Long Beach City Councilwoman and our May 16 Pride Issue cover girl Gerrie Schipske was honored at a White House ceremony this morning as a "Champions of Change" due to her openness. No, not openness in the sense of being, as Dave Wielenga's story put it, "Long Beach's federally certified, duly sworn lesbian."
As any fifth grader can tell you, decades earlier Calvin Coolidge beat Schipske to being the first federally certified, duly sworn lesbian.
Schipske is being honored for being Long Beach's first elected official to disclose his or her calendar and to communicate daily via blog, email, Facebook and Twitter, according to the White House.
She began the "Open Up Long Beach" initiative and website in January 2012 to provide residents enhanced access to city documents and behind-the-scenes city operations. And, as a Medical Board of California member, Schipske initiated a requirement that she and other panelists must disclose at each meeting any contacts they've had with interested parties.
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Her fully embracing government transparency and civic hacking--a movement that brings together technologists, start-up companies and engaged citizens with civic leaders and elected officials to improve how governments use technology--earned Schipske a spot with 14 other individuals and organizations hailed as "Champions of Change" by the Obama administration today.
"This is an honor for me and the people of Long Beach who are involved in making our city more open, transparent and accountable,'' Schipske reportedly told City News Service. "I am a passionate believer in the words of Thomas Jefferson: 'Information is the currency of democracy.' That is why I make such an effort to provide the information and access citizens need to be engaged."
As Wielenga's piece openly revealed, Schipske, who was elected to the council in 2006 and re-elected in 2010, is running for mayor in next year.