|Terry Jensen notes that the following is a fantasy for satirical purposes...sort of.
(October 10, 2011) -- I've long been troubled by the less than collegial interaction between Long Beach's current Mayor and some Council members which at times is downright hostile. It seems that self serving political posturing has too often trumped sound business practices.
After watching last Tuesday's (Oct. 4) Council meeting (which dealt in part with how to allocate accrued oil revenue) and the snarky behavior of the Mayor and those sitting to his right, I began seriously to think about how to get better representation for Long Beach.
The answer came to me as epiphany as I was driving north on Lakewood Boulevard on my way to World Markets in Lakewood and then on to Costco in Signal Hill.
The answer to our problems was there all along and so obvious that we've failed to see it: "OUTSOURCING!"
Let's outsource the office and functions of our Mayor and City Council to the City of Signal Hill.
It struck me that by any objective standards, Signal Hill has been outperforming Long Beach for years. In fact, on the retail development side, Signal Hill has been absolutely kicking our behinds.
I don't know if their superior performance is due to something in the water or the fact that they lord over Long Beach at a higher elevation. I simply donít care. What they are doing seems to work while Long Beach flops around like a fish on a dock.
Yes, I realize this is an audacious proposal, but let's not forget that it's our Mayor, City Council and City Manager who have embraced outsourcing. They've outsourced city services such as street light maintenance, graffiti removal and park maintenance. They recently voted to proceed with a study on possibly privatizing police towing and lien sales.
They've stated in open session and in print that if outside vendors can deliver the same or enhanced levels of service at a lower cost. we should seriously consider outsourcing. Perhaps Long Beach, which spends almost $5 million on the Mayor and City Council, could save money by hiring Signal Hill as they provide better results on a budget just a few pennies over $300,000.
Signal Hill's elected officials, who oversee 2.2 square miles and a little over 11,000 residents, have transformed what was a grimy oil patch with more bars than stores (with Kid Mexico being its most noteworthy past resident) into a retail mecca with balanced budgets and terrific public safety.
With foresight, its City Manager and City Council created a vision and a master plan...and over twenty years completely transformed their city. Instead of inappropriately spending RDA money to prop up their General Fund, Signal Hill's RDA with steely determination actually eliminated blight.
Signal Hill took almost all of LBís new car dealers and created a vibrant auto mall that has annual sales of over $200 million with over $2 million in sales tax revenue. It brought in not one but two Home Depots (the last one without any city subsidy) with annual sales of over $450 million plus one Costco with sales of over $100 million.
Oh, and they also attracted Target to locate on an old oil well site adjacent to California Heights.
And while they were at it they covered their ragged hill sides with luxury housing and acres of beautiful parks.
Oh, and by the way Signal Hill's Mayor (not separately elected, chosen from among Councilmembers) and Council actually seem to like each other. They display civility and respect for each other during their council meetings.
Need more? Well, most of the Signal Hill Council members have been serving for years and donít seem all that interested in abandoning their city for higher office.
But can they handle the additional work load? I think so, as they don't appear to be overworked since each of the five Council members represents only about 2,200 residents (Each Long Beach councilmember represents about 50,000 residents) so constituent demands shouldn't be overly burdensome. If they found the work to be too much they could always hire a few extra staff to handle the additional work load.
Oops, I almost forgot that Signal Hill has at least 34 sworn police officers for a 2.2 mile square city with only 11,016 residents (that's over 3.0 officers per thousand residents, when LB doesn't even provide its taxpayers with 2.0 officers per thousand population).
Signal Hill also modified their pensions before LB did, instituted a freeze on pay increases and had the good sense to comply with federal law and keep marijuana collectives out of their city...and they continue to expand their retail and residential base in order to ensure their financial future...
So letís get busy and have LB Financial Managament Director John Gross begin a Prop L study on outsourcing our Mayoral and Council functions to Signal Hill...so we can stop that can (that Long Beach city officials have been kicking for so long) from rolling further down the road.
Previously on LBReport.com: Common Sense by Terry Jensen (continuing series):
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