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City Mgm't Memo Signals March Council Item With "Next Steps Needed To Move" LB Animal Care Services "Progressively Forward To Deliver" Live Release Rates "In 90 Percentile For Dogs And Cats"; Will Propose To Strengthen Partnerships With With SPCA-LA, Rescue Groups And Volunteers is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(Feb 21, 2019) -- A February 19 memo from Parks/Rec Dir. Gerardo Mouet to City Manager Pat West for the Mayor and City Council indicates that Parks/Rec Dept. plans to present a "receive and file" City Council item in March (no voted action planned, although Councilmembers decide otherwise) regarding LB's Animal Care Services bureau. The memo indicates the management will "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."

The memo comes after weeks of continual verbal pounding by the public at the City Council meetings from supporters of No Kill Long Beach (who advocate practices the group says will maximize adoptions and minimize killings.) The City Auditor (who is nominally independent but whose salary (now $200,000+) is recommended annually by the Mayor and decided by City Council budget votes) declined to publicly credit No Kill Long Beach in her office's performance audit last year of Animal Care Services, although it effectively confirmed a number issues raise by No Kill Long Beach for several years.

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Mayor Garcia responded to the Audit's findings by creating an "Animal Care Visioning Task Force" that conspicuously excluded leaders and outspoken supporters of No Kill LB (after NKLB, which supported Garcia's Mayoral run in 2014, publicly criticized his record and declined to support him in 2018.) The Mayor's Task Force meeting agenda items have been set, and its meetings effectively run, buy city management. They meetings are open to the public but don't comply with Brown (open meetings) Act requirements (which the Mayor avoided by creating the "Task Force" himself without Council voted action.)



In recent months, supporters of NKLB have repeatedly sought a management explanation/clarification/discussion/examination/reconsideration of (and some have advocated 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 and offered animals it's chosen for adoption immediately adjacent to LB's City-run animal shelter in ELB.


For weeks, groups of grassroots no-kill-adovocates have come to Council meetings, sometimes waiting for hours to speak for three minutes during the period for public comments on non-agendized items. Their comments are frequently critical of Mayor Garcia, Councilmembers, city management (or all of them) for, the no-kill advocates charge, failing to move more quickly to implement changes recommended in the City Auditor's audit. 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 the Mayor's speech was over, they criticized him for contending 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, at the Feb. 19 Council meeting, Mayor Garcia responded to their remarks by stating that the types of issues raised by public speakers regarding Animal Care Services issues would be discussed in a forthcoming March agenda item.




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