Poll: Plain and Simple Fraud

By: 
Stephen Downing

On July 1 the Beachcomber published an article entitled CPCC Authority Gutted by Proposed Charter Amendment, which included an extremely critical analysis of the amendment by eight experts who found that the amendment recommended by City Manager Tom Modica completely neutered the Citizen Police Complaint Commission (CPCC).

On July 29 a second article entitled City Manager Misleads CPCC Charter Amendment Committee was published following the second of three legally required Charter Committee meetings.

That article detailed objections by members of the public and concerns generated by the “generalized and vague responses” by the city manager and his assistant to questions related to the content of the proposed amendment.

Also reported in the second article was the fact that the city manager had ordered a $53,000 poll in June to “help inform the City Council on whether to place these items on the ballot or not.”

Polling Results Published

The Charter Amendment and Ballot Measure Polling Results were published on the City Manager’s web site July 29 and sent via memorandum to the mayor and members of the City Council.

In his memo City Manager Tom Modica justified the $53,000 survey to “gauge support” for the Charter Amendment(s) as “a standard practice for public agencies while they are in the research stage of whether to invest time and resources to place items before voters for consideration.”

Modica reported that data was collected between July 2 and July 10 from “898 likely November 2022 voters” and that “survey respondents were presented with a mock ballot summary and asked to vote.” He added, “Additionally, voters received pro and con arguments about each measure and were then asked to vote a second time.”

Modica summarized the poll findings on what he called the “Police Oversight Commission” stating: “A solid majority of Long Beach voters support amending the City Charter to establish a seven-member Police Oversight Commission, with 63% of those surveyed initially indicating that they would vote yes to approve the Charter Amendment.”

Modica wrote: “Following statements from supporters and opponents of this Charter Amendment, six in ten (60%) continue to vote in favor and one-third (33%) oppose.”

As can be seen in the charts taken from the survey the text for the “Citizen Police Complaint Commission Charter Amendment asks first if the current CPCC Charter should be amended and restated to establish a Police Oversight Commission and add a director of police oversight.”

The statement is factually incorrect.

The CPCC is currently empowered as an “Oversight Commission” because the existing Charter provides the commissioners with the authority to investigate citizen complaints, the power to subpoena witnesses and documents, the authority to swear witnesses, hold hearings and the authority to recommend adjudication classification to the city manager, who maintains final authority to discipline police officers.

What the statement does not reveal is that all of the oversight authorities currently held by the CPCC commission will be eliminated, that the new position of director of police oversight will not retain any of those authorities and that the commission no longer has any oversight function other than to “provide feedback to the police oversight director” who is hired and fired by the City Council rather than the civilian CPCC commissioners.

For, Against Statements

After reviewing the for and against statements used in the polling, civil rights attorney Tom Beck said, “The first sentence in the “supporters say column” is false and misleading and should not withstand legal review prior to being placed on the ballot.”

Beck said, “The commission does not accumulate more authority and independence to conduct oversight and review of the LBPD. In fact, if passed in its current form the CPCC commission will lose all of its current authority.

The attorney added, “While (the CPCC) is not as strong as it could be, the current charter beats the hell out of the proposed changes. Any suggestion that the amendment will improve civilian oversight is plain and simple a fraud.”

When addressing the opponents statement used in the survey, Beck found it to be a diversion from the facts, stating: “Asking about crime rate knowledge and attitudes diverts attention away from the reasons for the statements.”

How Statement Should Read

The Beachcomber consulted with several experts to frame a factual “Opponents Say” statement that would more likely pass legal muster prior to placement on the ballot. It follows here:

“Opponents say the current CPCC can be improved but this measure eliminates the civilian oversight that is in place. All of the current CPCC civilian commissioner authorities to investigate, subpoena witnesses and documents, swear witnesses, hold investigative hearings and recommend adjudication classifications to the city manager are purged. The proposed director of police oversight is not authorized to conduct any investigation unless requested by the city manager. The results of the director’s audits are not guaranteed public transparency or implementation and the director is hired and fired by the City Council, thus subject to politicized supervision.

Beachcomber Survey

The Beachcomber posted a survey on Aug. 1 stating: “A Measure has been proposed to amend the authority of the Citizen Police Complaint Commission. How will you vote on Nov. 7? YES received 7% and NO received 93% of the votes registered.

On Aug. 9 the City Council voted 9-0 to place the proposed amendment on the ballot after a motion for further study made by Councilmember Al Austin failed 3-6 with Mungo and Supernaw supporting Austin’s motion.

 

 

Stephen Downing is a Long Beach resident and a retired LAPD deputy chief of police. stephen.beachcomber@gmail.com

 

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Comments

Corruption in the LBC..what is going to be done and who will be held accountable? Nothing and NO ONE!!

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