Letters to the Editor

SB 9 Density Bill

I strongly oppose SB 9 and would like to tell you why. It would allow and encourage denser zoning, resulting in the degradation of desirable, stable neighborhoods.

Developer’s profits do not justify compromising established residents’ rights. In a more general way there are limits associated with sustainability. At a certain point encouraging more people to live in a certain area results in a diminished quality of life. This is not to say that “fewer” is always better; rather, it a fact tha “more” can be too many, and more than that, a disaster.

I do not claim it is easy to know where limits lie, but good planning, good planners are a good start. And ordinary, interested residents will have important things to contribute. I believe thoughless expansion is a more common danger than most recognized.

Peter Devereaux

 

City Non-Compliant

[Open letter to Long Beach City Attorney and City Manager]

I write regarding the Enterprise Systems Catalogue posted on the City of Long Beach’s webpage. This catalogue is missing most known enterprise systems in use by the Long Beach Police Department, which puts Long Beach out of compliance with SB 272.

I have written you both, as I am unsure if this non-compliance is the product of incorrect legal advice or a failure of the city manager’s office to oversee LBPD’s compliance with state law.

Senate Bill 272 requires public agencies that respond to public records requests to publicly disclose on their websites all enterprise systems in use, with very limited exceptions. The law was passed in recognition of the fact that “new information technology has dramatically changed the way people search for and expect to find information in California.”

This letter asks that you bring Long Beach into compliance with SB 272 by updating the city’s posted Enterprise System Catalogue with all missing enterprise systems and/or establishing a separate LBPD Enterprise System Catalogue.

The city and LBPD also need to establish procedures for keeping any Enterprise System Catalogues updated. It appears Long Beach has not updated its Enterprise System Catalogue since its creation, despite a duty to do so annually under Cal. Gov. Code § 6270.5(f).

State law defines an enterprise system as “a software application or computer system that collects, stores, exchanges, and analyzes information that the agency uses that is both of the following: (A) A multi-departmental system or a system that contains information collected about the public. (B) A system of record. “System of record” means a system that serves as an original source of data within an agency.”

SB 272’s stated purpose is furthering the purpose of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution by assisting the people in exercising their right of public access to the meetings of local public bodies and the writings of local public offcials and agencies.

The California Constitution states, “the people have the right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business, and, therefore, the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies shall be open to public scrutiny.”

The California Constitution requires that any law related to public access to meetings or documents “shall be broadly construed if it furthers the people’s right of access, and narrowly construed if it limits the right of access.”

Clearly, Long Beach’s SB 272 compliance is inadequate. While other cities and counties have extensive multi-page lists covering all their agencies and departments, Long Beach has a single page list covering core systems used by City Hall.

Long Beach lists only 23 enterprise systems, with some multi-purpose systems repeated, and no enterprise systems specific to the LBPD. By way of comparison the County of Los Angeles lists almost 400 systems.

On the L.A. County list, the Sheriff’s Department is listed as the sole user for 28 of the 400 systems. The LBPD also uses many of these systems, including but not limited to: Vigilant Solutions’ Automated License Plate database, the LACRIS facial recognition database, multiple other biometric identification databases, inmate tracking, inmate visitation, CLETS, gang databases, and systems related to video surveillance.

The City of Long Beach’s list should include all the law enforcement specific systems the LBPD uses, except for 9-11 dispatch systems, which are exempt. However, Long Beach’s list does not include a single LBPD specific system.

The Internet Archive shows that the city’s list has not been changed since its creation. This is despite the city adopting new technologies like Zen City social media monitoring software, running a COVID-19 infection and vaccination tracking program, and making other advances like the new Long Beach Data Portal, datalb.longbeach.gov/.

Some of the Long Beach Data Portal data was collected using currently undisclosed LBPD enterprise systems, such as whatever systems the LBPD used to collect Racial Identity and Profiling Act data.

Attempts were made to get the LBPD to identify their enterprise systems through California Public Records Act (CPRA) requests, but the response received from the LBPD was that “the enterprise system catalog that the city published listed applications used by the majority of the city’s departments, including PD.”

Regardless of the LBPD’s position, the law is clear on the matter.

The City of Long Beach and its employees have a duty to follow state law. Beyond that, the city is wasting resources by failing to disclose LBPD enterprise systems as required by law.

Due to the city’s non-compliance with SB 272, I have had to file numerous CPRA requests to uncover information the city should have posted online. Others who desire this information have to file their own CPRA requests, as the city does not make completed CPRA requests public as other cities do to cut down on duplicate requests.

The city attorney is currently wasting resources responding to a lawsuit over the LBPD’s failure to disclose its facial recognition program in a past CPRA response in 2019. This is a truly absurd situation given that the facial recognition program should have been disclosed in 2016 on the Enterprise System Catalogue.

The L.A. Sheriff’s department, which runs one of the three facial recognition databases used by the LBPD, follows the law and discloses its use of facial recognition databases on its Enterprise Systems Catalogue. The City of Long Beach should follow L.A. County’s lead on compliance.

I urge you to bring the City of Long Beach into compliance with SB 272 and establish procedures across all city departments (including police) that ensure the Enterprise Systems Catalogue is accurate and is updated annually as required by law.

Please advise of your position by July 9, 2021. The law on compliance is quite clear and it would be a shame to waste more city resources litigating this matter.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to your prompt action and response.

Gregory Buhl
Attorney/Founder of CheckLBPD

 

Drone Program

Jaw-dropping, vein-popping, fuse-blowing. [LBPD Drone Program Lacks Rules, June 4 & 18]

We’re slowly creeping into police state territory, being led by the hand of a smooth-talking Kraken dressed as a charismatic mayor. With “progressives” like that, who needs fascists?

Carlos Ovalle

 

Realistically, the drones don’t do anything that their helicopter didn’t already do. Except they are quieter and cheaper to operate.

Maybe they can put more looters and criminals in jail. I say turn them loose. Get more drones. We are too tolerant of criminality. Let the police do their jobs.

Michelle Roolie

 

Defund Police?

Since the LA teacher’s union is demanding to defund the police and not let them on campus, are police unions demanding charter school enhancements to the budget?  Why do public unions exist?  Should we ask the Democratic Party fundraisers?

Vance Frederick

 

Prune

Not the fruit. The verb. To prune a tree is to remove the branches and shoots that do not serve its growth and vigor, allowing energy to be used elsewhere to produce more fruit, more flowers, and stronger branches. The year 2020 was most certainly an unprecedented year of unanticipated pruning.

When the comfort of our world as we knew it suddenly changed due to the pandemic, our social enterprise was dramatically reduced in a matter of days. All 19 of our retail locations, auction center, and donation centers were closed. We are pleased to inform you that Goodwill SOLAC did not conduct mass furloughs or layoffs, but instead, applied for the State of California EDD Work Sharing Program, allowing our staff to remain employed and operating in a reduced capacity.

For Goodwill SOLAC’s leadership, there were no obstacles that lessened the commitment to our Mission and Purpose. We immediately altered our mindset, engaged in innovative thinking, and leapt into uncharted territory. By pivoting and focusing on those new elements, we successfully accomplished the following (and more) throughout 2020:

  • Goodwill SOLAC’s inspiring truck drivers worked tirelessly, assisting nearly 300,000 donors, and ensured each day that all our facilities remained clear of illegal dumping.
  • Goodwill SOLAC’s program services quickly shifted from in-person to virtual services, which skyrocketed. We were able to adapt swiftly and continued to place individuals into essential jobs.
  • Our State Certified Nurse Training classes transitioned to an online learning platform, with graduates immediately becoming employed and serving local hospitals and assisted care communities.
  • We moved to virtual job fairs, interviewing, and hiring.
  • Our online shopping via shopgoodwill.com/longbeach and eBay has grown 125% year over year at the time of this writing.
  • We relocated our Last Chance operation to a larger 21,000 square foot facility.
  • LiNKS Sign Language and Interpreting Services® remained operational, albeit remotely, and had a 94% fill rate.
  • We moved from an in-person Celebrate the Power of Work Awards annual event to a virtual experience in 2021, and included musical guests Dave Coz, Eric Darius and Erin Stevenson!

With so much occurring last year, we are ever grateful for your support and for the opportunity to continue to fulfill our mission.

Janet McCarthy, President & CEO
Anitra Dempsey, Board Chair

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