City Council Meetings Go Live

New administration plans to live stream and bring government to the people.

A webcam, tripod and laptop will soon become fixtures at Long Beach City Hall, as the new City Council will live stream all of its meetings starting Tuesday.

During her campaign, President Fran Adelson vowed to podcast the meetings. When she and her fellow Democratic running mates Len Torres and Scott Mandel were inducted to the City Council on Jan. 1, Adelson had the ceremony live streamed and the webcast was posted on the city’s website, archived under the “City Government” tab on its homepage. Now the new-look administration will do the same with City Council meetings, which are held the first and third Tuesdays of each month.

“I’m so excited because it will give people who aren’t able to be here the opportunity to know what’s going on in the city and be part of what’s happening,” Adelson said after the induction ceremony, which had a peak of 66 live stream viewers. “And this may inspire them to come to a meeting or at least get involved.”

The trio of equipment cost the city $630, and Gordon Tepper, the city’s director of online communications, will record each meeting using USTREAM.TV. The webcasts will include Good and Welfare sessions, in which residents can address the council on any government-related issue. The sessions have long been held at the council’s first meeting of the month, but at Tuesday’s meeting the council will vote on a resolution to extend these sessions to each meeting.

These measures, including monthly meetings that  council members plan to hold in neighborhoods throughout the city, are aimed at encouraging residents’ participation in local government. “Dialogue with our citizens is very, very important to us, and we want you to know what’s happening in our city,” Adelson said during her induction address.

The administration has also started to revamp the city’s website to make it more user-friendly. Adelson found that portions of site were underutilized. A tab that visitors can use to contact the city via email, for example, was moved from the bottom left of the homepage to near the top and center.

“It was such a small, little feature that it didn’t really work,” Adelson said. “Now that’s the first thing you see when you start reading the page.”

Adelson also plans to include a “community videos” section, to keep users informed about the goings-on in the city. “We want to have different organizations and different people send us videos,” Adelson said.

The city is already making more use of the scroll feature on the homepage. “Any time there is some kind of important notice, we will feature it prominently on the main page,” Gordon Tepper said.

When Tepper started to work for the city last June, he immediately launched the city’s official Facebook and Twitter pages. As of Monday, the Facebook page has 1,754 fans and Twitter has 194 followers. The Facebook account attracted many new fans as Hurricane Irene slammed the city last August, and Tepper was constantly updating the social media pages with information.

“The social networking sites are, in many ways, far more valuable than the actual City of Long Beach website,” Tepper said. “People may visit our website once a week or once a month, but they'll probably log into Facebook virtually every day.”

CP January 18, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Awesome, off street parking was not waived for Synergy Fitness.
laocoon January 20, 2012 at 03:06 AM
We have a comptroller who is not an accounting and a City Engineer who is not an engineer. What are they? Democrat hacks.
laocoon January 20, 2012 at 03:07 AM
"Gordon Tepper, the city’s director of online communications" You can't make this stuff up!
Bobby January 20, 2012 at 01:15 PM
maybe im missing something? it sounds like hes actualyl doing a good job. i like being able to watch the council meetings from my apartmetn. it also seems like theres been a greater number of articles and quotes on the news websites from long beach. somebody is doing something right?
Candygram for Mongo January 20, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Yes - you are missing rabble rabble friends and family rabble
Shawn January 21, 2012 at 07:49 PM
City Manager Jack Schirnman and his newly hired friends don't have to wait 6 months for health insurance but EVERY other city of long beach employee ust wait the full 6 months. Huge double standard set forth by Fagen, Mandel, Torres, and Adelson. Why are your friends and family who you just hired more important than all other city employees?? Oh and FYI- this is costing us tax payers an extra $24,000 since they were granted this friends and family privilege. Didn't you guys say we are in a huge financial crisis?
paul.d.spellman January 21, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Shawn, The city needs to do everything possible to hire the most qualified candidates for the higher positions in city government. Including offering increased salaries and benefits. They are the most important cogs in this machine. The new hires that have been afforded this health insurance plan could have easily gotten jobs elsewhere. The other less qualified people who have to wait 6 months should be happy to just have a job.
Shawn January 21, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Paul, not the case. The "most qualified" people just happened to be all of Schirnman and Zapsons friends?? How ironic. And Jeff Nogid is the most qualified yet isnt even a certified accountant and hes in charge of overseeing all of the accounting?? These jobs weren't even posted, so there was no search to find the "most qualified".. so now how do you explain your reasoning?
Shawn January 21, 2012 at 08:20 PM
And just to add, Paul... 'these people should just be happy to have jobs"? I value and appreciate all of our CSEA and non union workers that work hard to make LB a great place to live. Please don't disregard them and act as if Schirnman and Zapsons newly hired friends are better than the LB residents who have been working here in LB everyday and for years. They deserve the same respect as the dems give to their newly hired friends from suffolk and around the county.
Candygram for Mongo January 21, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Friends and family friends and family
LI Resistance January 21, 2012 at 10:00 PM
We get the goverment we deserve.
LI Resistance January 21, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Open goverment , a campaing promise . What a joke .
LI Resistance January 21, 2012 at 10:05 PM
I heard they are Sulffolk County democrats hack . I also hear the local democrats hacks are not very happy with their leadership because they gave away jobs to others instead of the local democrat members.
joe January 21, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Let's take a look at the recent hirings, dismissals, demotions and promotions. We got rid of Tom Sofield sr.a college grad, Viet Namn vet,Air Force Capt and pilot and we relaced him with Mike Tagney HS grad? We demoted Lisa Mulligan Harvard Grad with two masters and replace her with Karri Mollet HS grad with absolutley no experience in management. We dismissed Ms. Navarro who has a degree from Carnegie Mellon many years experience in her position and an umblemished reputation of community service going back over 2 decades. No replacement has been named and I can't wait to see which one of the local uneducated hacks appointed to her position. All of the police Lts., all college grads have been reassigned to the graveyard shift. Executive Officer of the PD Jack Radin has been replaced by Sgt Danny Larson, this is the biggest joke of all as Larson has been very lucky to even keep his job let alone be getting a promotion. Lets not forget dumping Sandra Calson for Nogid with no CPA and has experience with Enron and Nassau County(kind of like promoting the fact that you were the Capt of the Titanic. Make no mistake the recent pesonnel changes have NOTHING to with getting the best and brightest it all about bringing in political hacks and political retribution
Eddie January 21, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Is it true that they are paying someone a full time salary to set up a video camera at the council hearings?
paul.d.spellman January 22, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Shawn, You can value and appreciate the CSEA and non-union workers, and yes they do deserve respect. But you must realize that in order to correct the issues facing this city the leaders must look for the best people and in some case that will mean outside of Long Beach. And then when found they must bring entice the most qualified candidates with increased benefits and higher salaries. The current administration wants the cream of the crop at the top and if they get health benefits earlier that others that is the price we must pay. CSEA members are easily replaced, people of the caliber of Schnirman and Nogid are few and far between and we are lucky to have them working for this city.
paul.d.spellman January 22, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Yes and a night differential since the meetings are held after 5:00PM
Eddie January 22, 2012 at 12:30 AM
When do the Council Democrats vote to exceed the 2% cap on property tax increases to pay for this stuff? Or is that secret too?
Datt Matt January 22, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Yes! However, don't forget that it was the Sofield administration that hired Mr. Tepper in the first place. He is a full time employee and a CSEA member and therefore is "entitled" to OT on the evenings that he is "recalled" to work for City Council meetings.
Shawn January 22, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Mr. Spellman, can you please respond to my previous post? I'll re-type it here.. Paul, not the case. The "most qualified" people just happened to be all of Schirnman and Zapsons friends?? How ironic. And Jeff Nogid is the most qualified yet isnt even a certified accountant and hes in charge of overseeing all of the accounting?? These jobs weren't even posted, so there was no search to find the "most qualified".. so now how do you explain your reasoning?
Shawn January 22, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Mr. Spellman, you haven't responded to my post: The "most qualified" people just happened to be all of Schirnman and Zapsons friends?? How ironic. And Jeff Nogid is the most qualified yet isnt even a certified accountant and hes in charge of overseeing all of the accounting?? These jobs weren't even posted, so there was no search to find the "most qualified".. so now how do you explain your reasoning?
Candygram for Mongo January 23, 2012 at 01:19 AM
I will respond in his stead: the most qualified (and who have proven that they can in fact understand the English language) are now in place. Don't you worry about anything else (ie. stop poking around)
Shawn January 23, 2012 at 04:17 AM
MeAgain, what makes these people the most qualified? The dems didn't do a search to find the most qualified-- and surely the most qualified comptroller, who is in charge of overseeing our accounting and is NOT a certified accountant is not the most qualified person we can find. The dems are doing exactly what they promised not to. However, I am pleasantly surprised with Gordon Tepper-- he is doing a great job with constantly updating the city's facebook page and website
Bobby January 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Shawn is spot on. I'm not sure about the comptroller but Tepper is apparently apolitical and a true professional. He seems to be generating a lot of press coverage for Schnirman and company as well. So Tepper is actually an exception to the friends & family lazy hack rule, good for him.
Candygram for Mongo January 23, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Don't you worry - we have it all worked out
laocoon January 23, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Apolitical? Are you kidding or ignorant? He's the son of a lifetime-appointed Democrat judge. For his salary you could get an IT guy with a PHD. Maybe he does a good job, but the job should be Civil Service and appointed by examination. More typical corruption.
Vera January 23, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Well, lets hope the new comptroller is better than the last one who knew the city was broke, yet played along with the coalition's goal to hide that fact till after the election. I don't think the last comptroller was a CPA either, was she? And how many times did we hear the coalition hacks talk about how we won't know about the surplus till after the audit and Moody's Moody's Moody's! They knew LB was broke. Some people are too stuck on party lines, rather than giving the new leadership a chance. I have to admit - so far they seem alot better than the coalition. Are they perfect? doubtful, but they seem to be a far cry better then the coalition and their financial deception. Bet charlie is glad he doesn't live here and the outgoing council should hang their head in shame as they walk down the street for the mess they left this city in, the last minute promotions to their hacks and for screwing their neighbors.
Vera January 23, 2012 at 05:40 PM
In all honesty, i couldn't give a darn if people are CSEA and non-union workers. What this city needs are people who will do the job and do it right. I could care less where they live - the previous administration has show us that LB residents do not necessarily do what is right for the city because they are too worried about who butters their bread. I do like the fact that the new city manager is moving to Long Beach, so far he seems like he is doing a far superior job than the prior city manager.
Candygram for Mongo January 23, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Let's hope they don't put feces on his car
Bobby January 23, 2012 at 09:24 PM
laocoon? do you even live in long beach? judges are not appointed in long beach, they are voted in, nor are they lifetime positions, elections every ten years. also, according to these sites, gordon was appointed by the coalition and is a civil service employee, appointed by examination. never let facts get in the way of a good, angry story. the best part is that he probably is an it guy with a phd. full disclosure, i've never even met him. so which side is the corrupt one, the one that hired him or the one that is in power now? not everything is an evil conspiracy about giving unqualified hacks jobs.


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