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    Council Meeting Mum On Schipske's Blog Re DC Visit

    (April 3, 2007) -- At the April 3 City Council meeting, Councilmembers made no comments following-up on an internet blog posting by 5th district Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, and responsive comments of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's office (R., HB-LB-PV), regarding last week's Washington, D.C. visit by the three members of the Council's Federal legislation Committee (DeLong, Gabelich and Schipske).

    Councilwoman Gabelich commented briefly that Councilmembers with the opportunity travel to Washington, D.C. to adviocate the city's interests should do so. Councilwoman Schipske said nothing. Councilan DeLong said nothing.

    The Council voted to "receive and file" (take no action on) a memo listing the Councilmembers' contacts and general topics during their trip.

    On March 29, Councilwoman Schipske's blog posted a report ("What We Did In DC") describes a meegting with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R., HB-LB-PV). Parts of her account were denied/disputed by Congressman Rohrabacher's chief of staff who attended the meeting; Councilwoman Schipske stands by her account of what happened. She wrote in pertinent part in her blog:

    [We met with] Congressman Dana Rohrabacher regarding: LA River dredging; Los Cerritos Wetlands; breakwater study and the interoperability radio communications. Congressman Rohrabacher reminded the City Councilmembers that he only represents 12% of Long Beach so we shouldn’t expect him to be “carrying our water.” He opposes restoration and preservation of the wetlands and suggested we pave them over and put affordable housing on them instead of doing one more thing to help the birds who doing nothing more than “s…t in the water and leave their feathers in the water.” As to the breakwater study — he does not support using federal funds unless we want to take the money out of dredging the LA River (even though they are appropriated under different sources of funds).

    Congressman Rohrabacher's chief of staff offered this counter-account of what took place:

    Cong. Rohrabacher indicated he knows our district is blessed with the wetlands but he's not going to support using federal funds to buy more wetlands. He said he'd support having the Ports use mitigation credits for this purpose. He supported doing this at Bolsa Chica. He would like to see the results of tests with regard to the newly dug channel [letting sea water into Bolsa Chica] because he suspects bird excrement may cause problems for people in the area; when one finds e-coli [excrement bacterium] now we often don't know from where it comes.

    Cong. Rohrabacher doesn't oppose restoring and preserving the wetlands...and he didn't say they should be paved over. He said Long Beach should look at areas near the wetlands as areas that may be suitable for new housing. He didn't say it should necessarily be affordable housing. He said building new housing tends to make all housing more affordable.

    And as to not expecting him to "carry water" for LB, Congressman Rohrbacher will certainly be helping LB while keeping it in proportion with his district. His district includes 20% of Long Beach (not 12% as Schipske said); Long Beach is roughly 12% of Congressman Rohrabacher's district. He's not saying he won't help Long Beach. He's put in earmarked requests for Long Beach and he'll continue to advocate for Long Beach interests.

    Cong. Rohrabacher doesn't support additional federal funds to study possible removal or reduction of the breakwater. If Long Beach wants that federal study, it should come from other federal funds for the city, not necessarily out of L.A. river funds.

    Commenting for in connection with our prior coverage, Councilman DeLong summarized the Congressman's wetlands/housing stance as: "He supports creating housing and preserving habitat."

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