Council Members Request Zapson to Step Down

In a stunning act, several City Council members and one of the democratic candidates for Council have requested that Mr. Zapson step down as head of the Long Beach Democratic Committee.  This site’s concern about conflicts of interest has been clear from the very first posting.  There are serious concerns about Mr. Zapson’s influence over the Council, the Zoning Board and other aspects of LB City functions and his continued attempts to lead the party in LB despite calls for a change to a new leader are not good for the LB Democratic Party or LB.

[see link below for letter, ctsy of SBTC]

http://i1.wp.com/www.seabythecity.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_4136.jpgCouncil

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I-Star/IDA Update — IDA Rejects Current Request

IDA rejects request.  A new proposal is under consideration per this article in Newsday.

http://www.newsday.com/business/nassau-county-rejects-requests-for-tax-breaks-on-long-beach-towers-1.10823591

Good work so far.

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The September 10 Primary in Long Beach ACTUALLY MEANS SOMETHING This Year

This year’s LB primary ACTUALLY MEANS SOMETHING.  If you believe the Democrat Council Members are controlled or improperly influenced by the head of the LB Democratic Committee, this is your chance to take away that control and influence.  If you believe new Democrat blood is needed, this is your chance to make that transfusion.  These opportunities — a change within a party — are rare in Long Beach.  If important to you, this is the time.

While we believe some very good things have been done under the current team, in our view some things have not been so good and worse.  On balance, therefore, our bias is towards a shake-up.

Our more detailed views on the candidates for the general election will be posted later.

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Update: The Long Beach City Council Supports I-Star’s Tax Relief Request

We have now had a chance to review the minutes of the June 3 IDA meeting at City Hall and the IDA Chairman says in his opening remarks:

“In addition, representatives of the City have stated to the Agency that the City supports the applicant’s request to the Agency for financial assistance, and in particular, supports the request for, the term of, and the specific proposed pilot payment formula as being requested by the applicant with respect to the project.” [Chairman Kearney at pgs 9-10].

Councilman Eramo is the only Council member to address the IDA and he does not address this issue but simply asks that the IDA require that the developer use union labor.

So there you have it.  The City Council has spoken. And if the statement by Kearney was incorrect, they did not correct it.  Without any explanation to the residents of this City, the City Council supported I-Star’s request to not pay over $100 million of taxes over the next 25 years.

We urge the City Council to explain itself before it’s too late or correct this understanding if it is wrong.  Either way, you owe that to the residents.

Pass this around Facebook and emails so that your resident friends know about this.

The minutes from the June 3 meeting are here:  http://www.nassauida.org/Public/Page/Files/38_Long%20Beach%20Public%20Hearing%20Minutes%206.3.15.pdf

 

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Briefly on i-Star: Where are you City Council?

They couldn’t just put their shovels in the ground like they said they would.  Instead, they dragged their feet, found a partner and planned their next financial move — how to not pay taxes on their development.  The superblock site is an eyesore.  Some of us want to see it developed, some would rather it remain undeveloped.  Hardly a soul wanted it developed in the way proposed by i-Star and approved by the ZBA.  Yet, they got their variance, arguing that it was needed to make the development profitable.  Nothing, not-a-thing, was said about a tax abatement of over $100 million.

Our City Council members claimed the variance decision was not in their hands but the ZBA’s.  They don’t have the luxury of that buffer now.  They are responsible for managing the City’s finances.  This tax abatement DIRECTLY affects the City’s finances.  In a MAJOR way.  Our City taxes support our City services and infrastructure.  This development itself will place large demands on those services and infrastructure.  Far more than any of us do, yet we have to pay our taxes.

Where are you City Council members? Is it true you told the IDA that you supported the request?  If not, say so.  At least one of you is asking your friends, neighbors and acquaintances to help raise money for your re-election.  Where do you stand on this issue?  If you stand for the tax abatement, please explain how and why that makes sound financial sense for Long Beach.  We’re more than curious.

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The Long Beach Paid Fire Department Layoffs

We’ve been dark for a couple of months — busy with other things, but also reluctant to wade in to what has become some very nasty business.  We care a great deal about this City, but sometimes you just say — as many of our resident friends do — “I’ve got more productive pursuits to apply myself to.”  But we’re coming out of the ground after this time and observation to set out our views, fwiw….

We have read countless posts on SeabytheCity and Facebook and articles in the Long Beach Herald. We’ve attended 3 City Hall meetings where “the issue” was in play.  We are not expert, but have attempted to be reasonably informed and have looked at all sides of this issue.

Our observations at a high level:

We believe that given the number of apartment buildings and the proximity of homes to one another in many LB neighborhoods and that we are on a barrier island, that Long Beach should have a paid FD and not rely solely on a volunteer force as is done in most LI communities.

However, we remain of the view that what’s best for Long Beach is more emergency medical services (EMS) and if changes to the FD will make more EMS available – because of cost reallocation and any other measures (for instance, shift/staffing/rank changes), those changes should be made. There undoubtedly are various areas of reasonable disagreement related to “the issue”; however, it is irrefutable that Long Beach’s greatest need, by magnitudes, is EMS.

A restructured LBPFF (and where applicable, how the City govt and vol FD interacts with it) must include (a) reduction in the supervisor/non-supervisor ratio, (b) promotion only on an as-needed basis based on objective criteria as to the need and the merit, (c) concrete steps for cooperation/coordination between paid and vols, (d) a hard look by an auditor/consultant at allocation of resources to paid and vols, and (e) a contract that reflects the foregoing.  Even if there were not layoffs and no new EMS, all of these things should be done!

There are fair criticisms of the City government on this process and the motivations behind it, but that does not change our view of what’s best for Long Beach at the end of the day. We hope for more civil dialogue on these difficult issues and that changes can be made that make things better for the City and all FF in the long run.

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Emergency Services Report – -Read Now

We attended the presentation by ICMA at City Hall the other night.  We found the presentation highly informative.  The materials that were the basis of the presentation are on the City’s website at http://www.longbeachny.gov/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC={33BD7D65-42BC-45CB-ABAB-A6E2B4FB1BFB}&DE={C7BDD150-7B62-4193-9A2F-DE28EA75296B}.  We have not yet read the materials but highly recommend that every resident read this report, as we will, before taking any positions or further positions on the current LBPFF dispute.

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