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NLB Resident Files Claim For Damages Against City of LB, Alleging Violation of Her Rights by the City, Councilman Shultz & City Mgr. Taboada In Actions Surrounding July 4th Block Party

(July 23, 2001) -- LB resident Kimberly Rualo has filed a claim for damages against the City of LB, alleging violation of her rights by the City, Councilman Jerry Shultz and City Manager Henry Taboada in actions surrounding a July 4th block party in her NLB neighborhood.

Ms. Rualo included a detailed, typed letter. We reproduce pertinent portions of the letter, below. (Ellipses indicating deletions; bracketed material by us for clarity).

Begin text:

I write to you today as a result of my individual and civil rights being violated by the City of Long Beach California, Long Beach City Councilman Jerry Shultz and City Manager Henry Taboada.

This all started when I attempted to move in to my current October, 2000. The block was having a block party and the street was barricaded. I attempted to move a barrier so that I could drive my rental truck to my new home and unload my furniture. My Landlady was with me on this day to ensure I had access to the home. At that time, we were approached by block resident Debbie Castillo. She advised me, as witnessed by my Landlady, that I was not allowed on the block until after 10:00 p.m. that evening and that if I parked on the street prior to this time, the police would tow my truck away. I was then forced to drive through the narrow alley behind my home and unload my truck in to my garage and then move my furniture once again in to my home. I decided once I was settled in to my home and my children in their school, that I would contact the City of Long Beach to inquire on my rights as a resident to entering the property during a block party. I contacted the city in early May 2000 and was informed I must put my concerns in writing and fax it to the City of Long Beach, which I did.

I was next contacted by the city when [the applicant for the block party] filed her petition for the July 4, 2001, block party. I had refused to sign the petition for the block party and...[t]he city had called for verification since I had a letter on file with them. It was then that I was informed by the city that since a single resident's refusal to sign the petition for the block party would result in the permit being denied by the City of Long Beach not me in my letter I said I wanted them to have the party I just chose not to be a part of it that was my individual right...The city denied the permit not me. This is when the harassment against my family and me began I'm afraid for my families safety.

The permit denial was blamed on me, as a single resident, even though others had also refused to sign. This has brought havoc to my family and my life. My children, husband and I have been harassed repeated by the media, our neighbors who were given only my name and address and City Councilman Jerry Shultz, who with out meeting or speaking with me, defamed me publicly by making derogatory comments against my character and labelling me with insulting names. Without benefit of hearing all the facts, Mr. Shultz and City Manager, Henry Taboada, overturned the cities permit denial and allowed the block party to proceed. They went against a 10-year city code that requires all residents who homes encompass the area of a street to be blocked off for a party, to sign a petition before the city will allow a permit to be issued.

This single councilman, and City Manager representing the City of Long Beach, have taken away my rights as a citizen; have defamed me publicly in the media and with my neighbors. Mr. Shultz is supposed to be a city and civic leader representing all citizens of the City of Long Beach. He is a Los Angeles Sheriff Officer. He has never spoken to me personally nor ever met me personally. What right does he have to judge me? I am literally sick to my stomach with all that has happened to my family me since my refusal to sign that petition. Other older children on the block have bullied my children, a daughter, 10 and a son, 7. My husband, who is of Filipino descent, was approached by a neighbor and told to go back where he came from. How can this lone City Councilman, Jerry Shultz, get away with taking the law into his own hands?...I want to fight for my rights, my children's rights. I feel, in part, it was the pigment of my skin and not the law that he felt was not right. And this is why I must not stand by idly and allow him to get away with it. This has to stop...I grew up just around the corner where I attended Hamilton Jr. High and Long Beach Jordan. I find it disconcerting that the press only prints what makes good copy.

As for Jerry assume that I was not at home when the event started is false information...I was home until about 4:30 p.m. I left because after the harassment my family and I received the day before, I became sick to my stomach and my parents and husband insisted I leave the house. ...

The section of the claim form asking for the total amount of the claim (including estimated amount of any prospective injury or damage) says "Highest legal." The section of the form asking how the amount of the claim was computed says, "I want Justice."

Notice of Ms. Rualo's claim (filed July 18) appeared on the City Council's July 24 agenda as part of the City Clerk's routine weekly list of claims filed against the city. The City Council invariably votes as part of its "consent calendar" to refer the list of claims to the City Attorney's office for handling.

If the City Attorney's office denies a claim, a claimant may choose to file a lawsuit against the city.

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