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Letter : Avoid Stampede on Restructuring

January 19, 1986

What's the urgency? On Jan. 7, the Long Beach City Council held its first hearing to consider the proposals by a self-appointed Committee to Evaluate a Full-Time Mayor and City Council.

It is obvious that the committee is trying to stampede the council into placing a complex, proposed City Charter amendment on the June ballot. Councilman Tom Clark, whose proposal for a citywide-elected mayor was soundly defeated at the polls in 1982, is also pushing very hard.

As evidenced by statements at the hearing, most of the recommendations in the committee's report are highly controversial. For example, should a full-time mayor be the chief executive of our city government or be an additional member of the City Council? Should the city manager's role remain essentially as at present or should there be a change to a chief administrative assistant to the mayor? The issue of campaign finance reform was laid over to the next hearing.

The history of Long Beach is littered with the wreckage of hasty decisions by our city government. A full-time, citywide-elected mayor would be a radical change with widespread ramifications. It is essential to define roles, interrelationships and salaries.

The voters of Long Beach are entitled to a carefully considered, interrelated package of proposed charter revisions.

The next meeting of the Long Beach City Council Charter Amendment Committee is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday. This will provide another opportunity for those who have questions, comments or recommendations concerning the system for election, roles, part-time or full-time employment and salaries of the mayor and City Council; the roles of the city manager or a chief administrative assistant to the mayor, and campaign-finance reform.

--FRANK G. SPRINGER

Long Beach

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