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|(June 6, 2020, 8:20 p.m.) -- LB's "Citizen Police Complaint Commission" was created by text put on the ballot by the City Council. The 1990 Council-approved text handed to voters included a provision that ensured the resulting CPCC wouldn't have the power to hold officers or LBPD management accountable if city management didn't want to hold them accountable.
Section 1158, now part of the LB City Charter, states in pertinent part:
The Commission shall have the following powers and duties:
The City Manager legally answers to a Council majority (which can fire him at will.) A City Manager (who values the job) won't do what a Council majority doesn't want done. LB's Mayor and Council majority were elected and re-elected with campaign contributions from LB's police officers union.
As a result, LB's Mayor and Council majority and city management have understandable incentives to offer the public sham tweaks instead of substantively meaningful changes to the status quo. That's why this is the time for scrutiny, not blind trust in what some Council incumbents may offer the public.
Twice within the past two years, Mayor Robert Garcia (backed by contributions from LB's police officers union) proposed Charter Amendments put on the ballot by all nine Council incumbents (nearly all of whom were backed by contributions from LB's police officers union). On both occasions, they could have put forward a Charter Amendment to fix LB's broken CPCC (June 2018, when they proposed the Measure M utility revenue transfer and Nov. 2018 when they proposed Measures AAA, BBB, CCC, DDD). On both occasions, they failed to do so.
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Now, as reported by LBREPORT.com here, four Council incumbents (Richardson, Pearce, Austin and Andrews) have agendized what they label a "Framework for Reconciliation" that includes a potential ballot measure (with zero transparency on its proposed terns) and "Reforms to modernize the Citizen Police Complaint Commission to strengthen independence, transparency, and oversight" (with zero transparency on what it actually proposes.)
Two of the item's co-agendizers, Andrews and Austin, are in November 2020 runoffs (assisted by anti-reform Measure BBB they put on the Nov. 2018 ballot that erased a former write-in requirement for their third-term initial March 2020 elections.) They're both backed by Mayor Garcia and by the LB Police Officers Ass'n PAC.
Lead co-agendizer Richardson backs Austin's runoff opponent, Suely Saro. She's backed by organized labor and was a member of the CPCC during which she didn't publicly call for change despite the body's now-acknowledged ineffectiveness.
And LBPD's actions in an infamous fracas involving Council incumbent Pearce and her former chief of staff left some dissatisfied with how LBPD dealt with a then-City Hall VIP (now a political lame duck.)
For these reasons, it would be a major blunder to childishly trust Council incumbents (and a candidate seeking to join them) to put something on the ballot that city management (which serves the incumbents) and the LB police officers union (which helped elect the incumbents) don't want on the ballot.
LB will squander the current opportunity for change if LB residents accept a sham ballot measure that tweaks instead of genuinely changes the status quo. Until the incumbents show the public what they have in mind, it's impossible to know if they propose meaningful change or verbiage effectively allowing 30 more years of what the City allows now.
When Mayor Garcia proposed a sham redistricting Charter Amendment, LB's Cambodian-American community -- much to its credit -- spoke out against it. Faced with their publicly stated opposition, Garcia caved and the measure was rewritten. Learn from this.
LB voters deserve specifics. In our opinion, the Mayor and LB's Council incumbents (and a former CPCC member who wants to join them) have the burden of proof at this point in showing they propose meaningful change.
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