CARP Opposes Charter Amendments

Citizens About Responsible Planning (CARP) Monday made the following statements in opposition to charter amendments that will be discussed at the final session for public comment at a meeting to be hosted on August 7 at  3 p.m. in p.m. in council chambers:
 
CARP opposes placing any measures on any ballot at this time, for the following reasons.
 
Fiscal responsibility: Ballot placement of up to five measures is estimated to cost $470-$650K; with likely hefty added costs for publicity to voters. There has been no cost-benefit analysis to determine if any of the proposed changes are worth these costs. Long Beach residents have instead made clear that there are far higher public spending priorities for each of the required dollars: these priorities include health, public safety, housing, and abatement of noise and pollution. The proposed measures not only address no public priorities or crises, but in fact – apart from term limits – they could all first be tried and refined without costs and inflexibility of charter changes.
 
Public involvement: Expensive charter change via the ballot should focus on serious reforms - not city officials’ self-serving tweaks – and should be the result of extended public discussion and deliberation. Hearings should be conducted at times feasible for the public to attend, not working hours like 3 p.m.
 
Due respect to voters: The city’s Measure M ‘information’ campaign targeted mailers to 43 percent of voter households. These households were treated as privileged and deserving of these costly tax-paid mailers, while the remaining 57 percent were treated as unworthy without rights to this tax-paid information source. Moreover, both the mailers and the city’s special Measure M website omitted the most essential voter information: the measure’s actual text (or even a link to it)! The council is responsible for both gross injustices to voters, and therefore before sponsoring further ballot measures, must first apologize and take further steps to empower voters, such as restoring citizen ability to agendize items for council meetings. If moreover city staff acted independently, without council knowledge or approval, then council must terminate the city manager or otherwise severely discipline staff.
 
Joe Weinstein, CARP president added “New ballot measures must be truly needed and fiscally responsible, must seriously involve the public and be in accord with public priorities, and can come only after demonstrated commitment to essential information and fair treatment of voters.”

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