A WEEK LATER, IT DAWNS ON COUNCILMEMBER JOHNSON THAT, YES, HE DID NOT MEAN TO VOTE NOBy LBReport.com
A week after casting the only dissenting vote, the Long Beach City Council’s seventh-district representative, James Johnson, says he meant to vote “yes” instead of “no” on a measure to explore ways to connect downtown with the Queen Mary area.
Johnson voted no on Sept. 21 during a 7-1 council vote—Council member Rae Gabelich was absent—to enter into agreements with a private firm to guide LB City Hall in seeking grant money from regional and federal agencies to fund an “alternative transportation analysis” that would identify ways to connect some southshore locations linking downtown/southshore sites using traditional bus and waterway routes as well as “non-traditional approaches” including “ground-based cable drawn trams and aerial gondola ropeway systems.”
But at the conclusion of a September 28 special Council meeting, Johnson says he meant to vote yes. To hear Councilman Johnson’s explanation, click here.
City management recommended Council approval of the first phase of the proposal, which initially came from an unsolicited proposal heard and forwarded in August by the Council’s Harbor & Tidelands Committee (Lowenthal, DeLong, Garcia). At the full Council meeting, the motion to approve was made by Councilman Gary DeLong and seconded by Councilman Dee Andrews.
Vice Mayor Lowenthal presided during Council discussion of the item. She voiced support for proceeding with the first phase (analysis of transpotation alternatives). So did Councilman Garcia.
Vice Mayor Lowenthal called for the vote; there is whispered colloquy (we don’t believe by Johnson); the City Clerk announced the item as passing with 7 votes yes, one vote no. The Council camera showed the “yes” and “no” votes on screen with Johnson indicated as “no.” Fully thirteen seconds elpase before the meeting continued. There is inaudible Council colloquy off mike. Vice Mayor Lowenthal eventually resumes the proceedings. To hear this, click here.
Following the vote, the Council meeting continued for over one hour and ten minutes more. During that roughly 70 minutes more, Councilman Johnson made no public effort to seek reconsideration of the item (a procedure that, with Council majority approval, lets a Councilmember publicly change his/her vote).
Councilman Johnson’s “no” vote was reported by LBReport.com and other outlets. During an entire week following his vote, we received no indication from Councilman Johnson or his office that he’d cast his “no” vote in error (and to our knowledge, neither did others).
Councilman Johnson was elected in June 2010 and took office in mid-July 2010. By the time he’d cast his Sept. 21 vote, he’d voted on two months of agendized items that included approving City Hall’s spending budget (with public safety cuts), the Desmond bridge appeal (overruled environmental group’s appeal, sustained Port’s EIR) and the sale of City Hall East (approved).