Letters to the Editor

Only Cure: Vote

On Mother’s Day as I frantically drove my husband, who was experiencing chest pain, past the shuttered Community Hospital to the next-closest emergency room – conveniently located on the other side of the city – I not-so-silently cursed our genius city officials, who voted (against their own staff’s advice) for one of the stupidest deals in Long Beach history: the closure of the only hospital and emergency room on the east side of town, with we taxpayers having to pay $30 million dollars to the failed developer.

As I drove by that closed-up hospital while my husband was suffering from the classic symptoms of a heart attack, it became more abundantly clear to me than ever that Long Beach is suffering from the classic symptoms of political corruption. Something needs to change, stat!

Like a malignant disease, bad governance begins at the local level and is carried by infected, self-serving politicians, as they step on our heads on their climb up the political ladder, spreading that disease throughout the entire governmental system. Here’s looking at you, Robert Garcia.

The only cure we the people have for this malady is to educate ourselves, scrutinize the candidates and VOTE.

Thankfully, my husband is home and well. I wish the same could be said for the corruption-afflicted Long Beach political system.

Merry Colvin

Recently, I assembled a legal team to fight against higher water and sewer rates. We won and the city must return 30 million in illegally transferred money from increased water rates.

As a native of Long Beach, I am running for city attorney for the people of our city, not the special interests. I served in both the city manager and financial management departments. I went on to practice law for 32 years – winning numerous cases at the state and federal levels.

I have always stood up and fought against injustice, such as when abused children were held in the Long Beach jail instead of protective services. I changed the way the Long Beach Police handled sexual assault and domestic violence cases, advocated for the first sexual assault response team in California, and was appointed to the U.S. Attorney General’s National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women.

As president of the Long Beach Community College Board of Trustees, I spearheaded district elections to bring representation to each area of our city. During eight years on City Council, made local government open, transparent and accountable and was honored at The White House as one of only seven “Champions of Change for Open Government.”

Today, many of you have asked me to be that champion of change again in Long Beach. You are concerned that Long Beach politics aren’t broken – they are fixed. Fixed for special interests who contribute large amounts of political money through independent expenditure committees.

I am running on four basic but critical issues:

Anti-Corruption – focusing on training and enforcement to ensure elected officials and city staff are open, transparent, and accountable.

Fiscal responsibility – rolling back the excessive $319,000 city attorney salary, which is the highest elected official salary in California; and publicly accounting for why the city attorney – who employs 26 full-time attorneys – contracts for so much expensive outside counsel.

Neighborhood preservation and protection – assisting neighborhoods to deal with problems impacting the quality of life where they live. We must deal with homelessness in a compassionate but firm manner. The new CARE Court law allows court-ordered care and treatment for our most mentally ill. But without more drug and alcohol detox and rehab programs, we cannot get people off the street.

Aggressive, proactive risk management – preventing just not paying claims against the city so taxpayers don’t continue to be the city’s piggybank.

The Queen Mary is a mess. Its last operator should never have been given a contract to further run the ship into ruin.

Community Hospital is a greater tragedy because the city attorney allowed a contract that gives the tenant the right to run up expenses and hold the city liable or take Community Hospital in lieu of the city paying those expenses. And the contract did not allow the city auditor to verify those expenses.

I ask for your vote. I am running for city attorney and to serve as your champion of change.

Gerrie Schipske


Petty Politics, Dark Money

Dirty is expected from the “Neighbors for a Better Long Beach,” led by disgraced former 3rd District Councilman Gary DeLong, which is sending dark money mailers claiming Schipske is supported by DeLong’s own Long Beach Area Republican Party [Page 1 story].

Such behavior is anticipated from trust fund baby Delong, whose ego never recovered after the citizens in his own City Council district did not vote for him during his run for Congress. In fact, no council district in his own city voted for him. DeLong has been consigned to irrelevancy where he continues to lash out at former political opponents from the safety of darkness.

Beachcomber Reporter Stephen Downing is indeed a good man and should be supported by everyone in Long Beach. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing:” [unattributed quote].

Mike Ruehle

The city investigating itself (or one of their own) is a conflict of interest. The investigation needs to come from the FBI.

Corliss Lee


Why Change Auditors?

California law – Assembly Bill 1345 12410.6(b) – requires that government agencies (including all public-school districts) change their lead auditor every six years.

Our current Long Beach city auditor has been in office 16 years and wants four more (there are no term limits for that office).

An outside auditor hired by the city to audit our auditor, confirmed allegations by a whistleblower, that she awarded nearly two million dollars of city monies to two political consulting firms over a 16-year period without a contract, invoices and proof of deliverables for each monthly expenditure. It is time for her to go.

Residents who are fed up with the lack of financial integrity exhibited by our city officials regarding our money (i.e. Measure A, Measure M and Community Hospital just to list just the tip of the iceberg) urged retired CFO, CPA and auditor Dan Miles to run for office.

Dan has over 35 years of audit, accounting and finance experience with well-known American firms and was hired by the Port of Long Beach as a contractor in the finance department to complete the FY 2015 budget. Dan was honored for his “exemplary service” by the port commissioners.

Dan is a lifelong resident of Long Beach and resides with his wife Rita Vogelbacher Miles in Bixby Knolls. Dan will implement a through, open and transparent examination of the city’s finances. Supporters insist we need fresh eyes on our money.

Laura Brewer


The Price is Right?

The crucial June 7 primary election is upon us. As the plaintiff of a winning $30-plus million lawsuit against the city, I have carefully followed the current election and vetted the candidates at hand.

In most cases I have supported change: Gerrie Schipske – city attorney, Dan Miles – city auditor, Ian Patton – 5th district councilman and Britta Steinbrenner – sheriff.

However, when it comes to the office of mayor, Suzie Price stands far and above the other candidates. She has fearlessly stood up against the current political “machine” regarding neighborhood-destroying AB 9 & 10 and a costly $298 million housing bond measure. She was the only dissenting vote on the Queen Mary $23 million debacle and voted against increasing the corrupt office holder accounts. Suzie opposed Measure BBB extending term limits and so much more.

She is the only official who has advocated for refunding water overcharges to residents and increasing much-needed police officers to address the increase in homelessness and crime.

Suzie has advocated for police and police commission reform, body-worn cams, and 100 new Neighborhood Watch programs. She has actively supported women’s rights through her work as a deputy district attorney.

I am casting my vote for Suzie Price.

Diana Lejins


Ethics Questioned

I had lashes done at your [Suzie Price] boutique a few months back, until my eyes began to swell. Of course, this happened after I purchased two $100 gift certificates from your store, in cash, which was happily accepted.

I tried to work with your staff to resolve the issue. However, I was met with empty promises of a “return call,” which never happened.

After chasing your staff for weeks without result. I finally decided I do not wish to support your business as I do not have the time to chase your employees to resolve this issue.

Today, I visited Lash Lounge Belmont Shore, to cash in my gift certificates. (Since you had access to my money for many months now; along with the time I gave for your business to redeem itself.) I was turned away with a smug and curt reply that the gift certificates cannot be redeem – only by way of purchase, which will not work for me as your salon has given me an allergic reaction from the product used.

I have been very generous to your store and to your staff with my patronage.

This is very disconcerting to me, for a sitting council member and a mayoral candidate to reflect such poor business and unethical practices. Now, I am stuck with $400 worth of gift certificates that I cannot use.

This incident has made me question your ethics and integrity not only as a businesswoman, a council member and someone who feels inclined to run the City of Long Beach as mayor. At this point in time you do not have my vote.

Sandy Sandoval



The same letter was posted in LB Politics.

Shortly thereafter Suzie Price answered: Sandy, someone brought this post to my attention. Our on-site manager will call you tomorrow to reiterate the multiple options you’ve been given for the gift cards that you purchased at a discounted rate. But, based on our records and the staff’s notes, there are definitely two sides to this story. Hopefully we can help you with a resolution, but without going into too many details that may not be appropriate for this site, we believe there is definitely a difference of opinion between what you are reporting and our store’s recorded calls and call history, as well as staff’s records and notes both in terms of you “chasing” them and in terms of what was said to you or what you may have said to them. Having said that, feel free to DM me directly and I can give you more details. I’ve now reviewed all of the records and can talk through it with you. Again, hoping we can help you find a resolution.

*On May 17, Suzie posted a campaign ad on her own FB campaign site and Sandy Sandoval posted this to Suzie within a few days after:

I would like to make a public apology to Suzie Price.

Your onsite Manager phoned very politely explained other services offered.

This happened Thursday, May 19th at 11:19 am

Apparently, my provider had not registered this call as a missed call nor indicated a voicemail had been left. Also, the number saved for Lash Lounge Belmont Shore is not the same as the number the call came through.

She was very gracious and apologetic.

Please accept my sincerest apologies.

Thank you for your follow-up.

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