City's recent actions, inactions and secrecy raise serious concernsConsidering all the personal costs attached to being on any local board, council or commission, it's no surprise it's hard to find people to serve.
Long hours, phone calls at home, little or no pay, the public and press looking over your shoulder: All these are a heavy counter-balance to the ego-gratification, power and fuzzy public-service feelings that go with the job. Taking all this into account, this newspaper seldom lowers the boom on city counselors and others in similar positions.
But the City of Long Beach is seriously straining this patience.
To give them their due, the mayor, city counselors and city administrator are at least willing to take some risks and get things done. Long Beach has come a long way in the last 10 years.
However, Long Beach is playing some stupid and irritating games.
Almost defying belief is the firing, by any other name, of Police Chief Dave Sexton and how it has been handled. He was a very good, highly professional chief. The city continues to balk at supplying reasons for forcing him out, which fans the fires of speculation in the community. The only document it has deigned to release suggests a personality conflict with Councilman Mike Unruh, nowhere near enough reason to lose a good police chief.
On a related topic, it's common knowledge that "secret" discussions are going on about combining the police department with the Pacific County Sheriff's Office. Any behind-the-scenes talk about such an important topic is totally inappropriate. It may or may not be a good idea - we are inclined to think not - but in any event, it demands intense public involvement at every stage.
In the immediate wake of several teen suicides, the city extended the worthwhile gesture of building a small skateboard park. It's now finding many excuses for not doing so. We all might wish for a more general-purpose youth facility, but it's at the point the city must keep its promise.
Volunteer rescue personnel were given the bum's rush this week when a request was made for funds to print a helpful warning brochure for visitors to our beach. The city begs off on many worthy requests, saying it is saving all its money for a convention center. What's more important: Saving lives, or creating more minimum-wage jobs and enhancing downtown real estate prices?
This list could go on and on. What is revealed is a pattern of arrogance, lack of citizen consultation, secret negotiations and decisions that put tourism way ahead of residents.
We hope for a robust public response from the city concerning these impressions.