A Significant LBRC Victory At The Long Beach Water Board In The Fight To Keep Public Money Separate From Mayor Garcia's Political Campaigns

Yesterday, at its third meeting in a row attended by Long Beach Reform Coalition activists, the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners finally reversed course and decided against hiring pollster John Fairbank and his firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz, & Assoc. (FM3).

Hiring Fairbank at public expense
who was so brazen as to openly brag to the Board that he'd already had “the pleasure of raising all of [our] taxes locally here” (in recent years) and imply his polling could be used to "move voters", defeat the City's "opponents", and even corrupt the title and summary of ballot descriptions (which must be written free of political bias by the City Attorney under state law)would have been not only a clear violation of law, it would have been a violation of the basic tenets of democracy.

As the California Supreme Court stated in its Stanson decision: “A fundamental precept of this nation’s democratic process is that the government may not ‘take sides’ in election contests.” 

And this whole episode reminds one of Benjamin Franklin's oft-quoted retort after the Constitutional Convention, answering the query, what had just been achieved, a republic or a monarchy:  “A Republic, if you can keep it.”  It's our job to keep it.  Yesterday, on the local level, we did our part.

And yet, while we are proud that in the end the Water Board made the right decision, we know that the ongoing threat of City Hall illegally weaponizing taxpayer funds for political advocacy against both the interests and the free exercise of democracy of its own residents remains ever-present. 

Therefore we are now considering a lawsuit against the City to prevent further violations of that most basic principle of an even playing field for political campaigns before an election.  We have local precedent for this.  A suit, based on that California Supreme Court Stanson decision, by a Long Beach anti-utility tax activist in 2001 achieved a successful outcome, forcing the City to admit to engaging in advocacy at taxpayer expense, to stop the practice (apparently they've since forgotten!), and even to pay legal expenses.

We will keep you updated as events unfold, and of course we remain ever-vigilant, with our eyes always fixed on this City Hall.


For more on the greater scandal of City Hall politically weaponizing your tax dollars, see the EXPLAINER VIDEO.

Press-Telegram May 16th:

Press-Telegram May 13th:

Press-Telegram May 7th:

Your donations support the important investigative and public awareness efforts of the LBRC.
----- Forwarded Message -----

Long Beach Water Dept., 1800 E. Wardlow Rd., Long Beach, CA 90807 (map)
Tomorrow's is the board meeting where they actually vote on this expenditure. 

Hear the audio from the last board meeting, including Commissioner Shannon's objections and testimony from LBRC members speaking out, beginning around minute 18:00, here:
Read here about when the City tried something similar, but less egregious, twenty years ago and was forced to desist and admit improperly using taxpayer dollars for what was actually slanted campaign material:
Time to sue?
----- Forwarded Message -----

Long Beach Reform Coalition Reveals Continuing Scam to Use Public Money for Political Campaigning; Demands Public Corruption Investigations

The Long Beach Reform Coalition has recently obtained evidence proving that last year's City-paid "informational flyers" for Measure M and Measures AAA-DDD were in fact nearly $200,000 worth of targeted campaign mailers, sent only and repeatedly to a narrow group of targeted voters, a shameless, brazen violation of law.  What Long Beach City Hall did was to conduct an outright attack on democracy locally in support of the mayor's own political campaigns. 

As a result, within the last week we have sent the following complaint letters (see below), requesting investigations by authorities with jurisdiction over public corruption in local government and/or the misuse of municipal tax dollars, including: 

  • FBI - Los Angeles Field Office
  • Office of US Attorney - Central District of California
  • State Attorney General's Office
  • State Auditor
  • Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC)
  • City Prosecutor
  • City Auditor

Coincidentally, as we were preparing these complaints, one of our LBRC Boardmembers, Corliss Lee, observed a jaw-dropping presentation by a pollster at a recent meeting of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners.  As the only member of the public in attendance, she witnessed him pitch his services to the Water Board (all mayoral appointees) to defeat the City's "opponents" and to corrupt the very wording of ballot descriptions to effect an outcome favorable to City Hall (in this case, a potential charter amendment merging the City water and gas utilities, which would allow City Hall to funnel 'excess' ratepayer money permanently to its own General Fund). 

And he made it clear he has been doing this for Long Beach City Hall for years.

As a result of the gravity of the documentary evidence recently obtained by LBRC, and the proof at the Water Board of the continuing threat to our local democratic process, we have put together an in depth EXPLAINER VIDEO to give you the full scope of this emerging scandal.

How Water(Dept.)-gate Works
The Explainer Video
The Complaint Letter
View Complaint Letter
Join the Discussion

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Updates on Action Items from Our Spring LBRC Advisory Board Meeting

Stay tuned for news of our other upcoming projects and events in 2019.  We had a great spring Advisory Board meeting and it produced a number of important public awareness issues for us to work on as we progress through the year.

Support the work of the Long Beach Reform Coalition with your donation today.
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