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    News in Depth

    Read What City Hall-Hired Political Consultants Advised, And Councilmembers & Candidates Said, To Putting Parcel Property Tax Increase & Sales Tax Increase On LB Ballots in '06; First Council Action Could Come In Early Jan. 06

    (December 22, 2005) -- posts below materials and extended transcript excerpts related to a December 20, 2005 City Council study session agendized five days before Christmas to hear political consulting firms, hired by City Hall recommend ways to raise LB taxes.

    The polling and ballot strategy firms, hired at an $80,000 taxpayer cost to date by city management following a June 2005 voted Council request, advised the Council to put a property parcel tax increase (imposed on residential property owners, but not commercial or industrial property) on the April 2006 LB city ballot (roughly $4 million for libraries) and a 1/2 cent sales tax increase on the November 2006 ballot ($23 million for police).

    The City Hall-hired firms presented parts of a survey conducted by one of the firms portraying strong public support for such tax increases. However, while it is not unusual for non-advocacy polls to release a complete list of polling questions and pollsters' script, city management (the firms' client) did not do so. and a Press-Telegram reporter both requested this information at a Dec. 20 media briefing; to date, city management has not released this information to

    The measure's proposed text also wasn't released publicly, although statements by city management indicate work has already been done in this area as well. Deputy City Manager Suzanne Mason indicated that management envisions the library measure "would be assessed for single family and condo residential units and there would be a graduated tax for multiple units at perhaps $70 for multiple units up to four units and $100 over four units. A measure structured in that way could generate about $4 million. Commercial and industrial parcels would not be included unless they included residential units on the property."

    Ms. Mason also said that management had conducted a formal RFP process to select the polling firm and associated ballot strategy firm. has informally requested copies of the RFPs and related correspondence, but has not received a response. will be making a Freedom of Information (CA Public Records Act) request for these and other related materials not disclosed to taxpayers by City Hall. posts below salient comments by incumbent Councilmembers and Council candidates vying for seats in the April 2006 election.

    To put the property parcel tax increase on the April 2006 ballot would require a "yes" vote by five of nine Councilmembers on or before January 13. The Council has only two regularly scheduled Council days (Jan. 3 or 10) at which to do so.

    Elsewhere in the presentation, the ballot strategist indicated her firm had been working closely with the City Attorney on the process.

    City management released to on request a pdf of the Point-Point presented at the Council study session. We post it in its entirety. We also post the City Hall-hired polling firm's summary self-description of its results and the text of a City Hall press release describing the event.

    The Council study session opened with a presentation by Deputy City Manager Suzanne Mason, who stated in pertinent part:

    ...As you will recall, on June 21 [2005], the City Council directed the City Manager to conduct further research and recommend future revenue generating ballot initiatives. As a result of that directive, [City Hall] put forward a Request for Proposals...Most of the proposals combined a research-public opinion firm with a ballot strategist and did a combined proposal...[T]he Lew Edwards Group and Fairbanks, Maslin, Maullin and Associates were selected.

    Both firms have worked in partnership to pass a combined total of $30 billion in California finance measures with a 90% success rate. The team has won 100% of the municipal measures that they have advised and attempted. Examples of clients including City of San Luis Obispo, the City of Escondito, the City of Visalia and the City of Lawndale.

    Based upon their extensive experience and the request of the City Council, these two advisors developed two community surveys designed to provide insight to community priorities and public support for possible future ballot initiatives.

    ...Catherine Lew is an expert ballot initiative consultant, specializing in California measures. She is a veteran of over 400 campaigns and is frequently sought after as trainer and lecturer for organizations such as the League of California Cities, the California Teachers Association, the California Woman's Political Summit and the California Democratic Party. Catherine has a law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law and is a member of the California State Bar.

    Richard Maullin is an expert in public opinion research and has served local, regional, state, national and international clients...Dr. Maullin has a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA...

    Click on hyperlink index below to jump to document or text section:

    Hyperlink/Quick Jump Index


    Extended Transcript Excerpts [unofficial, prepared by us]

    Salient excerpts of presentations by City Hall-hired political consultants

    Ms. Lew: ...It is the recommendation of our team that the Mayor and Council consider...proceeding with planning for a library parcel tax measure for 2006. We would also recommend simultaneous to that that you undertake planning for a public safety sales tax measure at a 2/3 requirement measure level for November 06. It is our concurrence that your constitutents, as they have expressed their viewpoints to us through the public opinion research, will support both of these measure, provided that they are properly planned for and sequenced...

    ...Your constituents, as they have expressed themselves in this research, have indicated that library services are a very high priority. As a strategist and advisor specializing in these types of campaigns, I can say that this is an opportunity that exists today and may or may not exist in several months or a year from now...

    ...[A]re we recommending that we address the issue of public safety? Absolutely. That is the second and equally important component of our recommendation because it is evident that your constituents feel very strongly with 90% saying that crime and safety are priorities, that we should proceed with planning for a funding measure in that regard. However, at this particular moment in time, and because of the unique and diverse nature of your constituents, neighborhoods, Council and planning districts, it appears that additional time is needed to truly engage in a grassroots driven, community empowered, engagement process whereby all of the diverse attitudes, feelings and different needs can be accurately and robustly reflected in a strong, comprehensive public safety plan. And certainly that type of heavy lifting, that type of planning, that type of community engagement process takes time.

    Finally, the key question: is your recommendation to put two measures on the ballot, in effect jeopardizing one, the other or both possible measures? I can say simply that in the research we've done so far, we have determined that there is viability for both measures, and in fact we are providing you with our best advice and judgment based on an unblemished professional track record of success in other municipalities. If we, in our professional judgment, felt that putting two measures on the ballot in the manner that we're suggesting would place the city and its constituents at risk, we would certainly not recommend doing so....

    ...[L]et us review together the time-line...Depending on the outcome of discussions today, the team will deploy itself as appropriate to research and prepare any final ballot documents for the library measure should the Council give us an indication that you wish to go in this direction. Due to election time tables...the Council must take action to place a measure on the ballot in the second week of January should you opt for an April 06 measure for the library parcel tax. At that point, the community stakeholders, many of whom are represented here today, would engage in actual deployment of the partisan campaign.

    At the same time, we are recommending that the city take the window of time between February through the first week of August to engage in your pre-election planning process and public engagement program for the public safety measure, and that we envision to be a very robust, comprehensive and proactive neighborhood by neighborhood engagement process, of soliciting community opinion and reflecting that opinion in your ultimate expenditure plan. The deadline for placing such a measure on the ballot would then be in the first week of August...

    Deputy City Manager Mason:...Working with the City Clerk, the estimate cost of placing that [library parcel tax] on the ballot would be approximately $80,000 for printing of materials, and that cost has already been included in the election budget...A library measure...the $35 parcel tax would be assessed for single family and condo residential units and there would be a graduated tax for multiple units at perhaps $70 for multiple units up to four units and $100 over four units. A measure structured in that way could generate about $4 million. Commercial and industrial parcels would not be included unless they included residential units on the property.

    If the Council were to consider a public safety measure for the November 2006 ballot, Council action for consolidation with the County of L.A.'s ballot would be needed by August 11, so Council action would be required by the Council meeting of August 8 or before, and staff could soon come back to you with a series of recommended steps to take place as outlined by Ms. Lew including community input meetings and various community dialogues to gain consensus on exactly what that measure might look like and where funds might be allocated in that process...

    Salient statements by City Councilmembers and colloquy with political consultants

    Councilman Dan Baker: ...I have been very reluctant to consider funding measures other than those moving toward public safety since that is the number one concern of our residents...I understand that a huge majority of our residents are in favor of moving forward on an item like this and would potentially vote for it, and I think that decision is best left to our voters and would be happy to support putting that on the ballot to move forward with one key provision:...the impact on the second potential ballot initiative, that for public safety funding. And as important as libraries are, they are not in the Top 12. All those Top 12 important issues before our residents are public safety...

    Ms. Lew: ...[T]he findings as they relate to the library parcel tax measure were, despite my experience, astounding from the standpoint of the intensity of support. In the [power point] slide that Dr. Maullin reviewed, he indicated that overall support was in the low-70s, 70-73%. However as a strategist, I look at the dark blue bar, the very strong level of intensity. Here, the very strong level of intensity was in the low 50-percentiles. As a strategist, I say that it's feasible to go forward with a 2/3 requirement election if that level of intensity is in the low-40's. So what we are seeing is a full 10-percentage point, which is extremely significant, higher level of intensity among your constituents in terms of their support for this library parcel tax than we've seen in most other types of finance measures. That's one thing that's very unique to Long Beach.

    As to the issue of the public safety sales tax measure and its probability of success in November of 06, I felt very strongly because of the very high level of interest and concern that we've seen among your constituents that a high turnout, more greater participatory election would be ideal for this type of measure. Such an election, as would occur with a Gubernatorial election, would lend itself well to a measure like this one.

    Several months will have passed allowing the community to digest all the recent developments for the ballots of 06 prior to this measure. Many of the types of measures that we do are on high turnout elections, where that measure in fact appears towards the bottom of the ballot and following other state measures as well. We've found that in those cases where City Councils such as this one act to deploy itself on a strong community engagement process, where groundwork and opinions are solicited months in advance of an election, that constituents will in fact rally around that safety measure, particularly if they have tangible and documented input towards the formation of an expenditure plan. I won't mislead you in any way. None of us have crystal balls. And I certainly would not suggest that I or anyone else on our team has a crystal ball. I can only say that it is our best judgment that it would be prudent for the city to proceed in this manner and that doing so is a rare, unique and empowering opportunity that should carefully be considered.

    Councilman Baker: ...There's no doubt in my mind this is a very popular issue, you've proven that and the ocean of people who show up every time we discuss libraries proves that to me, so I am supportive of moving forward and no doubt in my mind it'll pass in April should we put this on the ballot, but I really do hope that we move forward on that Step 2 and make sure that the public safety measure gets its due course as well.

    Vice Mayor/Councilwoman Jackie Kell: ...The following cities had a library assessment tax which passed. It passed in Berkeley by 87%; it passed in Oakland by more than 77%; in Sacramento it passed by 72+%;...and even in Oakland, they raised their parcel tax from $36 a parcel to $75 a parcel and it still passed. That's pretty darn good...So I think because of the interest on the part of so many people in Long Beach, and what this survey said, I certainly would vote to put the library parcel tax on the April ballot. And I want people out there to remember: this Council isn't passing the tax. This Council is giving our constituents the time and place to pass this tax. So if the community will respond to this measure that we put on the ballot, and it's been so successful in other cities, and I know so many of you out there are hoping it'll be on the ballot and hoping it'll pass and it looks like...there'll be a very good chance that it will.

    Councilwoman Laura Richardson: ...I'm fully supportive of a public safety measure. I'm still open to understanding the impacts of a library measure, and if we weren't able to do a library measure, I'm definitely committed to how do we resolve the $1.8 [million in recent Council approved library budget cuts] that have I do think we need to have adequate library services, I'm just very concerned of the impact on public safety...

    Councilman Lerch: ...I'm concerned again about the impact of the library services initiative towards the November police [measure]...I'm concerned about the impact of an April ballot measure and then coming back and asking for more money. The second thing I'm concerned about is a half cent sales tax. I'm telling you right now that in my opinion that if we have a half cent sales tax it's going to have a direct impact on the rest of our revenue...[W]e don't live in a vacuum here in Long Beach and we are surrounded by cities that people just go across the border and most of the people in North Long Beach do that now...

    Ms. Lew: ...We're happy to provide city staff with a list of the other jurisdictions in which we've passed sales taxes so that the city staff may contact them prior to the next meeting to determine what effect, if any, their successful sales taxes had on the support for local businesses. Anecdotally, I can tell you, having stayed in touch with those other jurisdictions that there's been no negative impact on that score that anyone has had...Everyone stayed loyal to the local stores and the sales tax in the other jurisdictions has become a much appreciated and stable and growing source of funding for those cities.

    Councilwoman Reyes Uranga: ...I think we need to go for it in April, but between April and November, the real reason, or some of the reasons for the because we need time to organize. I think Eleanor has done a tremendous job with the community...For one year she has been preparing the community, organizing, having meetings, educating, talking to people, out in the field. I have a couple of very strong advocates in my district...and to ignore that community organization, community input and community input and community education would be pretty stupid on our part. What we do need on public safety though is that same type of effort...

    Councilwoman Rae Gabelich: ...I do not want to lose the opportunity to fund our police at the level that we know we need to demand to. The police levels have eroded as well from recommendations that were made back in the mid-1990s. And I believe that our police numbers should be based on our population, our growth and our diversity and our desire to raise the quality of life for safe passage to libraries and to our schools and life in general should be our first and our primary effort and I think there's no doubt that the library tax would pass in April but I would not want to do that and be jeopardizing in any way our public safety opportunities...

    Council candidate comments in response

    5th district

    Gerrie Schipske: Libraries are essential for the quality of our neighborhoods. I chose to buy a house directly across the street from El Dorado Library so my children could have access to it. But I think the Council is blackmailing the voters of this city to support their deficit spending habit by saying that unless there can be an additional assessment on property owners to pay for libraries they will continue to cut them.

    I think the Council should be ashamed of itself to propose that the voters of Long Beach should be further assessed or taxed to pay for basic local government services such as libraries and police. This is a shear failure of policymakers to not only heed what the voters said in 1978 with the passage of Prop 13 and what they continued to say by voting to lower the utility users tax several years ago.

    Let the City Council cut their own council budgets first. $4.3 million was budgeted this year for the Mayor and City Council. Why are we paying for termed out elected officials to travel out of state? Why are some council members spending $400,000 for their offices?

    Did the polling done by the City include questions of whether or not to cut city and mayor spending? Did the polling include questions of whether or not the city should consolidate several city departments in order to reduce duplication of equipment and personnel? Did the polling include questions about changing the city charter to require that pensions be fully funded each budget year before they are promised?

    I have developed a list of 9 Budget Efficiencies the City Council can put into place to reduce the deficit and get this city back to the basics of providing essential governmental services at the appropriate levels. We need to tighten city hall's belt before we look to ask property owners to spend more of their hard earned money.

    Pat Steinhauser: I would only support the increase for police services. Libraries could be founded through private donations.

    Ed Barwick: There was a time in our city that for tax increases to be legitimate; they had to be proposed by responsible officeholders who held the publicís trust. Unfortunately, many of the current council members have lost that trust by creating a situation where itís the residents who are burdened by the councilís financial mismanagement. If money can be transferred from the TOT to create a housing trust fund, and council office budgets can increase year after year, then we clearly havenít done enough to cut waste and keep libraries open or add sorely needed police officers. I am opposed to the proposed parcel tax at this time and its placement on the ballot, and I am running as a candidate for council mainly to protect and give a voice to our cityís taxpayers.

    It doesnít surprise me that Jackie Kell is seemingly in support of higher taxes. Sadly, itís the same kind of mismanagement that led her to vote for ballooning pensions and outrageous spending that got us into this mess. Sheís just trying to cover up her tracks by supporting any tax increase that a consultant says has a chance to pass. She is not looking at what the real priorities are and how do we best meet these priorities.

    Dave Radford: Public and personal safety is the primary responsibility of city government. With a solid program of 'priority spending' we would not find ourselves in a position to seek the easy fix of taxation. Long Beach is over studied, and over consulted. Budget wise we need to pay first things first, second things second and so on. [priority spending] When we get to services that we cannot pay for we need to ask the people. To be in a position that police have to come "hat in hand" hoping for funds does not speak well of our planning abilities. City government always works best when it keeps the main thing the main thing.

    In regards to the Kell proposal, I believe that as or if the tax measures are put before the voter that they should be presented simultaneously so the voter can make a wider and wiser decision. Prior proper planing, budgetary discipline, and fewer studies could prevent new taxes. Libraries are important to a community, police protection is essential to a city. Raising taxes and spending is easy, budgetary discipline is not. Less consultants, less studies, less "travel" could have benefits when it come to the crunching decision of new taxes. So...if you were on the Council, would you vote to put a library parcel tax on the April 06 ballot, yes or no?

    Mr. Radford:: No. Too quick to make a sound judgement. Both tax proposals should be presented together in order that a comprehensive decision can be made.

    3d Council district

    Norm Ryan: The survey for police reaffirms what I have said for a long time: the public wants public safety enhanced. Why is the Council ignoring this by failing to fund public safety properly and holding libraries hostage? Why is City Hall forcing taxpayers to pay extra for items that taxpayers in better run cities receive now?

    Gary DeLong: It is unfortunate and disappointing that the City hired a political consultant to tell them they should raise taxes on Long Beach residents. As a member of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation Advisory Board, I understand the importance of restoring funding to our Library system. However, additional taxes are not the answer. Instead, the City should seek a balanced budget and alternative sources of revenue. Like the state of California, the city does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. The City needs to learn how to properly manage expenses instead of looking to increase taxes.

    While on the campaign trail, I have heard story after story from business owners about how difficult it is to do business in the City of Long Beach. It is regrettable that the City has a growing reputation for being "business unfriendly". If we would improve our business climate and cut the red tape, more businesses would be attracted to Long Beach. This could be one possible solution to increasing tax revenues, without having to levy new taxes on our residents.

    An immediate savings would be for the City to spend less money on political consultants. Especially, the firm that conducted the cityís poll, which brags on its website that it is responsible for 49 tax increases, and specializes in getting tax increases approved by voters. These political consultants were paid $80,000 of taxpayersí money to tell the city what it wanted to hear: raise taxes.

    The City has a history of misspending taxpayer funds, after which they attempt to increase taxes. Now, they want to do it by creating a parcel tax and increasing the cityís sales tax from 8.25% to 8.75%. If these taxes are approved, Long Beach residents will be forced to pay an additional tens of millions of dollars a year in taxes.

    Charles Legemann: At this time, I oppose increasing the sales tax for police staffing and increasing the property tax for the libraries.

    I understand the need for funds for hiring 300 new police officers, rebuilding the fire stations and maintaining our libraries. However, raising taxes should not always be the primary solution for increased funding. Creative thinking needs to be used to find alternative ways to raise these necessary funds or find offsetting savings in the City Budget.

    I would propose a Mello Roos bond on all new residential construction in the redevelopment districts to fund for police and fire expansion and maintenance. Traditionally Mello Roos bonds are used to build the infrastructure for new residential developments. The City of Long Beach already has the infrastructure in place for the new residential developments in the redevelopment areas. However, these new residential developments, when built out, could add as many as 20,000 new residents to the downtown area. These new residents will be putting a increased strain on our police and fire departments, so these developments should pay for the additional police and fire requirements.

    As for libraries, there should be an IRS code 501C3, Charitable Foundation established for the libraries that would allow residents and companies to make tax deductible donations that would provide for the needs of the library. My concern about an additional property tax is that the whole amount will not be delivered to the libraries. Some money will be lost to administration and if the city finds itself in a financial bind again in the future, the City Council could raid the money intended for libraries. By having donations made to a charitable foundation, that money would be used only for the libraries and not put to other city financial needs.

    I also have an additional thought on the police and fire budgets.

    The Port of Long Beach pays for 90% of the police services that the City of Long Beach provides in the port. The airport pays for 100% of the police services the City of Long Beach provides for the airport. Why does the port get such a sweetheart deal? The Port should pay not only for the police services at the port, they should be contributing to the general fund for additional police and fire services. When port customers come to the city on business I am sure they expect to be protected by our police and if they have a medical emergency they would expect to be helped by our fire department or lifeguards. It would be appropriate for the port to pay a minimum of 150% of the actual cost of the services they need, to ensure that the city is reimbursed for the services provided for port customers.

    Another concern is how quickly the City Council agreed to underwrite the Aquarium for the next three years through hotel bed tax revenues. The Aquarium needs to have a corporate sponsor. The City has a promotions department that should be out seeking such a sponsor. If there were a corporate sponsor, those hotel bed tax revenues could be used for police and fire services.

    7th Council district

    Alex Cherin: On the proposed parcel assessment to fund libraries:

    Library services are an essential function of any vibrant city and an irreplaceable community asset and I would not oppose, as a last resort, a modest property tax assessment to fund library services. I am disheartened, however, that the current council would ask the residents of Long Beach to serve as a surrogate for their own financial mismanagement. I am equally disheartened that in doing so the current council would seek a tax/fee alternative first, before exploring other budget cutting options such as eliminating the costly expense of consultants to perform jobs that our qualified and dedicated city staff can do and seeking ways to increase revenues from non-traditional sources such as the Port and oil revenues.

    The inexcusable shortage of library services for our children and cut-hours for the community at large is a result of the current council's fiscal mismanagement and asking local taxpayers to cover their previous mistakes should be a last resort. Until these other alternatives are explored and exhausted, I would oppose hastening a ballot measure in order to achieve what could be accomplished through other means.

    On the Public Safety initiative:

    I am certainly supportive of exploring any new and additional ways to increase funding for our first responders in order for Long Beach to attract and retain the best people - including a ballot measure to authorize a modest increase in the sales tax directly tied to increased funding for much needed police and fire personnell. Concurrently, however, we need to do our due diligence and look at alternate funding sources and elimination of wasteful spending to accomplish the same objectives.

    I also suggest, and have consistenlty advocated, that we look at amending the city charter to require the City to budget for police and fire first before all other programs. In order to have the funds to attract and retain the best police and fire personnel, we not only need to identify non-traditional revenue sources (such as the Port and oil revenues) and eliminate the high cost of consultants fees, but we also need to change the mechanisms by which police and fire are funded - either by charter amendment or ordinance that would mandate the budget process to begin with adequately funding first responders first.

    City Hall press release text (Dec. 20, 2005)

    A City Council authorized community survey, designed to measure public sentiment on possible revenue-generating ballot initiatives in Long Beach, was conducted this fall, and the findings indicate that voters in the City of Long Beach (City) recognize that the City needs additional funds to provide effective library and public safety services, and would be willing to approve increased taxes to support these efforts.

    The research into possible new revenue sources was part of the Cityís Financial Strategic Plan (Plan). The Plan, which was endorsed by the City Council in 2003 included a number of solutions to balance what at that time was a projected $102 million deficit in the Cityís General Fund. These solutions included both reductions in expenditures for City services as well as proposed new revenue sources, such as increases in fees charged to the public for services and higher investment returns on City assets. Over the past three years, implementation of the Plan has resulted in over 400 City positions being eliminated, efficiency gains in several key service areas, extensive reductions in equipment and support costs, and reduced City service levels. Consequently, the structural deficit in the General Fund was reduced by $92 million from $102 million to $10 million.

    As part of discussions conducted during April and May of 2005 to develop future Plan solutions, combined with continued and emergent public safety needs and the desire to restore core community services that were impacted through the Plan, the City Councilís Budget Oversight Committee researched on potential new revenue opportunities. This included surveys by City staff of other communities that had been successful in passing local ballot initiatives to fund core services. On June 21st, 2005 the City Council directed the City Manager to conduct further research of Long Beach residentsí opinions, and recommend revenue generating ballot initiatives in Long Beach as a means of addressing critical funding needs in areas including public safety, infrastructure, library services and youth programs.

    In response, the City selected the respected polling firm Fairbanks, Maslin, Maullin & Associates (FMMA). FMMA conducted two public opinion surveys to gauge voter opinions on potential ballot measures that would generate additional local funding for core City services. Findings from this research show that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of voters agree that the City needs more funding for essential local services, and 75 percent of voters agree that state budget cuts that reduce the money available for city services such as public safety is a serious problem.

    The surveys found that there is 73% support for a Long Beach Public Library Protection Measure to restore library operating hours, buy needed books, and expand after-school reading programs; and nearly two-thirds support for a Public Safety/Neighborhood Protection Measure to hire more police officers, expand neighborhood-based policing, and improve anti-gang programs.

    The first survey, conducted with 800 randomly selected respondents, found that 90 percent of all voters surveyed indicated that crime was a top issue of concern, and 65 percent would support increasing the local sales tax by one-half cent to generate additional revenue for public safety services. This is slightly short of the two-thirds majority vote needed to pass.

    "Long Beach needs more police on the street to expand neighborhood and school policing and improve safety," said Police Chief Anthony Batts. "I am very encouraged that Long Beach residents see that these are real needs and understand the urgency of meeting them. I look forward to an ongoing process of additional community outreach, engagement, and input on specific neighborhood safety priorities which will lead to the most fiscally responsible way to address these safety concerns."

    The second survey of an additional 600 randomly selected Long Beach respondents revealed that residents are extremely concerned that there has been a 20 to 30 percent reduction in the number of hours all Long Beach public libraries are open in recent years, and a 35 percent funding reduction in the City budget for buying needed books and library materials. Consequently, 73 percent of voters surveyed were supportive of a potential Long Beach Public Libraries Protection Measure.

    "Children and families need our libraries," said Eleanor Schmidt, Director of Library Services. "The residents of Long Beach clearly understand the important role the library plays in our community. Restoring library hours and providing the reading and after-school programs our young people need in order to learn is essential."

    At todayís [Dec. 20] Council Study Session, the Long Beach City Council will be hearing highlights of the results and discussing potential next steps.

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