“Kiss of Death”
Friday March 7
I note in your [Beachcombing 3/7/14] column that you oppose candidates for city office who have what you dub "the kiss of death” because they accepted an endorsement from the Long Beach Police Officer’s Association (POA). It would be appreciated if you published your reasons for taking this position so that the voters can better judge the candidates. It happens that I agree with your position because of the following, which I would like to share with my fellow Long Beach voters:
Like most Long Beach residents, I have recently received several very expensive mailers at my home from the Long Beach Police Officers Association supporting Charlie Parkin for City Attorney. In their mailers the POA proclaim that Mr. Parkin is a “dedicated crime fighter”, that his “courtroom experience keeps Long Beach Safe,” and that he is “the only candidate for City Attorney with a real record of cracking down on crime, drug dealers, prostitution, and fraud.” Mr. Parkin, nor any one else in the city attorney’s office, does any of that. It’s not his job. These accolades could possibly be attributed to the city prosecutor, Mr. Doug Haubert, but for the POA to promote Parkin as a crime fighter is a blatant distortion of his job, his history with the city and the the function of his office under the city charter.
Why has the POA undertaken to mislead the community in this manner and why has Mr. Parkin (and all of the other candidates who received their endorsement) not publicly refuted these distortions and outright lies? Why do the POA’s mailers mislead Long Beach voters by calling upon us to join in “supporting Parkin for reelection, when his has never before been elected? Parkin holds his position as city attorney because the former city attorney, Robert Shannon, timed his retirement and manipulated city politics in order to put Parkin in the cat bird seat at election time; a political move that Shannon publicly admits and one that mirrors the manner in which Shannon himself got the job so many years ago when Parkin’s uncle retired from his position as Long Beach city attorney.
Yesterday I saw one more red flag as to why the POA continues to support the status quo in the city attorney’s office from an article in the Los Angeles Times entitled, "Justices signal their support for naming officers.” We all know that the POA took legal action against the LA Times to prevent publication of the officers names in the Zerby killing, but what we didn’t know is that the City Attorney’s office chose to subordinate the public's welfare in favor of a cozy relationship with the POA and supported the POA law suit with taxpayer money. This is one more example of the city attorney’s office positioning itself to defend union business and/or bad behavior by police officers and expose Long Beach taxpayers to expensive law suits.
Parkin should be asked why?
There is a long history of the POA supporting the status quo within the city attorney’s office and its not related in any way to crime fighting or keeping our neighborhoods safe. The behavior of the POA’s membership has cost Long Beach taxpayers $18.8 million in law suits blindly defended by the City Attorney’s office over the past five years. It is time to reverse that trend. We are now at a crossroads in the evolution of our city government in which the status quo must be critically evaluated by Long Beach voters. A good place to start is by asking Mr. Parkin and the other candidates who accept POA endorsements, to address these questions.
Downing is a resident of Long Beach and a retired LAPD deputy chief of police
Friday March 7
It’s the political season and we get to witness some individuals vying for office make promises they will never fulfill, but are well intended. Like my mother used to say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
If you vote this year, please use common sense like, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Please do not vote for dreamers. Dreamers don’t spend their own money; they spend yours and lots of it.
Do not vote for social justice candidates. We already have that in Washington, DC. How’s that working for ya?
Please do not vote for educators who have run nothing outside of a classroom.
Please don’t vote for professional politicians. You know who they are. They seem to run for office regularly. It beats getting a real job I guess.
The city does not create jobs. They fill city vacancies. Private businesses create jobs. Beware of this false claim by any candidate and don’t vote for them.
I voted for Mayor Bob Foster twice. His political affiliation didn’t matter. I look for executive experience and fiscal responsibility, not a sales pitch or managed image.
Robert Van der Upwich
Friday March 7
Voters should be wary of candidates who are “rich” with endorsements. Many of them have sold their souls and our taxpayers dollars to the highest bidders. Quid pro quo is the order of the day – campaign contributions for undying devotion (at our expense).
Paid walkers who knock at your door include various public employee unions, and are solely interested in lining their pockets with pay raises, pension spikes and perks that will be voted on by their favored candidate. Never mind that every time we have city budget meetings, it is always a “crisis.” Never mind that unfunded liabilities (due to previous irresponsible pension giveaways) have undermined public safety with repeated cuts to personnel and facilities and compromised our parks, libraries and other services. These are the same concerns that have threatened to bankrupt this city.
A dead give-away that large amounts of money are being thrown at a campaign by “special interests” are the proverbial deluge of slick expensive campaign mailers (two or more per week may be excessive). PACs (Political Action Committees) often mail independent literature to “get around” campaign contribution limits.
Contributions from entities connected to city projects need to be scrutinized.
Other endorsements by political party clubs/organizations are just as corrupt. A number of the candidates “packed” the groups with one-time paid memberships just to capture the vote. Several of the clubs’ memberships swelled to numbers at least ten-fold when the endorsement vote was scheduled. Win at any cost seemed to be the theme.
The educated and responsible voter will consider a person’s public service, decisions they have made and their effects on the city, their commitment to transparency, and future plans. Equally important is analysis of endorsements – are they tied to monetary rewards, did they originate inside or outside of Long Beach? And, what of contributions – are there conflicts of interest, will the candidate be voting on matters that involve the entity?
The entirety of a candidate’s proven record must be scrutinized thoroughly – the end vote should be cast accordingly. In the long run, it will facilitate us all in building a much more viable, economically-sound and vibrant city.