This is an archive of a past election.|
See http://www.smartvoter.org/ca/la/ for current information.
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Role of Mayor and Council
City of Long Beach
12,873 / 58.0% Yes votes ...... 9,338 / 42.0% No votes
Index of all Measures
|Information shown below: Summary | Impartial Analysis | Arguments ||
Shall Proposition A which amends the Long Beach City Charter by: modifying the Mayoral veto to require a 2/3 City Council vote to override; creating a line-item Mayoral veto of the City's annual budget; modifying the Mayor/City Council authority to appoint and remove the City Manager and City Clerk, and to confirm the appointment of the Assistant City Manager; and modifying the Mayor/City Council authority to remove Commissioners, be adopted?
Background:: Long Beach operates under a Council/Manager form of government, which essentially means the City Council sets policy and appoints the City Manager to execute those policies. The Manager is responsible for hiring department heads and city manager staff. The city Charter also provides for a separately elected Mayor with limited powers. This measure would strengthen the power of the Mayor.
The Way It Is Now:
Presently, the Mayor is empowered to veto actions taken by the City Council. The City Council may then override the Mayor's veto with a vote of five of its members for ordinances and resolutions, six of its members for the City's budget ordinance, and two-thirds of its members present for minute orders. The proposed amendment would modify this procedure to strengthen the Mayor's veto authority by permitting the City Council to override the Mayor's veto with a vote of two-thirds of its members for ordinances and resolutions, and two-thirds of its members present for minute orders.
Presently, the Mayor is only empowered to veto the City Council's approval of the annual budget in its entirety. The proposed amendment would increase the time periods within which the Mayor and City Council may consider the budget, and would permit the Mayor to reduce or eliminate any specific expenditure in the budget approved by the City Council (a "line item veto"). The City Council may then override this veto and restore the expenditure with a vote of two-thirds of its members.
Presently, the City Council is empowered to appoint and to remove the City Manager with a vote of five of its members. The proposed amendment would permit the Mayor to veto this appointment or removal, subject to an override by the City Council by a vote of two-thirds of its members.
Presently, the City Manager is empowered to appoint the Assistant City Manager, subject to confirmation of the City Council. The proposed amendment would permit the Mayor to veto the City Council's approval of this appointment, subject to an override by the City Council by a vote of two-thirds of its members.
Presently, the City Council is empowered to appoint and to remove the City Clerk with a vote of five of its members. The proposed amendment would permit the Mayor to veto this appointment or removal, subject to an override by the City Council by a vote of two-thirds of its members.
Presently, the City Council is empowered to remove a member of a Charter-mandated commission only in the case of incompetence, malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty or conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. The proposed amendment would permit the Mayor to remove a member of a Charter-mandated commission at any time, upon the concurrence of two-thirds of the City Council.
|Arguments For Proposition A||Arguments Against Proposition A|
|Proposition A is a common-sense proposal that will improve the efficiency and accountability of our City government. These recommendations come after more than two years of consideration beginning with the 2004 Government Reform Task Force and subsequent deliberation by the City Council.
We respectfully request YES on A.
Senator Alan Lowenthal
So why this election? The city council gave no rationale.
But a low turnout election, with few independent-minded voters, will ease passage of the Council’s insider-deal propositions that politicians and their appointees can happily endorse to oblige their colleagues.
Prop. A makes commissioners even more beholden to the few who appoint them. Props. B and C loosens Council term limits and allows a fig-leaf commission to boost Council salaries. Prop. H pretends to ‘update’ the city’s oil tax and help public safety, while quietly keeping Long Beach an oil producers’ tax haven. The other propositions, minor in effect, just add number and topical variety, as if thereby to justify holding an election.
A No on Prop A (and the others) will send several needed big messages. We need to address our real problems - like getting police on our streets now - and real charter reform, not waste of a million dollars and voter inconvenience in order to rubber-stamp power-grabs or minor changes.
|For years Council and City Hall have admitted need for many more police on our streets. They always postpone the police. But they readily found a million dollars for this extra charter-change election.
For all the expense, Council’s proposals are very modest: cosmetic or else politicians’ petty power grabs or transfers. But our politicians present these propositions as impressive evidence that they are working expertly and importantly to fine-tune an already fine city charter.
The charter is actually a disaster and needs not fine-tuning but wholesale change. Its concept and structure for municipal governance are archaic and anti-democratic, suited not to a large 21-st century city, but to a 19-th century village or a closely-held corporation run by a few robber barons. Between election days, out of 350,000 adult Long Beach citizens, only a few dozen officials (elected politicians and appointed commissioners) have any power to decide anything. We ordinary citizens - in our home town - have none. We cannot even readily agendize matters for the Council to consider. We are treated less as citizens than as cash-cow customers of city enterprises.
Prop. A gives a few extra powers to the Mayor. You may like its small changes, but a No on Prop A (and the others) will send some needed big messages:
We are citizens, not cash-cows. The city shouldn’t be spending a million dollars to rubber-stamp minor power-grabs and paper shuffles. We need many more police on the streets now, not just maybe next year. We need real charter reform, so that we citizens become empowered partners in addressing the city’s deep problems.