|(Feb 27, 2019, 10:30 a.m.) -- LBREPORT.com has learned that Long Beach city management plans what amounts to structured Q & A but not "Town Hall" style public comment at a
Responding to LBREPORT.com's inquiry about the format for the upcoming event (
A City release indicates the event will include an introduction of a Mayor-chosen Animal Care Visioning Task Force (that will provide its own input on Animal Care Services operations and goals) and an introduction of the consulting firm JVR Shelter Strategies, LLD [presumably hired by city management], including Principal Consultant Dr. Jyothi V. Robertson, DVM "who will help guide the creation of the Long Beach Animal Care Services Strategic Plan."
The City's release says the workshop's purpose is "to engage the Long Beach community in LBACS's long-term vision and strategic direction, which will inform the strategic planning process. Comments about issues facing cats, dogs and other animals, the mission of LBACS, LBACS’s impact in the community, and planning for future LBACS operations and organization will be solicited."
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The meeting occurs in the context of weeks of verbal pounding by the public at City Council meetings from supporters of No Kill Long Beach (NKLB), which roughly six years ago began vocally urging the City to adopt practices the group says will increase adoptions and reduce killings. The emergence of NKLB and its willingness to advocate certain changes that city management and LB elected officials have thus far been unwilling to embrace has split LB's animal advocacy community, with some strongly supportive but others more inclined to favor positions acceptable to city management and LB's Mayor and Council.
NKLB endorsed Robert Garcia for Mayor in 2014 but has since criticized his record and declined to endorse his 2018 re-election. After LB's City Auditor issued a two-part "performance audit" of LBACS that echoed a number of NKLB criticisms (without acknowledging or crediting the group), Mayor Garcia created an "Animal Care Visioning Task Force" that didn't include NKLB leaders or its more prominent supporters.
The Mayor's "Task Force" meetings, while open to the public, don't meet the standards of CA's Brown (open meetings) Act (using a statutory loophole exploited by Mayor Garcia who didn't seek Council voted approval in creating his "Task Force.") LB's Parks/Rec Dir. Gerardo Mouet (who oversees LB Animal Care Services) has set or approved the Task Force's previous meeting agendas, basically conducted its previous meetings and recently chose its two co-chairs.
On January 15, 2019, supporters of NKLB held a demonstration outside the Convention Center's Terrace Theater -- standing in the rain -- while inside Mayor Garcia delivered his "State of the City" speech (after which NKLB supporters criticized the Mayor stating that adoptions were up in 2018 over 2017 when they were actually down.) Although Mayor Garcia and some Councilmembers sometimes leave the Council Chamber when no-kill advocates speak, Mayor Garcia responded to their remarks at the
Earlier that day, a February 19 memo from Parks/Rec Dir. Mouet to City Manager Pat West for the Mayor and City Council indicated that Parks/Rec Dept. plans to present a "receive and file" City Council item at some point in March at which management plans to [memo terms] "highlight key statistical animal service milestones," report on "special areas of accomplishments" called out in last year's City Auditor self-described performance audit, "showcase the progress" of a Mayor-chosen "Animal Care Visioning Task Force" and share an "update on the development of the Animal Care Services Strategic Plan."
The memo says its March presentation will include a description of "the next steps needed to move the Animal Care Services Bureau progressively forward to deliver outcomes of high live release rates in the 90 percentile for both dogs and cats." It adds "The information will also include the steps necessary to strengthen our partnerships with spca-LA, rescue groups and volunteers."
In recent months, supporters of NKLB have sought a city management explanation, and some have urged reconsideration or ending the City's relationship (since 2001) with SPCA-LA, arguing the City should fully control animal adoptions. Since 2001, SPCA-LA has occupied facilities immediately adjacent to LB's City-run animal shelter where it offers animals it selects for adoption.
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