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These Long Beach Councilmembers Have Quietly Pocketed These Taxpayer Sums Each Time They've Attended "Meetings" -- Most One To Four Minutes Long -- Of This City Hall Body; Yes, They Could Change This


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(July 19, 2019, 7:50 a.m.) -- Just minutes before the start of the July 16 City Council meeting (when Councilmembers voted without dissent to declare a "fiscal emergency" despite Mayor Garcia having said in his "State of the City" message that LB has a "fiscally responsible government" to enable a taxpayer-costly/not-regularly-scheduled citywide March 2020 election to renege on a City promise to reduce/eliminate LB's June 2016 sales tax increase), Councilmembers assembled to meet as LB's "Housing Authority."

From call to order to adjournment, their "meeting" lasted approximately four minutes. For their roughly 240 second "meeting," all seven Council incumbents present -- Pearce (walked in between third and fourth agenda item), Supernaw, Mungo, Andrews, Uranga, Austin, Richardson (Price was in Greece, 1st dist. vacant) -- can now collect $50 each. Computed on an hourly basis, that's a rate of $750 an hour (60/4 = 15, $50 x 15 = $750.)

This wasn't a one-month outlier. In the first seven months of 2019, one "Housing Authority meeting" was one minute long. Another was two minutes. One was three minutes. Three lasted about four minutes and one lasted 22 minutes (wow.) Each time, Councilmembers present for all or part of these "meetings" pocketed $50 each. Richardson (chair) and Supernaw get the prize for the most regularly present, followed by "Budget Oversight Committee" chair (RINO "Republican-in-name-only") Mungo. The names Tanzer and Hudson refer to Housing Authority "Tenant Commissioners" who also receive $50 a meeting.

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"Housing Authority" meetings [source: City Clerk minutes]:

  • Jan. 8, 2019: Present: Supernaw, Mungo, Uranga, Hudson, Tanzer and Richardson.
    Call to order: 4:33 p.m.: Adjourned 4:35 p.m.

  • Feb. 12, 2019: Present: Gonzalez, Price, Supernaw, Mungo, Andrews, Uranga, Austin, Tanzer, Pearce and Richardson
    Call to order: 5:01 p.m. Adjourned: 5:23 p.m. (Pearce and Austin joined the meeting in progress.)

  • March 12, 2019: Present: Gonzalez, Supernaw, Andrews, Austin, Hudson, Tanzer and Richardson
    Call to order: 5:50 p.m. Adjourned: 5:51 p.m.

  • April 9, 2019: Present: Price, Supernaw, Mungo, Andrews, Austin, Hudson, Tanzer, Pearce and Richardson
    Call to order: 5:05 p.m. Adjourned 5:07 p.m.

  • May 14, 2019: Present: Gonzalez, Price, Supernaw, Mungo, Andrews, Uranga, Austin, Hudson, Tanzer, Pearce and Richardson
    Call to order: 5:21 p.m. Adjourned: 5:25 p.m.

  • June 11, 2019: Present: Supernaw, Mungo, Andrews, Tanzer, Pearce and Richardson
    Call to order: 4:42 p.m. Adjounred: 4:45 p.m.

  • July 16, 2019: Present: Pearce, Supernaw, Mungo, Andrews, Uranga, Austin, Richardson, Tanzer, Hudson (Andrews walked in after first of four items; Pearce arrived between third and fourth item.)
    Call to order: 4:32 p.m. Adjourned 4:36 p.m.

This Council perk drains what amounts to (we presume) budgeting $4,050 General Fund dollars each year ($450 x 9) for Councilmembers' "Housing Authority" attendance alone.

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How did this become legal in LB? On November 21, 2006, the City Council under then-recently-elected Mayor Bob Foster adopted an ordinance paying $50 per meeting attended to members of LB's "Board of Examiners, Appeals and Condemnation" and "Disabled Access Appeals Board" (on which no Councilmembers sit) and tossed in the "Housing Authority" board (on which all Councilmembers sit.) Those voting "yes" were then-Councilmembers Bonnie Lowenthal, Suja Lowenthal, Gary DeLong, Patrick O'Donnell, Laura Richardson, Tonia Reyes Uranga and Val Lerch; Absent were Councilmembers Schipske and Gabelich.

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The American author/philosopher Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) said: "Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching -- even when doing the wrong thing is legal."

Any Councilmember(s) could agendize an item on any Tuesday to amend the 2006 ordinance to exclude Councilmembers from the $50 payments for their "Housing Authority" meetings. Or they could just give the money back.

And when LB is currently having a Council-declared "fiscal emergency," don't even think about burying in the upcoming FY20 budget increased or expanded sums for any Mayor-chosen/Council-approved "advisory" commissions (LBREPORT.com coverage here.)

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Support really independent news in Long Beach. No one in LBREPORT.com's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. LBREPORT.com isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. LBREPORT.com is reader and advertiser supported. You can help keep really 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.


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