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    We Post Some Newsworthy Extended Excerpts As New Councilmembers & Mayor Take Office; Councilmembers Choose Bonnie Lowenthal As Vice-Mayor

    (July 19, 2006) -- A ceremonial swearing-in was held at the July 18 Council meeting for new and re-elected city officeholders. As previously reported on LBReport.com's front page (with photos), legal oaths were quietly administered to officeholders by the City Clerk on July 17...so they would automatically become legal city officeholders at 12:01 a.m. July 18.

    The ceremonial event gave elected officials an opportunity to make high visibility remarks...and we quote some below that caught our attention. [We have separately posted the full text of Mayor Foster's inaugural remarks delivered earlier in the day at WLB's Cabrillo High School. To view them, click here.]

    3d dist. Councilman Gary DeLong: ...[spoke of opportunities to create new wetlands areas, then continued]...As real estate development occurs on the eastside, we probably most likely have some in the next several years. There's a Home Depot project that's currently under consideration. We're looking at a mixed-use development at 2d and PCH to replace the dilapidated SeaPort Marina. There are many things that are occurring, but we what we don't have is we don't have a Master Plan for the area. So good things are happening, but we could do better. At our Council office, we will aggressively begin the process of reaching out, bringing concerned citizens together in a task force to create that Master Plan...concerned citizens, we will have city staff involvement, we will have developers involved, we will bring people together and we create a vision for the eastside, and I look forward to leading that effort...

    Last year, as many of you know, the City renegotiated its agreement with our police officers. Unfortunately, we're still seeing a brain drain. We're still seeing quality members of our police department leave our city and go elsewhere. That's something as a Council, we need to work with city management and we need to turn that around. Again, our theme is things are going well but we can do better.

    I'm certainly pleased to come into office and see that for the first time in many years, we're going to have a proposed budget that doesn't have any structural deficits. That's great news. On the other hand, we still haven't restored funding to our libraries. We need to increase our funding for our police...

    It's encouraging that violent crime is down in our city over the last several years. It's discouraging that we still have more gang activity than any of us would like to see, so we're going in the right direction but need to get there a little faster...

    5th dist. Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske: ...People ask me was there anything I did differently in this election that I would attribute [for] my victory. Well, as you know, I often turn to the Press-Telegram for my personal political advice [audience laughter; pauses for laughter to subside] and when I read their article about how candidates who shave off their beards are usually the ones who get elected, I knew what I needed to do. [more audience laughter] Actually in this campaign this time, I didn't hire a campaign consultant. I designed my own mail. I ran the campaign out of my living room. I took a year to walk 85% the district, and I tried to get all my news from LongBeachReport.com. [audience applause]...

    Most importantly, I had the help of a wonderful band of volunteers...I also had the help and support of the Teachers Association of Long Beach, and to all of you I say thank you, thank you, thank you. You have taught me that Mark Twain was right when he said, keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great, and I really appreciate you being so great...

    [M]y promise to you is simple. I will work for the next four years to make certain that the City gets back to the basics of local government. Those basics include adequate public safety, enough police on our streets, and a Class One Fire Department, repair and maintenance of our streets, curbs and sidewalks, libraries that are open all the time and are well stocked, protection of our neighborhoods from noise, air, water pollution and blight, putting fiscal accountabilities and efficiencies in place, and no -- please read my lips -- no parcel taxes...

    ...I am honored to be elected to the City Council, and so very grateful to those of you who encouraged me to keep on trying.

    Mayor Bob Foster [summarizing from remarks earlier in the day]: ...I do want to just say a few words about what you've all witnessed today. This is the peaceful changing of power, and this doesn't happen very often in very many places. In fact in human history, it happens very briefly. It is almost a miraculous event. You have a peaceful change of power in a democracy, it's emblematic of our democracy, it's one of the best things in our democracy, and it is something we should reflect on.

    Secondly, we should reflect on where this city has been. I spoke this morning about the trials of the 90s, and they were trials. We had 50,000 aerospace and defense jobs leave this city. The Navy left, and we had civil unrest, and all those things we were somehow able to overcome.

    And we did so in large measure because we had our civic pride returned to us, the first ingredient for civic improvement, and for that we owe Beverly O'Neill a great debt and I want to thank her. [applause, and Mayor Foster joins in.]

    I asked people this morning to embark on a bold journey, and that bold journey is to make this a great city. It is a very good city. It can move to greatness. And what will it take to do that? It will take the participation of everybody in this room. It will take a dedication to make us more than we are today. It will take us occasionally to look beyond ourselves and our immediate interests for a future benefit. It will take all that effort to make this a safe, clean and inclusive economy in this city...

    I pledged this morning to use every bit of energy and every bit of passion that I have and every bit of ability I have to move this city to a higher and better level, and I will do that. I will work tirelessly to bring that about. To me, this is a very important time in our history. We are poised at a point where we actually now can pursue, we are capable, we have the assets, to be able to make this a city that does bring everyone -- everyone -- along in its economic advancement. It doesn't leave anyone behind.

    That is how we're going to be truly safe. That is how we're going to clean up our environment. And that's how we're going to demonstrate to the rest of the country that this is in fact a great city that deserves that title, and that it should be an example for everyone else...

    Pursuant to the City Charter, Councilmembers also selected one of their own to serve as "Vice Mayor" for the next two years. Councilman Patrick O'Donnell nominated Bonnie Lowenthal. No other names were put in nomination. Councilwoman Lowenthal (who as previously reported by LBReport.com was also recently named to a position on the MTA governing board) became Vice Mayor on a 9-0 vote. In recent years, the position was held by now-former Councilmembers Jackie Kell, Frank Colonna and Dan Baker.

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