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    Letting The Sunshine In:

  • Council Votes 9-0 (Motion by Lerch) To Require Members of Several City Commissions/Boards And Entities Largely Funded By City Hall To File Statement of Economic Interest (Financial Disclosure) Form
  • Attempt By Carroll, Seconded By Colonna, To Send Proposal First To A Committee Fails 4-5; We Post Yeas and Nays

    (March 4, 2003) -- In a reform giving the public financial disclosure from numerous City Hall commissions and boards -- and outside entities heavily funded by the City -- the City Council (after a 4-5 split vote to delay) has voted to approve a significant proposal by 9th district Councilman Val Lerch, requiring commission and board members of those entities to file a Statement of Economic Interest (financial disclosure Form 700) currently required for elected officials and members of roughly two dozen other city Commissions.

    We list below the commissions and boards to which the new requirement will apply, as well as those to which it already applies.

    During discussion of the Council item, Assistant City Attorney Heather Mahood indicated the requirement will also apply to the Boardmembers of the Long Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau CVB), a non-profit group that operates under contract with City Hall and receives roughly 3/4 of its annual operating budget from public funds (the hotel occupancy tax).

    Councilwoman Bonnie Lowenthal asked if the CVB Boardmembers are currently required to fill out Form 700, to which Assistant City Attorney Heather Mahood said:

    "The CVB does not [currently] fill out that form...Now should the Council's action pass tonight, that would be different. We will require them to file..."

    Later in the meeting, Councilman Webb pursued the issue and Ms. Mahood amplified her answer:

    Ms. Mahood: The reason that they [CVB boardmembers] would be required to file [Form 700] under this motion is that they deal with city money. I mean obviously it's the City Council's choice as to what you choose to, who you have file now. There are certain boards that are non-public corporations that are required, because of what they do, they have to file them under law. The Housing Development Co. is one of those because they do entirely city duties, even though they're a non profit corporation and the Mayor does appoint their members. The CVB is in a different situation, because they really do not do city functions, or what is traditionally city functions. It is obviously your choice as a City Council to decide whether tonight you are going to require them to file your statements.

    [Later in the colloquy]

    You do take the CVB's advice on measures regarding the use of the CVB funds, so it's a little bit different relationship with the Aquarium. The Aquarium is simply a lessee which you have a contract with. The CVB is advisory to you on tourism matters.

    9th district Councilman Val Lerch pursued his proposed reform calmly but relentlessly. He agreed a week earlier to defer discussing it (after it was agendized or his NLB district Council meeting) to get a list of city Commissions to which the disclosure requirement would apply.

    Then the Press-Telegram weighed in editorially against it.

    And then at the March 4 Council meeting, 4th district Councilman Dennis Carroll made an effort to avoid an immediate Council vote by making a substitute motion (seconded by Vice Mayor Frank Colonna) to send Lerch's proposal first to the Economic Development and Finance Committee before returning it with recommendations to the Council.

    The Carroll-Colonna substitute failed -- and the Lerch disclosure reform will go into effect -- due to the supportive votes of Councilmembers Bonnie Lowenthal, Dan Baker, Laura Richardson and Tonia Reyes-Uranga. Councilman Carroll's substitute motion failed 4-5 (Colonna, Carroll, Kell, Webb; No: Lowenthal, Baker, Richardson, Reyes-Uranga, Lerch).

    The Council then voted 9-0 to support Councilman Lerch's disclosure requirement.

    In a memo agendized for the Council meeting, City Clerk Larry Herrera indicated that the City Clerk currently receives Form 700 Statements of Economic Interests Filings from members of the following boards and commissions:

    Airport Advisory Commission
    Board of Examiners, Appeals and Condemnation
    Board of Health and Human Services
    Cable Communications Advisory Commission
    California State University Headquarters Building Joint Powers Authority*
    Civil Service Commission
    Cultural Heritage Commission
    Disabled Access Appeals Board
    Economic Development Commission
    Harbor Commission
    Long Beach Housing Authority
    Long Beach Housing Development Company Board
    Long Beach Public Transportation Company Board of Directors
    Marine Advisory Commission
    Municipal Golf Commission
    Planning Commission*
    Public Corporation for the Arts
    Recreation Commission
    Redevelopment Agency Board
    Senior Citizen Advisory Commission
    Water Commission
    (*Filed with the City Clerk and forwarded to the State Fair Political Practices Commission.)

    Members of the following Boards and Commissions do not file Form 700 Statements with the City Clerk Department...but will be required to do so under the new disclosure requirement:

    1. Belmont Shore Parking & Business Improvement Area Advisory Commission
    2. Bixby Knolls Parking & Business Improvement Area Association
    3. Citizensí Advisory Commission on Disabilities
    4. Community Development Advisory Commission
    5. Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (members may file with County)
    6. Homeless Services Advisory Committee
    7. Human Relations Commission
    8. Metropolitan Cooperative Library System Advisory Board
    9. Neighborhood Preservation Loan Committee
    10. Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee
    11. Public Safety Advisory Commission
    12. Relocation Appeals Board

    Clerk Herrera's memo noted that in recent weeks, City Clerk and City Attorney staff have discussed the adding the following boards to the "required filer" category:

    1. The Greater Long Beach Workforce Development Board
    2. Citizen Police Complaint Commission

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