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Council Votes 7-0 (Austin Absent, Gonzalez Absent/Exiting Prior To Vote) To Approve Kitten Nursery With Contractual Gag Order On Negative Social Network Or Other Public Statements By Two Groups Paid To Run It 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.
(Jan. 9, 2019, 1:00 p.m., clarifier added Jan. 10, 1:40 p.m.) -- As carried LIVE on and reported in summary form on our front page and Facebook platform, the City Council voted 7-0 (Austin absent, Gonzalez absent [was present via teleconference from Sacramento, left prior to vote) on Jan. 8 to approve a kitten nursery with a contractual gag order on negative social network or other public statements by the two groups paid $50,000 to operate the new facility in a Cal Hts area location. considers the gag order issue significant beyond animal advocacy matters and has compiled a transcript of salient Council statements along with on-demand audio of the entire including the city staff presentation (Ted Stevens), public testimony and response from City Council and Mayor Garcia at this link click here. (11:40)

An agendizing memo signed by Parks, Rec & Marine Director Gerardo Mouet indicated the proposed contract with Helen Sanders Cat Protection and Welfare Society, of Boulder, CO and The Little Lion Foundation, of Long Beach, CA (which would operate jointly under the title "Long Beach Little Paws Project (LBLPP)") would include the following term:

Publicity: Where possible, LBACS will assist LBLPP with the promotion, marketing, adoption, and placement of kittens once they are suitable for adoption. CatPAWS, LLF and jointly as LBLPP, and LBACS, will not use the other party's name, marks or logos in any advertising, promotional material, press release, publication, public announcements, or through other media, whether written or oral, without the prior written consent of the other parties. Additionally, no one affiliated, staff or volunteer, with any party in this agreement will engage in negative verbal behavior or written posting towards another party on social media or other online or public venues or make negative, defamatory or inciting remarks about another party in this agreement. LBACS and LBLPP will jointly review any perceived negative behavior and/or written posting to come to a mutually agreeable resolution. If the violation cannot be resolved in an agreeable manner, then the violation may be grounds for Notice of Cancellation of the agreement. LBACS reserves the right to determine, at its sole discretion, what is negative verbal or written posting behavior.

[Scroll down for further.]

No Kill Long Beach founder Patricia Turner, PhD and supporters of No Kill Long Beach (NKLB) supported establishment of the kitten nursery. Dr. Turner said it's the type of community partnership that NKLB has advocated as part of the "No Kill Equation" for roughly six years.

However Dr. Turner and NKLB supporters Alex Armstrong and Kristi Mamelli opposed inclusion of a contractual "gag order" (text below). Dr. Tuner noted that a number of her criticisms of LB Animal Care Services over the past six years that have been vindicated by the City Auditor's performance audit of LBACS. She said Mayor Garcia had hidden peoples' social network posts during the last election cycle, said she'd dedicated nearly all her free time to help change LB's animal shelter, and said people on the Council [whom she didn't name] had threatened to sue her for saying things that Dr. Turner said were true.

"Thank you very much, next speaker please," Mayor Garcia said in response. Mr. Armstrong and Ms. Mamelli then spoke against inclusion of the contractual gag order.

[Jan. 10 clarifier] Deborah Felin, a supporter of the Helen Sanders non-profit, tells that expenses mainly toward spay neuter will far outstrip any city contribution. Ms. Felin adds that if the group does manage to take in 500 kitttens, that's $100 a cat and barely pays for spay neuter and vaccinations, and plus dealing with ill kittens and food, rent and utilities. [end Jan. 10 clarifier]



When the item returned for Council discussion, Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce voiced concern about the gag order text, which prompted colloquy in an unofficial transcript prepared for our readers by

Councilwoman Pearce:...I know that there's been some tense moments over the last couple of years and I know that some of the concern has been around false information. Is there a way that we could amend this to make sure that, you know, that people can share accurate information around accurate numbers at our shelters? It does seem vague and I'm just wondering if there was a way to tighten up the language.

City Attorney Parkin: Certainly. We could change the language or rework the language. It obviously would have to be agreed to by both parties in order to do something like that but this language was put in at the request of the Department. We could certainly change it any direction that Council would like...

Councilwoman Peace: It seems like a poor direction for us as a Council to just put something that says up to one party's discretion that we could put that into any agreement in any Department...but if there were a way to make it specific, to make sure that people are talking about truth that happens in our shelters and I know that's difficult to prove...I would just love to see it where we could get a little bit more comfortable with it.

Councilwoman Mungo: ...I'm glad that you brought that up. We started these dialogues with the staff. Currently anything that is factually based they can post, whether it is negative or not as long as it's fact based. I think that the root of it is more the name calling, antagonizing, misinformation or inappropriate or harassing things towards our staffmembers...Is this the same clause as in the volunteer agreement?

Ted Stevens: I believe so.

Councilwoman Mungo: And from my understanding both of the fosters that are involved have no issue with it. And they also believe that they have many other methods to be able to say anything they want. Was that accurate, Mr. Stevens?

Ted Stevens: Yes, the two groups were...

Councilwoman Mungo: They were totally fine with it. And I don't want to delay the ability to have the agreement with them, because we're getting a ton of little kittens at the shelter at this time. And so the appreciate you guys taking the time to inform me. I actually met with the Department head for Parks & Rec as well so I'm just glad we're going to have the opportunity to save these little kittens.

Councilwoman Pearce: ...I know that it's gonna come back in a year, so I would ask that it could maybe come back maybe in 9 months for us to see how successful the program is? That would be helpful.

Mayor Garcia: OK so we're going to get an update in 9 months...

Councilwoman Mungo: Via a "to-from-for" [non-agendized management memo to electeds] Would that be OK?

Councilwoman Peace: That would be fine.

( provides on-demand audio of the full item at this at this link. (11:40) (first speaker is outgoing LBACS manager Ted Stevens)


With no other Councilmembers raising concerns about the gag order text, the Council vote followed. The motion to approve (made at the start of the item) was by Mungo, seconded by Pearce. The Council vote was 7-0 (Austin absent, Gonzalez present via teleconference earlier, not present on Council vote.)



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