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    News / Extended Coverage

    Exit Proceedings For Mayor O'Neill, Councilmembers Colonna & Kell and City Auditor Burroughs

    (July 11, 2006) -- At the July 11 City Council meeting, presentations were made to exiting city officials Mayor Beverly O'Neill, Vice Mayor/Councilwoman Jackie Kell, Councilman (former Vice Mayor) Frank Colonna and City Auditor Gary Burroughs who also delivered statements.

    [begins shortly after 5:00 p.m.]

  • A staffer from U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer's office read a letter from the Senator to Mayor O'Neill.

  • Presentations were collectively made to Mayor O'Neill, Vice Mayor Kell, Councilman Colonna and Auditor Burroughs by Connie Sziebl, staffer in Supervisor Knabe's office, who presented plaques with recognitions. (Supervisor Knabe was present earlier but had a conflicting commitment). The exiting Councilmembers and City Auditor were then asked to sit down and presentations were made to Mayor O'Neill.

  • State Senator Alan Lowenthal (2nd district Councilman 1992-1998) made a presentation to Mayor O'Neill. "It's been twelve years of the most wonderful years for the City of Long Beach," he said in presenting a resolution from the State Senate.

  • Assemblymembers Betty Karnette (D., LB) and Jenny Oropeza (former 1st district Councilwoman) made a joint presentation to Mayor O'Neill. "I just feel that you have done a tremendous job...and have elevated our city in the eyes of the country," Assemblywoman Oropeza said.

  • A staffer with U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein's office read a letter to Mayor O'Neill and indicated a proclamation is forthcoming. .

  • Chief of Police Anthony Batts made a LB Police Department Chief's Citation to Mayor O'Neill...signed by all the Chiefs of Police (Ellis, Luman, Lance & Batts) during her tenure of twelve years.

  • LB Police Officers Ass'n president Steve James presented Mayor O'Neill with a historical book.

  • LB Firefighters Ass'n president Rich Brandt presented a Firefighter helmet to Mayor O'Neill.

  • A staffer to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R., HB-LB-PV) presented a Congressional recognition to Mayor O'Neill.

  • A staffer to Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D., Lakewood-Downey) presented certificates to Mayor O'Neill (and indicated certificates were

  • Long Beach Early Care and Education Committee made a presentation to Mayor O'Neill.

  • Long Beach Pride made a presentation to Mayor O'Neill

  • Members of LB's Redevelopment Agency Board and Board and Harbor Commissioners in the audience invited to stand in recognition of Mayor O'Neill.

  • A LB City Council resolution for Mayor O'Neill was read aloud by Councilwoman Laura Richardson.

  • City Manager Jerry Miller recognized the contributions of Mayor O'Neill, Councilmembers Colonna and Kell and City Auditor Burroughs and presented them with plaques.

  • Councilwoman Richardson announced that Mayor O'Neill had received personal letters from President George W. Bush, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Transportation Secretary Norman Minetta, former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, former U.S. Maritime Administrator John Jayman [sp] and to CA Secretary of State Bruce McPherson and others. It was also announced the LB Chamber of Commerce president/CEO president Randy Gordon was present in the Council chamber to wish Mayor O'Neill well.

    [Councilmembers Colonna, Kell and City Auditor Burroughs were then called back to receive presentations.]

  • State Senator Lowenthal presented State Senate resolutions to Councilmembers Colonna and Kell and City Auditor Burroughs...and added [after hearing the Council resolution to Mayor O'Neill], "It really wasn't that bleak in the 1990s."

  • Assemblymembers Karnette and Oropeza made presentations to Councilmembers Colonna and Kell and City Auditor Burroughs.

  • A staffer from Cong. Rohrabacher presented a letter of Congressional recognition to Councilmembers Colonna and Kell and City Auditor Burroughs.

  • A staffer from Cong. Linda Sanchez presented a letter of Congressional recognition to Councilmembers Colonna and Kell and City Auditor Burroughs.

  • Chief of Police Batts made a presentation to Councilmembers Colonna and Kell and City Auditor Burroughs.

  • LB Police Officers Ass'n president Steve James made a presentation to Councilmembers Colonna and Kell and City Auditor Burroughs.

  • LB Firefighters Ass'n president Brandt made a presentation to Councilmembers Colonna and Kell and City Auditor Burroughs.

  • City Council Proclamations were presented to Councilmembers Colonna and Kell and City Auditor Burroughs, signed by Councilmembers and the Mayor.

    Remarks by exiting officials

  • Vice Mayor/Councilwoman Kell: Quotes Robert Lewis Stevenson: Wherever we are, we are but a stage on the way to someplace else... Councilwoman Kell thanked by name all Councilmembers with whom she'd served and Mayor O'Neill. Among her accomplishments, Kell cited policies protecting parkland "in perpetuity," tackled budget shortfalls, created sound fiscal policies "and still not laying off any employees." Also cited plan for sidewalk replacement program. "I will miss our Tuesday nights together." Stands to say, "Yes, my bubble burst, because I had hundreds of people write my name on the ballot, but they forget to fill in the bubble."

  • Councilman/former Vice Mayor Frank Colonna: Says what a privilege it was been to be part of the City. Has familymembers stand. "They've been through a lot with me...and to support me." Biggest disappointment in political life: "so many people are supportive but many sometimes don't understand the process..." Thanks and commends each Councilmember personally. Of Mayor O'Neill, says "You really won't find anyone who's more deserving...the nation's Mayor, the president of the college, three term Mayor of our city, those are accomplishments that are written in the record book." On his own behalf, "It's been an honor and a privilege and I will never forget these years."

  • City Auditor Gary Burroughs: "I've been here twenty years...This is a huge city. It's a massive business...And in twenty years as a City Auditor...not once was there ever a question of impropriety or anybody trying to do anything but the right thing, and that's true of this elected body, that's true of Jerry Miller, Jim Hankla and Henry Taboada...their integrity and honesty...Stand up and tell those people who make jokes about public employees: it's horse manure. This city works its butt off for all of you." Thanks Auditor office staff. In emotional terms, thanks his wife. Says he will remain in Long Beach.

  • Mayor O'Neill: "...Long Beach is beginning to blossom, because people are caring, they're paying attention to things more...We do more taking care of things now than we have in the past...

    ...As you all know, we had to change the direction of our city because we lost our image and our tax base when the Navy left and when the aerospace downsized. This city has changed so dramatically...This was a Navy town. We had people living here because their parents came after the Second World War. We had people living here because they were in the Navy and they wanted to use the privileges of the Navy....To change the attitude about your hometown is really tough, but this city was able to do that. This city had the fortitude, it had the knowledge that if we didn't do something, we would be in a very difficult situation. And Jenny [Oropeza] and Alan [Lowenthal] were on the Council at that time, and we really made some tough decisions because we in about two years were going to go down the drain financially. And decisions were made as to the future and that's why we started with more tourism and international trade because we knew that those would go on and we could have a future on that.

    But now we have more retail stores than ever before, we have more residential living spaces than before, more concern for the environment and the most transparent budget of any city that I know...And we are going to continue to change; if you don't change, you die...We're renewing ourselves. We need to continue to grow and develop, and I came into this job with real optimism because when I was a child...I had a working mother, I grew up here taking advantage of all the things that Long Beach had to offer that were free...took advantage of the public schools...and so the advantages that were here made a difference in my life, and the thought that people didn't like that, or that or that they didn't like the city because of one thing, or two things, I felt was so shortsighted, it was so myopic to think that nothing was good because one thing wasn't good. And that's really why I ran for Mayor, because I felt such optimism for this city, and I still do.

    "And as I said at one of the gatherings that I was at, I'm not disillusioned. I don't feel soured. I don't dislike politics because I think that what's happening and what we're going through every city goes through. They all have some big crisis now and then, but that doesn't mean the city is a bad city, that doesn't mean the city's not going to blossom, it means that we work our way through it...

    "...We have added 25% more sworn officers and completed two public safety facilities and this is in addition to the Emergency Operations Center. By 2010, there will be 5,000 more residential units in this downtown area without about 10,000 new residents making it a totally urban downtown area.

    "The city is fiscally stronger than anytime in the past two decades...

    "The Los Angeles and Long Beach ports are nationally economic generators for the entire nation...We have recently been named by the Meyers Group as the most livable city in southern California...Now, many of these things happened in the last few years and I didn't do 'em. I was here at a time when people were working together, and that's really the key. It's the Council working together...

    "...This happens because the city works together. I've never worked with a better group of people than the city staff...It happens because people believe in the city, and that's their main goal, not that they can't get over some obstacles that they have...

    "...The people in the city of Long Beach are really the one that have really made the difference...[T]he people in this room...I see leaders, I see people that are working for things in their community, people that have made a difference in their community. I've appreciated working with Randy Gordon, the president of the Chamber...

    "So I think Long Beach will continue to flourish, but you gotta love it, and it will continue to blossom, but you've got to feed it, you gotta water it...I feel very fortunate that I've had the opportunity to be such a part of my hometown during this time of transition. Thanks."

    [Standing ovation from Council and audience.]

    [Councilmembers then paid tribute to the exiting officials]

    The exit proceedings ended at 7:34 p.m.; the Council took a twenty minute break before proceeding to its business agenda.

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