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    Charter Amendment Committee Meeting Abruptly Cancelled, Tentatively Rescheduled to August 5:

  • Mayor Says It's Because Some Members Weren't Able To Attend on July 15

  • Obtains Letter Dated July 15 By Councilman Carroll To Mayor, CC'd To Council, Saying He Won't Be Available July 15 Due To "Prior Employment Commitment" AND Does Not Support Creating Gov't Reform Committee Now And Urges Council To Forego It At This Time

    Charter Amendment Meeting cancelled July 15/03
    Mayor O'Neill amid empty Council chairs announces cancellation of Charter Amendment Committee meeting.
    Screen capture courtesy HTTV cable channel 21
    (July 15, 2003) -- In a sudden turn of events that resulted in LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill offering a public explanation in the Council chamber with nearly no Councilmembers present, today's meeting of the Charter Amendment Committee -- which was to discuss formation of a Gov't Reform Task Force to examine possible City Charter changes -- was cancelled and tentatively postponed until August 5...with the Mayor stating it was due to the absence of several members.

    We post the Mayor's statement verbatim below. has separately learned that 4th district Councilman Dennis Carroll sent a letter, dated July 15 to the Mayor, cc'd to the Council and city manager, citing his inability to attend that afternoon's Committee meeting "because of a prior employment commitment" which Councilman Carroll goes on to state:

    I cannot support the creation of a Government Reform Committee at this time. The City budget and issues surrounding redevelopment should be the principal focus on the Council, City staff and the Long Beach community. I am concerned that an open-ended exploration of government reform will dilute the attention and energy essential to completing the budget and resolving redevelopment issues. I encourage my colleagues to forego creation of a Government Reform Committee at this time.

    To view Councilman Carroll's letter, click Councilman Carroll July 15 letter.

    Below is Mayor O'Neill's public statement delivered shortly after 2:00 p.m. on July 15, the scheduled time for the Charter Amendment Committee meeting:

    ...Until today, we knew that there would be two members of the Charter Amendment Committee that would not be here. The Charter Amendment Committee is a committee of the whole and all Committee members are the same as the City Council. Today we found that a third would not be here and possibly a fourth would be quite late.

    We met, Councilmember Uranga and Councilmember Baker and I met, and felt that this Committee was too important, this issue was too important, to meet with less than the entire Council or as close to it as we could get.

    And we did not want to, we felt this was an important issue and it should be discussed by them as a whole.

    So this Committee meeting...was postponed. We have tentatively scheduled this for the 5th of August when we feel, at this time anyway, that there will be the majority, most of the Councilmembers here...

    ...There is no need for a roll call, because I'm the only one here. We do have the clerk and we do have the, oh, that's right, [Councilman] Val [Lerch] was here, sorry about that. I told Val he didn't have to come, but he was kind enough to be my support for this announcement...

    Speaking at City Hall's July 12 budget preview, 6th district Councilwoman and Budget Committee Chair Laura Richardson publicly said the Charter Amendment Committee meeting would be held on July 15. In a memo dated July 15 [which we believe was circulated on July 14], Councilmembers Dan Baker and Tonia Reyes-Uranga, who had jointly agendized the Charter reform item, outlined their Task Force proposals to Councilmembers. On July 14, reported to the memo.

    As indicated by the Mayor, the Charter Amendment Committee consists of all members of the City Council (with the Mayor is chair).

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