Bits 'n' Pieces

LBRC Files Suit Toward Measure A Recount

On behalf of the Long Beach Reform Coalition (LBRC), California election law litigation firm Strumwasser & Woocher last week filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against the county’s chief election officer, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan. The litigation seeks a writ of mandate and injunctive relief to force Logan to restart the recount of Long Beach Measure A as a traditional, paper ballot recount at a reasonable cost.

“If successful, our litigation effectively will return to the public its right to verify election outcomes, rather than relying purely on non-transparent computerized tabulation,” said LBRC Executive Director Ian Patton.

In March’s primary election, Logan was responsible for implementing an entirely new voting system, called VSAP (an acronym for Voting Solutions for All People), which counts votes electronically without an auditable paper trail of ballots.

“Unbelievably, the design for the $300 million new VSAP system, custom developed for LA County and ten years in the making, apparently did not consider recounts, something that should be one of the most basic functions of an election system,” Patton said.

The VSAP system was developed in the wake of the 2000 presidential election debacle in Florida and the subsequent Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, which required all new voting systems to have an auditable paper trail.

The fundamental change in ballot collection caused by VSAP is that anyone can vote at any vote center in the county. This takes hundreds of thousands of ballots, which used to be pre-sorted by polling precinct, and instead mixes them all together. As a result, VSAP has rendered a human, paper trail audit of the original machine count, a logistical hurdle.

Local Organization Donates to Food Bank

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing hundreds – possibly thousands – of families in Long Beach to rely on food banks for their only source of nutrition. Because of the shutdown of many restaurants, food that is usually available to the food banks is just not there. Therefore, food banks are running out of food products and will need to buy some for the many needy families.

Last week the Long Beach Area Peace Network (LBAPN) announced a $1,000 donation to Urban Community Outreach (UCR). Based at the First Congregational Church, UCR runs a food bank supplying services for people in need.

UCR supplies respite, nutrition, as well as opportunity and hope to their guests. Their services include permanent housing assistance, temporary/transitional housing, on-site healthcare services and support for undocumented people.

The UCR Executive Director Julie Lie thinks the donation is fabulous. She said, “Peace occurs in all sorts of ways. In this time of pandemic, we are happy to step up and give aid and love to our fellow residents.”

LBAPN is a local community organization dedicated to serving the cause of peace at home and abroad. The organization supports local and national organizations that fight for social, economic and environmental justice.

Commander Smith Named Deputy Police Chief

Long Beach Police Chief Robert G. Luna announced today the selection of Commander Robert Smith to the position of deputy chief. On June 6, Smith will assume command of the Long Beach Police Department’s support bureau, which includes the jail, training, port police and security services divisions.

Deputy Chief Robert Smith began his career as a police officer with the Long Beach Police Department in 1990. His assignments have included working in patrol, as a field-training officer, community policing, drug enforcement and the special enforcement section. He has extensive experience in community policing and at one point led the Police Department’s community oriented public safety (COPS) office.

Deputy Chief Smith has also served as the commander of the internal affairs division, west patrol division, gang and violent crimes division, and was most recently assigned to the field support division.

Deputy Chief Smith holds an Associate of Arts Degree from Golden West College and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from California State University Fullerton. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California Delinquency Control Institute and the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy, 234th session.

Faster Sidewalk Repairs

Assembly Bill 2932 authored by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell passed the Assembly Local Government Committee today. It will expedite the construction of sidewalks and make other infrastructure improvements for Long Beach residents.

“This bill will remove unnecessary delays and puts shovels in the ground sooner,” Assemblymember O’Donnell said. “I am proud to work with the City of Long Beach to ensure our infrastructure is safe and accessible for all.”

AB 2932 will allow the city to issue contracts for sidewalk construction projects by incorporating both the design and construction processes all in one-step. The streamlined process for bidding and awarding these contracts will expedite the upgrade of sidewalks and curbs as soon as possible.

The bill now goes to the assembly floor.

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