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    Responses, Reactions After Mayor O'Neill Announces That Publicly Agendized LNG Item Won't Be Heard Until June 21

    (May 25, 2005) -- In the hours immediately following the May 24 City Council meeting, invited statements from a number of parties regarding Mayor Beverly O'Neill's announcement -- roughly 90 minutes into the Council meeting -- that an item jointly agendized by City Manager Jerry Miller and City Attorney Bob Shannon seeking Council policy direction on a proposed 80+ million gallon Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility in the Port of LB would not be heard as agendized...and won't be heard until June 21. has separately posted verbatim the explanation delivered by Mayor O'Neill during the Council. To view it, click here.

    Below are on the record responses received by us in response to our inquiry:

    City Manger Jerry Miller
    (statement provided by Public Information Officer Kathy Parsons)

    The City Manager, in consultation with the City Attorney, withdrew the item based on Councilmembers' concerns that because the information was on the revised agenda distributed on Friday, rather than the original agenda which was posted on Thursday, that there was less time for public notice, and with an abundance of caution for the public's knowledge and with the acceptance of the Mayor and Council, it was decided to bring the item back on June 21.

    Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga

    Councilwoman Reyes Uranga: From my perspective, this was an important issue that had to do with more than negotiations [under a Memorandum of Understanding with the LNG project applicant]. It was really a whole action on how the Council felt about LNG.

    The [agendized] action item was confusing and not appropriately noticed. If it was going to heard tonight [May 24], my concern was that it wasn't on the [regular early issued] Thursday noticed agenda. It didn't appear until Friday on a revised agenda. But that's legal. The City Attorney co-agendized it and it's been accepted on other items.

    Councilwoman Reyes Uranga: I didn't say it was illegal. I just feel an action item this important should have been noticed properly. Councilmembers didn't agendize the item; the City Manager and City Attorney did. They should have done it properly. Shouldn't you have been required to make a motion, get a second and have the Council vote publicly to hold the item over for a month?

    Councilwoman Reyes Uranga: The reason there wasn't a vote is because the City Manager and City Attorney removed it. And I also think the Harbor Comissioners should have been present. The Harbor Commissioners? Do they wait for you to attend their meetings before they vote?

    Councilwoman Reyes Uranga: I have gone to their meetings. But the Port doesn't wait for the Council.

    Councilwoman Reyes Uranga: No, but again, if the item hadn't have been removed by the City Manager and City Attorney, there could have been a vote on holding it over, and if that happened, so be it.

    Bry Myown, LB Citizens for Utility Reform

    On the night before the U.S. Senate marks up the federal Energy bill [containing LNG provisions], the Long Beach City Council couldn't make up its mind.

    The Council made a mockery of Senator Feinstein's proposed legislation [to preserve state and local control on LNG]. They sent a message to the Senate that they want LNG in a densely populated area. Other cities who are relying on CA don't have the luxury of being the landlord and LB has hurt them.

    There were a lot of people that the Mayor and the Council spat on tonight. There was a big turnout [by opponents of the LNG project], not just the usual people, but people who've never attended before, who they wanted to be heard on a life or death issue.

    After the way Beverly treated them, they may never come back...and I think that's exactly what she wanted.

    Skip Blas [Ms. Myown's spouse]

    There were people present for the first time because this issue is something they're truly concerned about...and I do think they'll be back. And they'll bring their friends, and more friends, and when this comes up again, those who think it's OK to conduct business the way the Mayor did are going to see a revolt...

    I have never seen an elected official so blatantly ignore the constitutional right of people to participate in government. Tonight was an all-time low...

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