Council Members May Have Violated City Code When They Abandoned Posts In Support of Measure WW

By: 
Long Beach Hospitality Alliance

The four Long Beach City Council Members who walked out of the council chamber Oct. 23 before casting votes on a hotel safety ordinance – the second time in six weeks the four abandoned their duties – may have violated a city municipal code.

Long Beach Municipal Code 2.03.050-B that was enacted in 1981 specifies that council members are required to cast votes "except when a conflict of interest exists and abstention is required by state law. Every member of the council who is present when a roll is called shall vote for or against the question, unless excused by a majority of the members present, prior to the calling of the roll on such question."

Council Members Lena Gonzalez, Jeannine Pearce, Roberto Uranga and Rex Richardson participated in council discussions about the proposed city ordinance requiring all work-alone hotel employees to carry panic buttons. Before the vote was called, however, all four dramatically left the council chambers, effectively failing to perform their elected and statutory duties.

“We need council members who do their jobs,” said Randy Gordon, president and CEO of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. “Casting votes is critical to how elected leaders represent voters. When they don’t, they effectively abandon their duties and abandon the trust Long Beach puts in them to fulfill their roles.”

The proposed ordinance passed, 5-0, and ensures the safety of all hotel workers, not just hotels with 50-plus rooms as mandated by Measure WW, which has the support of the four council members who also abandoned their posts in September when the ordinance was first proposed. It is scheduled for a second vote Nov. 13.

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