Gerrie Schipske Headshot

Prompted at least in part by the Long Beach City Council putting four Charter amendments on the November general election ballot, two grassroots Political Action Committees (PACs) have begun growing.

Last week (Aug. 21) former Long Beach City Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske announced she was filing paperwork to create the OpenUpLongBeach.com PAC to raise and spend money "to fight for open, transparent and accessible local government." Schipske represented the Fifth District for eight years, and for much of that time acted as a minority voice fighting for more open government policies.

Then this Sunday, a group calling itself the Long Beach Reform Coalition PAC launched with a specific goal to defeat Measure BBB, City Council term limit changes, in November. That group brings together eight advocacy and neighborhood groups in common cause, according to spokesperson Ian Patton.

The group's official Mission Statement is, according to the release, "The Long Beach Reform Coalition PAC is a local, non-partisan organization that promotes and supports public policies, laws and candidates toward the goal of a transparent, accountable and inclusive government." The group's first project is a No on Measure BBB campaign, according to the release. Measure BBB would increase City Council and mayoral term limits to three from the current two, and eliminate the option of a termed-out official running again as a write-in candidate.

Schipske said in her release the OpenUpLongBeach.com group is more general in scope while focusing on what she says is weakening of the 1994 Campaign Reform Act.

"Voters supporting open, transparent and accessible local government need a way to reach other voters to sop these actions," Schipske writes in the release. "A political action committee will provide this by raising and spending money to reach voters with the information they need to make good decisions at the ballot box."

The PAC treasurer will be David Gould. An online secure link for contributions is being set up, but money can be accepted now at OpenUpLongBeach.com/PoliicalAction c/o David Gould, 249 E. Ocean Blvd., Suite 685, Long Beach, CA 90802, Schipske said.

The Long Beach Reform Coalition PAC has not set up a committee structure, but the website is  http://lbreformcoalition.org/. The coalition members (some of whom wrote the ballot argument against Measure BBB) are CARP (Citizens About Responsible Planning), CONO (Council of Neighborhood Organizations), Eastside Voice, LACAN (Los Altos Center Adjacent Neighborhoods), LBHUSH2, Long Beach Neighborhoods First, Long Beach Taxpayers Association and People of Long Beach.

Harry Saltzgaver can be reached at hsalt@gazettes.com.

NOTE: This story was updated to add the Reform Coalition website.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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