.’ Local government is much more important because it is the closest level of government to the people and possibly affects us more on a daily basis than other levels of government."
Incumebent 5th district Councilwoman/Vice Mayor Jackie Kell hasn't announced her future plans. Under LB's term limits law, Kell would have to run a write-in campaign (as Mayor O'Neill did) if she seeks reelection to the 5th district Council seat (or she could seek a different office or retire).
To date the only other announced 5th district candidate is ELB resident Ed Barwick, who sought the 5th district seat in 1998...when voters elected Kell.
On June 7, Ms. Schipske used an internet blog to urge the City Council to pass what she calls a "Tin Cup" ordinance (Tin Cup = "Time Is Now to Clean Up Politics") requiring Council members to publicly disclose at the time they vote on an issue if they've accepted more than $500 in political contributions from any person or organization related to the issue during the previous four years.
The ordinance, patterned after a movement started by an OC activist, would also prohibit Council members from voting on matters involving people and organizations from whom Council members have accepted more than $1,200 in political contributions during the previous four years. Such political contributions would include those made to a council member for all their political campaigns during the previous four years.
"Local residents are becoming more concerned about who impacts the decisions made by the city council," Ms. Schipske said. "Although Long Beach has done a great job in campaign finance reform by limiting campaign contributions, a TINCUP ordinance would let voters know exactly who is giving money to council members and for what issues. The ordinance would prove voters with a ‘conflicts check’."
Ms. Schipske, a Registered Nurse Practitioner, attorney and advocate is a LB native.
Ms. Schipske has launched a campaign blog in cyberspace at www.schipskeforcouncil.blogspot.com.