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LONG BEACH : Council to Consider Granting Mayor a Vote

July 14, 1994

A City Council committee will consider--once again--a proposal to grant the mayor a vote on the council.

The mayor has power only to veto measures, and the veto can be overridden by a simple majority vote on the council.

"The mayor should not just sit there," said Councilman Thomas J. Clark, who introduced the proposal.

The measure will be considered sometime soon by the Charter Amendment Committee. If approved by the committee and the council, it would be put on the 1996 general election ballot.

Clark was behind a similar motion that died in committee in January. Long Beach voters turned down a similar referendum in 1986.

Clark acknowledged that the proposal could create problems. For example, a mayoral vote could result in a 5-5 deadlock because there are nine council members. A council district would have to be created or eliminated in order to retain the unequal voting margin, Clark said.

Paul Schmidt, a political science professor at Cal State Long Beach, said citizens may favor a smaller council because it costs about $217,000 a year to staff each council office.

Although previous measures have failed, Schmidt said, the popularity of Mayor-elect Beverly O'Neill might motivate the voters to give her more power.

Vice Mayor Jeffrey A. Kellogg said he would rather give the mayor stronger veto power than increase the number of voting members.

Currently, a simple council majority overrides a mayoral veto. Requiring a two-thirds override, as Kellogg has suggested, would strengthen the mayor's legislative power.

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