Patch Questions: Long Beach Listens?

Let us know what you think of the City Council's efforts to hold monthly meetings with their constituents.

The new Democrat-majority City Council plans to hold meetings at a different neighborhood in Long Beach each month.

The first of these meetings, called Long Beach Listens, is scheduled for Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the West End Community Center, at 80 Maryland Ave. (next to West School). (Note: This meeting is scheduled for Presidents' Day, which is also the first day of a weeklong winter recess at local schools.)

Long Beach Listens is being touted as part of Council President Fran Adelson’s vow to make city government more open and transparent. As the press release announcing the meetings reads: “... Long Beach Listens will provide residents with an unprecedented opportunity to meet and communicate with City officials like never before.”

What do you think of the new administration’s efforts to hold these more up-close-and-personal monthly meetings with their constituents? Let us know in the comments below.

Elizabeth Treston February 06, 2012 at 07:37 PM
It may also give those that have children usually at sports or other social activities the opportunity to be heard as school is out. WENCA meets on Wednesdays. Tuesdays there is basketball practice, Thursdays Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Library, and Lion’s Club, Chamber of Commerce. There will always be complaints about dates. Perhaps the Council will consider a daytime meeting as well for those that can’t make an evening meeting? On the positive side at least there will be a meeting outside of the Gates.
inplainsight February 06, 2012 at 09:39 PM
if you live elsewhere, why not wait for your turn. it is a great idea and will go a long way in learning the specific problems people face in their communities and possible remedies. we are looking forward to our turn to be heard . it is informal, open and without pretense.
inplainsight February 06, 2012 at 09:43 PM
what did you give spiritis when he left, what about theofan and who knows who else you set up with a leave package - should we start the list. contracts are common and will bind him for the two years. nitpicking
Jimmy Hennessy February 06, 2012 at 09:55 PM
On the issue of TRANSPARENCY in City Hall? Item # 13 on tomorrow night's City Council Agenda is interesting. It's a 2 year contract between the new city manager and the new city council. This hasn't been done in many years, I think since Bruce Nyman was manager! In addition, its only says that Schnirman makes $157,988.71 (thats a very weird #). Then, buried at the end of the resolution, its says they will give him, "other terms as the City Council shall deem appropriate." What "other terms" is he getting? Are they paying his health care? Are they paying his rent? Life insurance? What happens if he leaves, How much does he get paid? How many vacation days and sick days is he getting? I know a contract benefits jack, but how does it benefit the city of LB and its residents? How much is his golden parachute when he leaves (Didn't he just complain of Sofield's pay out?)? What other fringe benefits does he get? Check out the agenda at the link below: These are curious questions! Transparency goes further than taking meetings outside city hall. Its a nice gesture, but lets look at the big picture here. http://www.longbeachny.org/vertical/Sites/%7BC3C1054A-3D3A-41B3-8896-814D00B86D2A%7D/uploads/February_7_2012.pdf
laocoon February 06, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Since the Democrats have already hired two handfuls of political hacks that were thrown out of the County, why bother with public meetings? They're going to appoint their friends and families regardless. Just tell us how much you're raising the evil homeowners' taxes.
truthbetold February 06, 2012 at 09:57 PM
You really are the biggest jackass on the planet. When you were City Council President, the first very first City Manager you appointed, Glen Spirtis, was given a contract... by YOU!!! F'n dummy.
Billy Boy February 06, 2012 at 09:59 PM
I am more concerned with the story in todays Newsday. On April 11, 2011 the City Manager stated (Page 11 of the 2011 budget) "2.87 million dollars in a surplus account" In Novemeber the residents were informed that there is no surplus. At first glance you would have to think a criminal act had taken place, but reality is- the city was mismanaged for some time. Smoke and several mirrors were used to create the illusion of sound budgeting. I think they ousted rip off artists owe the taxpayers an explanation.
Longbeacher February 06, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Billy BOY how do we know that there is no money ? maybe there just saying it so they will look like heros
Outraged Dem February 06, 2012 at 10:02 PM
It actually makes perfect sense, for political control! Zapson got Schnirman from his politicos in Suffolk, then Zapson's tells Schnirman to hire Zapson's secretary to be the city manager's secretary. Now Zapson had the council give him a ridiculous contract. This gives the the Democrat boss Zapson complete control over the city and the council, and it solidifies it for at least two years. Schnirman can do whatever he wants now and the council cannot fire him without paying him his two years salary! This is an obvious power grab by Zapson! Wake up Long Beach!
Outraged Dem February 06, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Why did we elect a city council? They are giving him all of the city council's power First they give the city manager all the power to transfer money in the budget, now they give him authority to do whatever he wants for 2 years, without any fear of being fired! At this rate Schnirman may be LB's first absolute monarch! The Adelson, Fagan, Torres, and Mandel administration is giving away their own power and erasing our system of checks and balances!
inplainsight February 06, 2012 at 10:12 PM
obviously, you have no idea- they are not giving anything away, they (council) have the final say about everything. would you work without a contract- solidifies something good maybe. council has power of vote and time to rearrange the management problems of past. why does everyone have a problem with the possibility of something positive.
Candygram for Mongo February 06, 2012 at 10:24 PM
friends and family and friends and family and friends rabble rabble
Margaret February 06, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Wrong- they are giving him total control- he can make any budget transfers he wants- this has always had to be voted on by city council members but now he doesnt have to involve council members at all. Now he can do whatever he wants without risk of being fired?! This is exactly how Zapson is going to get all control- The council members can disagree with schirnman but in the end, he can do whatever he wants and get away with it- how disgusting this new admin has been. What exactly are these "other terms as the council deems appropriate"? In light of transparency, shouldn't we know?
truthbetold February 07, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Mr Dunes February 07, 2012 at 10:16 AM
Pete King is Long Beach's and the rest of the third-district's real first Monarch. The man had an entire Town Hall Public Hearing closed SOLELY because I was going to propose legislation for the regulation of light pollution.
LB TAXPAYA February 07, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Is it true LB is in the hole 48 million? According to News 12 it is! Holy Canoli Batman!
laocoon February 07, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Yes it is. The scum running the city keeps bonding everything -- police overtime, lifeguard salaries, rubber trees in city hall. They have robbed the taxpayers and put their kids into debt. Like every other Democrat village: Roosevelt, Freeport, Mastic.
Candygram for Mongo February 07, 2012 at 01:37 PM
So when there is a tax increase, whose fault will it be?
MikeC. February 07, 2012 at 02:16 PM
He can still be let go, they'd just have to pay him the remainder of the contract; just like a NBA player with a guaranteed contract. He'd have to be a fool to move down here without some guarantees. Who would give up a good job, uproot a family and come into this snakepit without one? And that doesn't even include the overpriced housing market.
archie bells February 07, 2012 at 03:37 PM
yes and the council will listen to everything we the people say,because they want to help people,and when these bozo's get voted out of office ,the incoming administration will say "the financial situation is much worse than we thought " nothing changes not even the words they use
Suzie February 07, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I don't get what your problem is. Is it the fact that his salary is a "weird" number? Or the fact that he might be getting health benefits as a city employee? You say at the end of your post that you have a lot of "curious questions." So, why not go to the City Council meeting tonight and ask them? As you point out, "Transparency goes further than taking meetings outside city hall." A policy of transparency can't work unless the citizens take part in meetings and ask all the questions they have to the people who are making the decisions, the city council, instead of just listing your "curious questions" here on a blog.
Candygram for Mongo February 07, 2012 at 07:44 PM
maybe he has an off-shore account in the Caymans
Jay Gusler February 07, 2012 at 08:42 PM
@Jimargaret, Maybe, just maybe, the Council is confident that Mr. Schnirman has the smarts to be able to make the right decisions without them having to hold his hand? And maybe the problems we're confronting demand that the City Manager be given the agility to deal with things as they arise, rather than waiting for the next Council meeting in order to get something authorized? Why must you see everything the new administration does as the manifestation of some Machiavellian plot? Does it not occur to you that unusual times call for unusual methods? Have you at all noted that the 'expanded powers' granted to the City Manager expire with the current budget on June 30, 2012? Do you fear that the City will be so completely ransacked by then that it will be beyond recovery? As one of the architects of the Coalition government, and one of its closest advisers, you should be ashamed to even speak publicly about matters of governance, let alone criticize the policies of others. If, as you insist, the new regime are as inept as you say, and are merely being led around by Zapson, then you should have no problem waltzing back into power in 2013. Till then, take a thorazine. You need to mellow out.
Billy Boy February 07, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Ok- I won't take the new administration at their word- I'll go by the previous administration who could meet the payroll in December. So I think everyone is in agreement that the surplus is gone.
Pam Pruyn February 09, 2012 at 11:07 PM
These comments are so sad. I am hearing sour grapes galore. And pure hatred in some instances. Give them a chance. If they don't do a good job, then vote them out. I honestly think we need a mayor. This council stuff is ridiculous. Truthfully, I like the idea that this council would try going to the various neighborhoods in Long Beach. Very creative actually. I like the open idea of being able to listen to a live feed for meetings. As far as friends and family, I don't think there is a city, state or government who doesn't hire people they trust to work along side of them. Mayors, governors and presidents hire trusted people as commissioners, deputy mayors, chancellors, cabinet members, etc, etc. It is part of the process when one party goes out and another comes in. We can call it anything we want, but the truth is, when you have a job to do, the last thing you need is to be undermined by people who are not on the same page. This is simply a pragmatic fact of life.
Margaret February 09, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Its the fault of the administration who actually votes on a budget that increases our taxes....If the republicans in 2004 can take office and face a nearly $7 million dollar deficit and not raise taxes-- why cant the dems inherit a $100k surplus and avoid raising taxes??? Are they just not capable of creating a budget without raising taxes???
Margaret February 09, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Pam, I agree that in most instances friends and family get jobs-- thats not the dispute. The dispute is that the dems ran on a platform of promising not to hire any friends and family and put an end to that. Then, they get voted in and do the opposite! Thats disgusting
Pam Pruyn February 09, 2012 at 11:51 PM
@ Margaret....I hear what you are saying. I don't know that I find it disgusting, but rather that it was probably unrealistic to say this party would not hire anyone they knew. Then again, the truth is both parties always do the same thing. I am an independent for that very reason.(heading towards NO party affiliation pretty soon if things don't change). I have been both a Republican AND a Democrat but have been dissatisfied with both parties, both locally and nationally. If they are open and above board with the public, I don't begrudge any administration the right to hire the people with whom they are comfortable, with the caveat that they must be QUALIFIED for the job. I don't believe in changing out incompetence for incompetence. Nor do I believe you need to totally clean house for the sake of cleaning house. The people that work in government jobs have families to support too. I think we need to wait and see what happens. Politics aside, this partisan bickering in non-productive at best. I think we need a mayor. It is time. Just my humble opinion.
laocoon February 10, 2012 at 12:18 AM
"Yea, it's only our homes, or families and our life savings that are at stake. Just because they are lying and doing corrupt things, give them a chance. Maybe they won't take everything you worked for all your life. And if they do, then smile and have a nice day. Don't get mean!" Idiots.
Margaret February 10, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Pam, all great points. I wouldn't expect any parties normally to not hire people they feel comfortable with but I said the same thing when they were campaigning to promise to end friends and family. I said over and over, don't make promises that a. you can't keep and b. you have no intention of keeping. And as a response, over and over they said they can keep that promise and wouldn't do it. But then... they get elected and do it anyway


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