Terry Jensen
Common Sense / Opinion
A continuing series

Council Grants Permit With Conditions Requiring What City Hall Already Basically Requires & Residents Deserve

(April 22, 2011) -- I watched the April 19 City Council meeting with rapt attention as it discussed Panama Joeís application for a new Entertainment with Dancing permit.

I was also quite surprised that after receiving unanimously negative public testimony from those not affiliated with the business, the Council approved the application with only Councilmembers Rae Gabelich and Dee Andrews dissenting. [vote was 5-2 with Schipske and Neal absent]

It seems that staff and Councilman Gary DeLongís primary argument for approving the permit was the inclusion of 26 Conditions of Operation. Councilman Delong suggested that the 26 Conditions were significant in protecting the neighborhood and denying the application "might make things worse."

Well, I read all of the 26 Conditions and I have difficulty understanding why DeLong and city staff portrayed them as their last line of defense to somehow improve the club's operations and neighborhood quality of life.

After reading each and every one of the 26 Conditions (pages 3-6 of the agendized city staff report), they don't in my opinion support Councilman DeLong's or city staff's argument.

Of the permit's 26 Conditions of Operation, 20 are already a part of the original permit and 6 are new conditions.

And of the 6 new conditions, all but one (regarding when the applicant must seek permit renewal) are, it appears to me, already basically covered under provisions of the Long Beach Municipal Code and specifically under Title 9 "Public Peace, Morals and Welfare Chapters I thru IX."

Under the new permit Conditions, it appears to me that City Hall is basically asking operator to do little more than comply with provisions of the Municipal Code (city law) that the operator is already required to comply with. If so, residents got little more than they should already expect and receive.

What I saw were city officials invoking what appeared to be basically specious arguments to support their position. In my opinion, this was insulting to all Long Beach residents and in particular to the residents living in the shadow of the restaurant/bar who rely on their elected representatives to act in their best interest.

In the future, when the Council and city staff advocate a position, they should at least use accurate and supportable justifications for their positions.

And if they donít, voters should hold them accountable.

Previously on Common Sense by Terry Jensen (continuing series):

  • No. 7: Facing A De Facto Precedent Proposed at 2nd/PCH

  • No. 6: Put Redevelopment In Council's Hands, Make LB Elected Officials Accountable (For A Change)

  • No. 5: Suppose Our City Officials Had Applied These Efforts To Assure World Class Kroc Center Instead Of For This, This & This

  • No. 4: Council Majority Either Didn't Know, Or Knew But Didn't Disclose, Amount Of Taxpayer Dollars Potentially Up In Smoke On Med MJ Vote

  • No. 3: City Hall & Its Boosters Created Budget Mess (Quit Blaming Recession); Proposed Proportional Cuts Don't Prioritize; Council Needs To Define Core Items & Cut Others

  • No. 2: Costs vs. Benefits: Council's Costlier-Than-Necessary Seawall Fix = Decaying Belmont Pier & Other Shoreline Assets

  • No. 1: Santa, Call LB City Hall: Taxpayer Leased Vacant Bldg. (New Home To Daisy Lane Xmas Displays) Invites Annual Public Review of All City Owned/Leased Properties And Zero-Based Budget

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