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Council Candidates' Positions: Transparency at City Hall

All agree on broadcasting meetings but differ on its costs.

It’s become a political buzz word that made its way into questions at two candidates forum in Long Beach: transparency.  

Constituents asked the six candidates running for City Council about the measures they would take to create more transparency in city government, and, in a related query, if they favored broadcasting the council’s meetings. 

Democrat Fran Adelson, who campaigned on the issue in her first bid for a council set in 2009, believes advances in technology such as live streaming will benefit citizens unable to attend council meetings, and podcasts can be posted to the city website.

“The only way that you can really have people know what’s going on in the city is to have them see the city council meetings,” Adelson said at the forum at the West End Community Center on Tuesday. “I think for disclosure reasons alone, it’s a great idea.”

Each candidate said they favored some form of broadcasting the meetings, at least in theory, since there are other issues to consider. While Adelson and fellow Democrat Len Torres said that it can be done with “little money,” Republican running mates, President Thomas Sofield Jr. and Vice President Mona Goodman, said that when the city previously looked into broadcasting the meetings with Cablevision, it was “prohibitively costly.”

Otherwise, Goodman said she would “really not have any problem at all having the council meetings being televised somehow.”

She indicated webcasting may be preferable, as did Sofield, who also cautioned that research must be done first.

“It’s not as easy as just plugging in a camera into a computer in front of a City Council and hooking into Cablevision or FiOS,” Sofield said.

Fellow Republican candidate Marvin Weiss believes broadcasting council meetings is a great form of communicating with and educating constituents.

“The opportunity for something like that is important with our society and our world being smaller and smaller,” said Weiss, a second-time candidate. “This would be an asset to us, in addition to being an asset to the younger generation, who may never attend a meeting.”

Democrat Scott Mandel, a newcomer to politics, simply said that he was 100 percent behind the proposal and was confused as to why webcasting doesn’t already exist.

Torres said he was surprised by some of his experiences since he was elected to the council in 2009.

“And I think that the public needs to see this,” Torres continued. “I think it’s part of open government and transparency.”

In addition, Adelson called for better administration of Freedom of Information requests, specifically that they “be answered and that you get the information within the legal time allotted,” she said. She also wants Good and Welfare sessions, which allow residents to address the council on any government-related issues, to be held at all meetings, not just the first of two monthly meetings.

Goodman believes the council should try to hold meetings around different parts of Long Beach, she said, just as the Republican administration did in years past when a particularly large-scale issue was before the council.

“[I thought those meetings] were a very nice thing, to be able to go into a community center or into East School and sit down with a group of residents in a much more comfortable setting than sitting up on a dais and having people come up to the microphone,” she said.

She said she doesn’t think there is problem with transparency in city government.

“I think we’re all very accessible,” she said. “Certainly the city manager is and the council members. It’s very easy to email us and leave us a message. We get back to you very, very quickly. But I’m open to suggestions.”

Jay Gusler October 28, 2011 at 11:57 PM
The report was a sworn deposition given by me in connection with an assault. I dictated it to an officer who typed it. When he was done he let me review it, he printed it, and I signed it. I can imagine no set of circumstances under which such a document could be withheld from the person whose statement it contains. The reason offered for denying it? It was part of an open investigation. Yes, it was the document that triggered the investigation, but it was a document I had already seen. I merely wanted a copy of what I had been made to sign. This was no run-of-the-mill denial decided at the PD level. It was ordered from on high. I won't get into any more detail then that.
LBLover October 29, 2011 at 12:12 AM
I wouldn't want it live either..just a video TY
paul.d.spellman October 29, 2011 at 12:59 AM
Jay, This secretiveness that seams to pervade this is rather unsightly. Who placed you under oath? Did you have an attorney present? Did you ask to have one? Was it denied? You stated the "made you sign", was this signed under duress?
Jay Gusler October 29, 2011 at 01:46 AM
No, nothing like that. You go in to make an allegation against someone and it's taken in the form of what they refer to as a deposition. No duress. The basic premises is that if you're going to come in and file a complaint about something not witnessed by an officer, you are apprised of the penalty for filing a false report and made to review and sign what you came in and told them. Pretty standard stuff, up until the part where they refused to give me a copy.
Lloyd October 29, 2011 at 08:56 AM
Im glad I never filed a police report regarding the recent egging of my car or my stolen mirror. It sounds like it would lead to more problems than its worth and classify me as a troublemaker. In the meantime, I am more concerned that I just can't find any Chinese take out place in town that makes really good old fashioned Wonton Soup. All the places I've tried here make it very thin with small mushy wontons. It doesnt compare to the soup from my old neighborhood of Massapequa. Also can't find a place tbat makes Yat Gow Mein soup. With the cold weather upon us, I will be ordering more and more Chinese soup. Anybody havr any suggestions?
Lloyd October 29, 2011 at 09:14 AM
Also...I dont think live LB City Council meetings will get any ratings. Nobody now watches the live U.S, Senate or State Assemby sessions on TV. To get people to warch you need to feature some frontal nudity or reality stars like Snookie or The Kardashians Im thinking that a show like The Real Politicians of Long Beach will not attract as many viewers as The Real Housewivees of Long Beach would.
True Colors Shining Through October 29, 2011 at 09:32 AM
If it webcasting is cost prohibitive at this time can the Coalition at least requisition a sleep monitor to check on their boy Charlie Freeport when he naps during Council meetings?
paul.d.spellman October 29, 2011 at 01:15 PM
Jay, So it wasn't a "sworn deposition" and you were not "made" to sign anything, and you "won't get into any more detail" on a internet posting you created on thread concerning transparency?
Lloyd October 29, 2011 at 02:11 PM
You have to be careful what you accuse Charlie of doing. Maybe he suffers from Narcalepsy and just cant help falling asleep when things get dull and boring.
Jay Gusler October 30, 2011 at 03:44 AM
I created a thread? News to me. Paul, I went in to report an incident. The officer sat me down to take a "deposition". That was their term for the report, not mine. While I was not made to give an oath, nor was there a jurat on the page, I was made to sign the report I gave. I must assume that had I refused to do so, the report would not have been filed. There is fine print on the report attesting to the law on making a false report. When I say I won't go into detail, I mean the details of the report. Why? Because it's irrelevant to the point of this thread, which is transparency. Now, is there a point somewhere in your writings, or do you just spout inane questions for the sake of irritating people?
paul.d.spellman October 30, 2011 at 04:15 AM
Jay, "Jurat"? "Sworn Deposition"? Do you think that if you throw around fancy words it builds your credibility? --"on a internet posting you created", I never said you created the thread, only a posting on that thread --"Sworn deposition", first misrepresentation of the truth --"made to sign", second misrepresentation of the truth --"spout inane questions", better to ask questions that to post fiction.
Jay Gusler October 30, 2011 at 05:02 PM
Better to ask RELEVANT questions than to post fiction. I've posted no fiction. I've posted facts. You seize upon the minutiae contained in my posts and dissect them ad nauseum just for the sake of doing so. Here's the point of the post: I filed a report. Days later I went in to get a copy of the report. I was made to file a FOIL request in order to get a copy. Days later I was told I would not be provided a copy due to some bogus grounds cited to by the LBPD's FOIL Officer. As the proponent of that report, a person who read it and signed it, there's no VALID basis for denying me a copy of it. This is consistent with this administrations approach to disclosing information, no matter how trivial. Now Paul, do you want to know the outfit I was wearing when I went in to make the request, or some equally IRRELEVANT aspect of the matter? I've responded here for the benefit of others that might read this thread. Please spare us all anymore of your insightful analysis.
paul.d.spellman October 30, 2011 at 06:46 PM
Jay, "You seize upon the minutiae", in the first sentences of your post you said "sworn deposition", big words, they will all be impressed. Except that was total BS. I am only looking at this one post not all your threads. Have you posted untruths in your other posts also? And as you post for others let them also know that most of this thread was fiction or unnecessary embellishment to lead more credence that required to your posting.
Misty October 30, 2011 at 07:07 PM
Just think if there was a video broadcast the people at the Oscars could offer an entirely new category. They are all a bunch of actors anyway. Make sure we see change next week when we vote. We deserve the best.
True Colors Shining Through October 30, 2011 at 07:57 PM
True enough. They are all actors; fakes, phonies and frauds. Not a genuine item in the bunch. So we have to keep rotating them fast enough for them not to get to fat and happy like the evil dumbells that are in power now and the ones before them, and before them. What a joke. All the signs all over town. The crap in my mailbox. The emails. The debates where maybe two of them can respond with any intelligence, substance and balance whatsoever. Some of them cannot even put two coherent sentences together. Debate? Ha! What a joke. "I don't know," "I am not familiar with that," "Moodys, check Moodys and you will see we are good," "I built a dog run," " I wrote grants for the failing schools in Roosevelt," "I have lived here my whole life," "Five generations of my family are from here, but my City Manager lives in Freeport," "I save feral cats," "My husband is a musician," "I surf," "My daddy is the head cop," "I am alway in the North Park area by foot, by bike and by car," "I will fix the boardwalk," "I am with the tax revolt party," "I am with the fix the boardwalk party," "I love Long Beach," "We have a great city," "We just need to listen and communicate," blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...enough already but don't forget to vote. Keep that door revolving.
Jay Gusler October 30, 2011 at 09:14 PM
Paul, You're a perfect example of why psychiatric institutions should not have internet access. Are you for real? Is this what you glean from my posting? How about I retract the word sworn? Does that appease you? The POINT (something you seem incapable of recognizing) is that this administration treats routine information like state secrets. Now, take your thorazine and leave me alone.
Jay Gusler October 30, 2011 at 09:16 PM
Amen Adios!
Tom October 30, 2011 at 11:54 PM
Adios you seem to have a pretty good handle on the whole thing, can we add you to the ballot....under the blah, blah, blah party?This way everyone will realize from the outset you're just spewing, instead of having to deal with all the nonsense the others provide before blah, blah, blah
paul.d.spellman October 31, 2011 at 12:07 AM
Jay, Is that all you have? I point out two blatant points of fiction in your posting that you cannot refute so now you the only recourse you have is to resort to almost childlike name calling? Take thorazine? Is that it?
LI Resistance October 31, 2011 at 01:01 AM
Well said.
occupylongbeach October 31, 2011 at 03:50 AM
I for one would like to see some talk about the character of the candidates vying for votes. Though I do not take sides politically in this city, I personally feel the current administration has no business having a father/son monopoly on the city. You can see similarities with the two in how they handle opposition - they freeze out people who do not play 'their' games or suck up: (ie foil requests for info dem council members should already have and lbpd sgt lawsuit for being passed over and chastised for not being a republican). I know I don't like the way councilman Sofield talks down to people at council meetings. I feel as though we can talk in circles about the boardwalk and all the candidates 'say' they will do, but talk is cheap. What is their record like and what do people say about their character? From what I've seen and heard, Sofield does not seem to be a man of credibility.
Tom October 31, 2011 at 01:57 PM
Dude whats you're deal, I wasn't being sarcastic, you seem to have a better handle then any of the candidates I've heard, no offense intended chill...all i hear from any of the candidates at this point is charlie brown speak wha wha whaa...equal to blah blah blah
Lloyd October 31, 2011 at 09:58 PM
I live here in L.B but maintain my voting add. in Massapequa. Things are run a lot more efficieny there despite the Town being totally dominated by one party. Its run well with few resident complaints. Ok. The taxes are high but the streets, parks, and schools are well maintained. So it can be done with the right group of people. why should L.B. be different?
True Colors Shining Through October 31, 2011 at 10:08 PM
Thanks for the support Tom.
True Colors Shining Through November 01, 2011 at 11:09 AM
One week left to vote and the bottom line is that we do not have many good choices. I am voting for Mandel and Adelson. They are new and they have promise. Are they beholden to anyone? Are they capable of independent governance? We will see. There is no great third choice. I will vote for Torres in order to break the Coalition stranglehold. Sofield -outworn his welcome. Goodman - nothing to offer. Weiss - along for the ride. In 2003 I voted Hennessey-Sofield-Goodman. Two had promise. I voted for the third to break the democratic clubhouse stranglehold. History is now repeating itself. When the Coalition took over in 2004 they hired a promising city manager, an accomplished city planning professional and lifelong resident of Long Beach. In a few months they replaced him with Charles Theofan, a political pawn who lived in Freeport and Manhattan. He had a shell address in Long Beach to cover the residency requirement. They traded proven leadership, expertise and ethics for political expediency. The City has been in a free fall ever since. Do I regret my decision in 2003? No, it was the right decision at the time. A change was necessary. I believe that the people who I voted for were on the right track, but in time they morphed into their predecessors. Now it is time for a change again. Will it work? Will a new group be hell bent on revenge and flipping the patronage family-friends equation their way and, in the process, neglecting Long Beach. We will see!
Eddie November 01, 2011 at 12:01 PM
Just never forget that it was the Democrats that raised our taxes 50% over the course of three years. That cost some of us lots of money. For me, since that time, it's cost me over $20,000 that could have gone to raising my kids.
Misty November 01, 2011 at 01:11 PM
You took the words right out of my mouth. We're looking for better because we deserve it. See you at the polls!!!
Jay Gusler November 01, 2011 at 01:22 PM
Adios, I echo your post completely. I supported these guys way back when, only to have my heart broken by them. What also seems to be forgotten (or perhaps just not widely known) is that the Coalition did the same thing with the THEN chairman of the Civil Service Commission (CSC). Among the items on the platform that propelled the Coalition to victory was reforming the manner in which the Civil Service system was administered here in town. To that end, they appointed a gentleman (recommended by Glen Spiritus) to be the new Chair of the CSC. This individual had impeccable credentials for the post, was independent, had integrity, and ethics. In other words, he possessed all the qualities this administration ultimately decided it didn't want in its Civil Service Commissioners. Before long they were looking to force him to do things he knew to be improper, if not illegal. Torn between his sworn obligation as Commissioner and the constant demand that he sanction impropriety, this gentleman resigned. Since that time, this pattern has repeated itself with subsequent appointees to the CSC who ultimately stood up to the abuses they were being asked to condone, and were made to resign OR REMOVED in response. This was just another example of the Coalition working out of the Old Dem Clubhouse playbook, and another reason why they, themselves have earned their exit from power.
LBLover November 01, 2011 at 01:57 PM
I too voted Goodman, Sofield, and Hennessey.. Unfortunity they have let power go to their heads! I will be voting Weiss, Mandel, and Goodman. I was voting for Adelson but the lawsuit thing made me change my mind. Voting Goodman because I don't want it to be all men.
Jeff Alan November 01, 2011 at 08:26 PM
i'd have to disagree with you on the streets... they are in awful condition.

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