|(May 12, 2021, 3:00 p.m.) -- Despite multi-signature supportive correspondence from North Long Beach leaders, detailed written support of the area's neighborhood association, and a unanimous voted recommendation in support by LB's Parks/Rec Commission, Councilman Daryl Supernaw (chair of the Council's "Government, Personnel and Elections Oversight" Committee) and Committee Vice Chair Councilwoman Cindy Allen blocked their Committee's agendized discussion of renaming greenspace along South St. at Jaymills Ave. the Pressburg Parkway to honor veteran NLB community advocate Dan Pressburg.
The action played out at the May 11, 2021 meeting of Supernaw's committee. The agenda package contained a mutli-signature supportive letter from North Long Beach leaders and a detailed supportive letter from the DeForest Park Neighborhood Ass'n (texts below.) On January 21, 2021, LB's Parks and Recreation Commission voted 6-0 to support the Pressburg Parkway naming. On May 11, 2021, six individuals signed up to speak telephonically at the Committee meeting
The City Clerk called the agenda item. Committee chair Supernaw asked if there was a motion to support. Councilwoman Allen remained silent. Supernaw could have made the motion to support himself (forcing Allen to publicly decline to second it) but he didn't. Committee member Al Austin (whose unwillingness to support the Pressburg Parkway claiming he wanted evidence of community support) didn't attend the May 11 Committee meeting which provided that evidence.
With no motion or second from Supernaw or Allen, the May 11 Committee agenda item was poised to fail but the Councilmembers arguably might have been swayed after hearing public testimony.
Supernaw asked the City Clerk if public testimony on the agenda item was allowed. The City Clerk representative said yes. Supernaw then asked Deputy City Attorney Amy Weber who extemporaneously opined that she believed with no motion pending, public testimony would be [her term] "inappropriate."
[LBREPORT.com comment: Section 594954.3 (a) of the CA Government Code (Brown Act) allows and arguably requires allowing the public to be heard on the agendized item: "(a) Every agenda for regular meetings shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the legislative body...before or during the legislative bodyís consideration of the item, that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body...".]
Committee chair Supernaw used Deputy City Attorney Weber's extemporaneous opinion (with no authority cited by her) as his basis to refuse to allow telephonic verbal testimony on the agenda item (effectively silencing public speakers prepared to speak.)
Although the Committee's action blocked its discussion of the item, it didn't kill it. The full Council, not a three member Council committee, ultimately decides. Any Councilmember(s), including Pressburg Parkway initiating Vice Mayor Rex Richardson, can re-agendize the item for full Council consideration.
[Scroll down for further.]
A May 11, 2021 letter from the DeForest Park neighborhood association stated:
The DeForest Park Neighborhood Association fully supports the renaming of the South Street Parkway to be renamed Pressburg Parkway in honor of Dan Pressburg.
May 13 multi-signatory letter from North Long Beach Neighborhood Leaders:
We the undersigned North Long Beach Neighborhood leaders, support naming the Pressburg Parkway in honor of our friend and neighbor Dan Pressburg. As a proud resident of the 9th District, Dan Pressburg has lived a life dedicated to the community. Dan Pressburg has time and again demonstrated why cementing his legacy in this City is fitting in recognition of his commitment to Long Beach and the greater Uptown Community.
The public speakers whose telephonic testimony on the agenda item wasn't permitted were veteran LB neighborhood advocate Annie Greenfeld, Shirin Senegal, Michael Ebenkamp and Pressburg family members Holly Pressburg, Aaron Pressburg and Lauren Bareahona.
LBREPORT.com notes that Mr. Pressburg now publishes North Long Beach News which (using a Facebook platform) has gained a sizable readership in NLB and beyond with its independent coverage of NLB events and curated coverage by other publications (including LBREPORT.com.)
On December 15, 2020, Vice Chair Richardson initiated his proposal to name the green space for Mr. Pressburg by agendizing a memo praising Mr. Pressburg's record along with a PPT displaying photos of the site. On that basis, the Council voted 9-0 to forward the proposal to the Parks and Rec. Commission and Housing and Neighborhoods Committee for recommended Council action.
In early Jan. 2021, Mayor Garcia eliminated several Council Committees including Housing and Neighborhoods, and gave a newly created "Government, Personnel and Elections Oversight Committee" chaired by Supernaw specific oversight on policies for naming city facilities..
On March 23, 2021, the newly created Government, Personnel and Elections Oversight Committee (Supernaw, Allen, Austin) considered the issue. Committee member Allen moved, and Supernaw seconded approval of the proposal. But Committee member Austin balked, inquiring if there was additional community input in support of the action beyond Vice Mayor Richardson's initiating memo. (When he inquired, Austin could see none was agendized.) There were no additional written communications or public testimony in support at the mid-afternoon March 23 Committee meeting. which Austin contrasted a Committee meeting agendized letter signed by multiple individuals and groups that supported renaming the Long Beach Performing Arts Center as the "Beverly OíNeill Performing Arts Center."
Supernaw then backed away from the motion-to-approve that he'd just seconded, and Austin ultimately made a substitute motion to await evidence of public support for the Pressburg Parkway item. Supernaw seconded Austin's substitute motion and the Committee voted 3-0 not to recommend the item for Council approval for now without evidence of public support.
The Committee's May 11, 2021 actions then followed.
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