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Gerrie Schipske: Candidate for City Attorney


Why are you interested in this position?


Everywhere I go in Long Beach, voters tell me they want reform. They want a City government that is open, transparent, and accountable, not to mention ethical. They want a City government that protects them, makes their neighborhoods safe and reduces, not creates, barriers for owning or operating a business. They are fed up with being the “piggybank” that funds one failed City project after another. They want reform and I can bring it.


What relative experience do you have in this career field?

I have been an attorney since 1990 which is two years longer than the current City Attorney and my opponent, but I will not hold their inexperience against them. I know Long Beach city government inside and out, headed the City’s Commercial Services operations with 105 employees and served on several city commissions and on the City Council for eight years. I have served as general and operations counsel to several businesses and organizations and served nine years at the State level reviewing and deciding discipline actions for licensed physicians. I taught law and ethics at CSULB for six years. For the past several years I have served as an Administrative/Regulatory attorney, assisting clients at state and federal hearings concerning healthcare benefits.


What are 3 changes you would like to make while in office?

  • Restore public trust that the office is neutral and represents all of Long Beach.

  • Institute aggressive, proactive risk management to prevent, not just pay claims.

  • Implement an Anti-Corruption program that makes it clear there is zero tolerance for any unethical, illegal behavior by city officials, employees and those who do business with the city.


What are your top priorities for small businesses ?

Top to bottom look at all regulations with input from small businesses to see which zoning and licensing requirements can be legally eliminated or revised because they do more harm than good.

With regards to your background and expertise in environmental law, what are major issues you foresee the City facing?

The Office of City Attorney is a full-service operation, providing legal advice in all areas of law impacting the City of Long Beach, and has assigned a Deputy City Attorney with specific expertise in environmental laws. I foresee more activism by the State Attorney General who has filed actions under against cities and counties who approved projects in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color who already suffer disproportionately from air pollution-related illnesses such as asthma and heart diseases. Major environmental issues currently pending in the City of Long Beach are: 1) The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): The proposed project is a new General Plan Noise Element, which would replace the City’s existing 1975 Noise Element. 2) The proposed project involves both the adoption of a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan Project (CAAP) and a Safety Element Update: The proposed project for the purpose of this Addendum includes two components: 1) the “Equivalency Program” to allow for the exchange among permitted uses; and 2) the development of the 108-unit primarily residential, mixed-use project at 7th Street and Locust Avenue (636 Locust Ave). The project scope includes a Land Use Equivalency Program (Equivalency Program), which anticipates the exchange of floor area previously analyzed for commercial and office uses and hotel units within the Downtown Plan Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) (SCH No.2009071006) to residential dwelling units. 3) The proposed Parks Zoning and Dedication Project (Part 1) – May 2021 (Project) will facilitate cleanup of land use and zoning designations of existing parks so that they have the appropriate Open Space (OS) Place Type and Park (P) zoning designation, in order both to appropriately reflect the existing land use and to protect the park use by ensuring development regulations that are aligned with park uses.


What are 2 key improvements or initiatives you wish to implement as City Attorney?

1) Fiscal Responsibility and Public Accountability: Quite frankly, taxpayers are tired of being assessed higher taxes, utility rates and City fees such as parking tickets. They don’t understand where all the money has gone when there are still a shortage of police and fire, streets and sidewalks remain unfixed, and homelessness is growing. One of the highlights of serving on the Long Beach City Council was being honored at the White House by President Barack Obama as one of only seven “Champions of Change for Open Government.” As City Attorney, I will continue my efforts to ensure that Long Beach City government is open, transparent, and accountable, which is critical to fiscal responsibility. I will establish an “Annual Accountability Report” to provide an overvie