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Top Long Beach Stories of 2012

A review of the year’s biggest stories in the city.

Len Torres is sworn in as a member of the Long Beach City Council at the induction ceremony in January.
Len Torres is sworn in as a member of the Long Beach City Council at the induction ceremony in January.
2012 was a news-filled year for Long Beach, from the induction of a new administration at City Hall to efforts to correct the city's financial woes to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. The following are some of the top stories this year. 

Hurricane Sandy Leaves Thousands Powerless in Long Beach: Extreme flooding, fires and destruction were widespread across Long Beach after Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the barrier island Oct. 29. The city was left powerless, the sewer system was incapacitated and a water-consumption ban was issued in the wake of the storm. As Sandy barged through the barrier island, a fire ripped into 10 homes in the Canals neighborhood, the dunes were wiped away on both the east and west ends of town, sections of the boardwalk were torn apart and trees were downed throughout. The cost of the storm to the city is estimated at more than $200 million.

Democratic Team Inducted into City Council: On New Year's Day, Democrats Len Torres, Scott Mandel and Fran Adelson were sworn into the City Council at City Hall, after which Adelson was elected president. The trio join fellow Democrat Michael Fagen and Republican John McLaughlin on the five-seat council, and Jack Schnirman, a former chief deputy supervisor at the Township of Brookhaven, was sworn in as the new city manager.

Mininsky Victor in School Election, Second Seat Undecided: While newcomer Stewart Mininsky picked up the most votes in the Board of Education election in May, the vote totals between the two incumbent candidates, Darlene Tangney and Gina Guma, showed a tie. The day after the election and recounts, Tangney had disputed the validity of one absentee ballot for Guma. The following week, Guma announced that she would step aside, and Tangney won a second term in an uncontested run-off election in June.

Tangney Appointed Long Beach Police CommissionerMichael Tangney, a 34-year member of the Long Beach Police Department, was appointed commissioner of the department in March. 

Fran Adelson Steps Down as Council President: In July, Fran Adelson stepped down as president of the Long Beach City Council, as the administration announced a policy of “Rotating City Council Officers.” Fellow Democrat Len Torres was appointed the new president.

City Council Passes Budget Despite Calls to Delay Vote: By a vote of 3-2, the City Council in May approved the $87.9 million 2012-13 budget, despite calls from council members, union officials, taxpayers and city employees to table the vote on the document another week.

Long Beach City Council Declares Fiscal Emergency: The City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution officially declaring a fiscal emergency in February.

Councilman Fagen Indicted for Stealing $14K in Unemployment Benefits: In February, a grand jury indicted Councilman Michael Fagen for stealing more than $14,000 in unemployment compensation by concealing his employment as an elected city official from the state labor department, according to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. But Fagen's attorney maintains his client's innocence and called the case a "political witch hunt."

Weisenberg Wins 12th Assembly Term: Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) defeated a spirited challenge from Lawrence School Board Member Dr. David Sussman on Election Day in November. Weisenberg earned a 12th term as the 20th district’s representative in Albany with 18,100 votes, or 55 percent of the vote, to Sussman’s 14,710 votes, or 44 percent.

Long Beach's Looming Credit Downgrade is Lifted: In June, Moody's Investors Service confirmed the City of Long Beach's Baa3 bond rating on $48.3 million outstanding general obligation debt, lifting the municipality’s potential downgrade to junk status.

* If you think there are other stories that should have been included in Top Stories, let us know in the comments.

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