City Att'y Nixes Council Vote On Sept. 7 Item To Oppose SB 9 & SB 10 And Seek Governor's Veto, Cites Unintentional Brown Act Violation By Austin...But Says Council Can Properly Reagendize Same Item For Sept. 14 Council Meeting
Eastside Voice President Urges Political Payback In 2022 To Replace CD 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 Incumbents With Responsive Reform Minded Challengers, Brushes Off Belated Council Action Now
(Sept. 8, 2021, 7;45 p.m) -- As streamed live with summary flashed on LBREPORT.com's front page and Facebook platform, at the Sept. 7 City Council meeting, City Attorney Charles Parkin said an unintentional Brown (open meetings) Act violation by Councilman Al Austin precluded lawful Council action that night on an item agendized by Austin, joined by Councilmembers Stacy Mungo and Suzie Price, that sought belated Council opposition to housing density promoting SB 9 and SB 10. However the City Attorney said the same item could be reagendized for Council consideration and voted action a week later on Sept. 14.
City Attorney Parkin said Councilman Roberto Uranga filed a Brown Act complaint, which City Attorney found justified on its merits, that lead agendizer Austin had circulated a request to support his item seen by at least five Councilmembers (a majority.)
City Attorney Parkin didn't allege any intentional wrongdoing by Austin or others and the easiest way to cure it is for three Councilmembers to reagendize the item for Council consideration next week (Sept. 14.)
SB 9 would require cities to allow lot splits enabling four units on single family lots and without requiring add'l parking to match the increased density for parcels within half mile of frequent bus/rail public transit.
For months, multiple neighborhood groups pleaded with the Council to agendize opposition to SB 9 (pending since Dec. 2020.) Any individual Councilmember could have done so. None did so, ignoring requests by neighborhood groups including the Eastside Voice, Lakewood Village Neighborhood Association, El Dorado Park South Neighborhood Association and Citizens About Responsible Planning.
Over eighty CA cities went on record months ago to oppose SB 9, mainly citing loss of local control. Supporters of the bills cited CA's lack of available housing.
On August 16, prior to final Sac'to votes, SB 9's authors made two limited amendments:
Senator Gonzalez (immediate past CD1 Coouncilwoman) co-authored SB 9 and voted "yes" on her bill along with state Senator Umberg (D, SE LB-west OC.) Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D, NLB-Paramount) and Assemblyman Mike Gipson (NLB-Carson) both voted "yes" on final passage. Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D, Long Beach-San Pedro) voted "no."
Both bills are now enrolled and on the Governor's desk and he can sign them into law, let them become law without his signature, or veto them. Governor Newsom and lead Republican recall election candidate haven't said if they'll sign or veto SB 9 and/or 10. (LBREPORT.com asked the Elder campaign several days ago to answer that question; no response to date.)
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|On July 20, instead of agendizing an item to oppose SB 9, Councilwoman Mungo, joined by Councilmembers Supernaw, Austin and Uranga, agendized an item requesting an August city staff report to the Council's "State Legislation Committee" on SB 9 and 10's local impacts. Her item effectively sought to shift the issue away from opposing SB 9 to instead debate whether SB 9 would or wouldn't affect LB neighborhoods. This paralleled a defensive strategy pursued by SB 9 co-author state Senator Lena Gonzalez (D, LB-SE LA County) who sought to downplay her bill's local impacts in a May presentation to ELB's Ranchos homeowners.
City staff’s Aug.25 report turned out to be Power Point slides (not a businesslike memo) that in several respects sought to downplay SB 9’s local impacts. Councilwoman Mungo then used her Sept. 3 Neighborly News to invite recipients to view city staff’s PPT slides for what she called "a clear picture of what’s at stake." She wrote in part:
"As you can see in the presentation, Long Beach advocated for many changes that were incorporated. Even with those updates, I want you to know that I share your concerns. As I see it, neither of these bills support the progress we’ve made in developing more housing in Long Beach. In fact, they undermine our careful decision-making made at the local level with a divisive one-size-fits-all approach. This is why I am co-sponsoring an item with Councilmember Austin to request that the City of Long Beach communicate its opposition to both bills and urge Governor Newsom to veto each."
Councilwoman Mungo’s Neighborly News piece and the Mungo-Price-Austin Council item surfaced at roughly the same time as Corliss Lee, President of the Eastside Voice, urged voters in Council districts 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 to replace Council incumbents in 2022 with more responsive, reform minded challengers. Council incumbents Price and Mungo are both seeking re-election in 2022. So is state Senator Tom Umberg (D, SE LB-west OC.)
Although City Attorney Parkin nixed a Council vote on the Sept. 7 Austin-Mungo-Price agenda item, he indicated that three Councilmembers could reagandize it for Sept. 14 Council action."
On Sept. 7, one Council public speaker said if the item is reagendized she'll be back on Sept. 14 to support SB 9 and 10 on grounds they promote housing. Per City Att'y Parkin, Councilmembers didn't discuss the substance of the Sept. 7 agendized item. If the item is reagendized for next week, it will collide with the Sept. 14 gubernatorial recall election that may or may not remove Gov. Newsom.
Eastside Voice President Lee responded to newfound opposition by some Councilmembers to SB 9 and SB 10 with a call for a veto: "The Council’s belated action will only fool the most gullible. The incumbents failed for months to agendize opposition to the bills. Any Councilmember could have done so. None did."
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