|(Mar. 22, 2019, 8:05 a.m.) -- A reverse-angle video clip, recorded from the City Council Chamber audience by a Long Beach resident, shows what seven of LB's nine City Councilmembers (five re-elected in 2018, one now seeking a state Senate seat) and Mayor Robert Garcia were doing while a LB resident spoke on a matter that the Council and Mayor have declined to date to agendize for discussion and possible policy-setting action.
Long Beach residents previously had the right to agendize items for action by their Council representatives, a right erased over twenty years ago under a former Council and former Mayor (LBREPORT.com "amnesia file" coverage here) who also reduced the number of their Council meetings to three per month instead of four. In recent months, LB's current Mayor and Council have moved to "streamline" (shorten) their remaining three meetings per month (while receiving the same pay and benefits), recently receiving city management options to do so, some of which would further reduce opportunities for public testimony.
At the March 19 City Council meeting, LB resident Alex Armstrong waited over three hours to speak for three minutes using the period for public comment on
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The March 19, 2019 City Council reverse-angle video, captured by LB resident Julianne Kiehlo (who uses the Facebook handle "Juli Jean"), shows seven of LB's nine Councilmembers. All nine Councilmembers were present at the start of the meeting (which began at 5:19 p.m.) and voted on the consent calendar (no public discussion) and two agendized items. A lengthy study session on a Mayor/Council sought "Climate Action & Adoption Plan" followed and shortly before a recorded vote, Councilwoman Mungo said she "might not" be able to vote on the item because she had to take a "Mommy-pumping-break" [breast milk activity], would return in about 10-15 minutes. She returned about a half hour later during the final public speaker on non-agendized items. Councilwoman Suzie Price exited earlier at roughly 6:30 p.m., telling LBREPORT.com she was vomiting earlier that day from the stomach flu.
Vice Mayor Dee Andrews isn't visible on the video, having left after the first two Council votes. Seven Councilmembers -- Gonzalez [running for state Senate], Pearce, Supernaw ("streamlining" agendizer), Uranga, Austin and Richardson were present with Mungo walking in and re-taking her seat near the end of the final public speaker. Councilman Richardson wasn't in his seat but is visible on the video just behind it, taking a leg stretching break while listening to the public speaker.
City Clerk draft minutes of the meeting indicate that the Council reached public testimony on non-agendized items at roughly 8:01 p.m. Current Council procedure requires public speakers on non-agendized items to submit "speaker cards" by 4:45 p.m. (which enable the Mayor to know in advance who'll speak and on what topics.) At the March 19 meeting, Mayor Garcia first invited five speakers to the speakers' podium who spoke on various unrelated items. He left "no kill" animal shelter speakers for last, with Mr. Armstrong (who's spoken at several previous Council meetings) speaking last among them.
Councilwoman Mungo re-entered the Council Chamber while Mr. Armstrong was speaking and had roughly 110 of his 180 seconds of his prepared presentation remaining. .
Prior to webposting the video below, LBREPORT.com invited comments yesterday from all seven Councilmembers seen on the video (emails to them and/or to their Council office chiefs of staff.) Councilmembers Price and Richardson responded. The others didn't. On that bas is, the video speaks for itself.
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