|(November 29, 2018) -- An item that would authorize city management to enter into a contract with a
The December 4 agenda item was originally scheduled for November 20 Council discussion but withdrawn prior to the meeting. The issue has previously generated passionate public testimony and split Council votes, most recently during the Council's September 2018 budget proceedings.
[Scroll down for further.]
On Sept. 4, 2018, the Council approved (7-2, Price and Mungo dissenting on differently stated grounds) allocating but not expending pending future Council discussion $250,000 in FY19 for a justice fund/deportation-immigration legal defense fund. In late July, Mayor Garcia included the quarter million sum within his FY19 budget recommendations, an increase in sums previously discussed.
On Sept. 4, Councilwoman Price repeatedly stressed that she objects on principle to using taxpayer funds to represent individuals on individual legal claims of any type, calling public funding for individual claims a "slippery slope." Price said she'd support allocating the sum for legal-related items that might include information/education/guidance, outreach and the like on various issues but not public funding to pursue individual claims of any type.
A few hours earlier in chairing the Budget Oversight Committee, Councilwoman Mungo (supported by Committee members Price and Austin) recommended reducing the Mayor's recommended allocation for the item in half, with review at midyear with some sums going to Council district items as well as $100,000 (taken from $200,000 recommended by the Mayor for a youth "participatory budgeting" process. In the Committee meeting, multiple progressive/left groups supporting a "Peoples Budget" voiced dismay with reduction of the Mayor's recommended deportation defense fund and participatory budgeting items and signaled that they'd so at that evening's prime-time Council meeting.
When the issue hit the full Council meeting, Mayor Garcia swiftly announced that Councilwoman Mungo planned to make changes to what she'd previously indicated her Committee...and a few minutes later, Mungo announced she now supported the Mayor's original funding allocations.
However on the deportation defense fund, Councilwoman Mungo indicated she preferred to have the city money go to local organizations and mentioned the LB Bar Ass'n instead of the non-profit (Vera) with which city staff indicated in July it planned contract to provide the immigration/deportation defense services.
Nearing the end of a lengthy and polarizing Council discussion on the issue, Councilwoman Mungo became more blunt, saying the positions advocated by Vera conflict with the views of others in the community...and she cited the CA Police Chiefs Ass'n and the LB Police Officers Ass'n.
On Sept. 4, Councilman Supernaw indicated he'd vote for the deportation defense fund budget allocation because it merely set the money aside and would return for future Council discussion [which is coming now.] Mayor Garcia sought to dampen the hot button issue, urging respect for dissenting views but said he supports the item based on his personal family experiences with immigration law issues. On that basis, the $250k justice fund/deportation defense fund allocation item carried on a 7-2 vote (Price and Mungo dissenting.)
In its Dec. 4 agendizing memo, city staff describes the proposed Council actions as follows:
SAFE Cities Network Agreement
City management's agendizing memo describes the action's Fiscal Impact as follows:
The total cost for the proposed SAFE Cities Agreement with Vera will be a one-time expense of $250,000 for a two-year period, to initiate the Fund. Of that amount, $100,000 is from General Fund expected FY 18 year-end departmental savings and the balance of $150,000 was specifically appropriated in FY 19 from expected FY 18 year-end surplus. FY 18 has not closed, but there are currently no indications of problems with this funding. Staff will apply for a $100,000 catalyst-grant from Vera in January 2019 as a matching source, to help build the fund. The Office of Equity will support the establishment of the Fund at an estimated three to five hours per week, until legal services are initiated. The staffing impact thereafter would be minimal and primarily limited to reviewing and reporting evaluation outcomes to stakeholders and working with community partners to promote the Fund. There is no local job impact associated with this recommendation.
City management's agendizing memo seeks Council action on Dec. 4 "to commence implementation of the Fund by early winter of 2019."
On February 7, 2017, Councilmembers Mungo and Andrews (both of whom had been present earlier in the Council meeting) disappeared from the Council Chamber on a vote to put Long Beach on record as supporting Sacramento's SB 31 and SB 54 that would create statewide immigration "sanctuary" type policies. Councilwoman Mungo returned after the vote; Councilman Andrews did not; the resulting Council vote was 7-0.
On March 13, 2018, the Council voted 6-2 (Supernaw, Mungo dissenting, Austin absent) to approve the "Long Beach Values Act," effectively extending SB 54's policies to City departments, prohibiting LB City offices from collecting, maintaining, or disclosing "sensitive information" including but not limited to one's citizen or immigration status, absent certain circumstances in connection with enforcement of federal immigration law. On a separate motion, the Council voted
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