To the Editor:
The City of Long Beach was ham-handed and ultimately wrong in anticipating State legislative action that would have permitted the City to borrow up to $15 million in serial bonds in order to reduce tax increases and to pay down debt. It turned out that the State legislature closed its session without Senate action on the measure.
The failure of the legislation came a day after city residents received a letter from City Manager Jack Schnirman in which he expressed confidence, as if the state bond measure had been approved. As a matter of fact, he was wrong. The bonding was not permitted. He was careless as a matter of prudent management.
The city administration obviously misread the tealeaves in betting on the bonding measure being approved. But was the city manager culpably careless to allow so much to ride on the bill's expected approval? What does it mean for the recent CSEA accord? Can it still go forward? Must the budget be re-drafted in light of the new realities? Legally, can it even be re-submitted? How do four out of the five Council members vote on a measure before it is actually permissible by law?
I would not have supported any new bonding in the first place — not without more drastic spending cuts. But I sure as shooting would have proposed a budget contingent on reality rather than waiting for a State legislature bail-out plan that never arrived. The city should take their hat from hand and start passing the hat.