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Latest Mayor Plan Costly, Ineffective

May 04, 1986

If the people of Long Beach rejected the 1982 mayor-at-large proposal by 3 to 1, they should turn down the latest version proposed by the Mayor's Task Force chaired by the Chamber of Commerce by an even greater margin.

The Long Beach Area Citizens Involved estimates that the new plan would increase the cost of government by about $350,000 without the people receiving any real benefits. The cost estimate includes the mayor's proposed salary, the council members' salary increase, the open-ended staff that the mayor is authorized to set up and the fringe benefits.

Allow me to offer some amendments to the task force plan.

1. Eliminate the veto power given to the mayor. In Long Beach, it is difficult enough for a council member to put together the necessary five votes to pass a measure without one powerful special-interest person having the authority to veto the will of the people.

2. Instead of superimposing a $67,500 ribbon-cutting, full-time mayor on top of a $90,000 or so city manager who is totally insulated from the people, why not transfer all the duties of the city manager to the full-time mayor and substitute a chief administrator for the city manager? In other words, government that is fully accountable to the people.

3. Finally, campaign-finance reform with a limit on political contributions must be on the ballot along with a full-time mayor proposal. Otherwise, the office of the mayor will be sold to the highest bidder, meaning that the big-money special interests of Long Beach will exert an unbalanced amount of power over the people.

It is not too late for the council to amend the proposal to include the above concepts.


Long Beach

Solomon is president of Long Beach Area Citizens Involved.

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