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Trying to Board the Titanic

From Issue: Volume XX - Number 5

Les Robbins

We are about to enter full speed into the silly season here in Long Beach. Otherwise known as election year for locally elected city officials, this year we will see all even numbered city council seats up for election as well as a few interesting state and federal offices.

The pending battle between Alan Lowenthal (D) and Gary DeLong (R) for the newly drawn congressional seat which resides mostly in Long Beach should be very dramatic. This is shaping up to be what is known as a battle ground seat and both parties will probably pour tons of money into this election.

I haven’t seen any polls yet but I suspect that Alan is and should be considered the front runner. If I could ask both candidates just one question I would base my vote on, it would be their position on the never-ending continuation of the Bush tax cuts for the rich. I think I know how both would answer that question.

The Fourth District City Council race is shaping up to be very interesting. Term limits die hard with our locally elected officials and I think everyone who reads my articles knows how I feel about them. They are the absolute worst public policy decision made by the voters in this state in the last 30 years. However, until changed, they are the law of the land in both the state and in this city but some of our local elected officials just seem to think that they can win as a write-in.

My prediction for the Fourth District is that the incumbent, Patrick O’Donnell, is going to follow in the tradition of all others who have tried to win a third term on a write-in and come up short. Mayor O’Neill did it but that was a different time and a very different political office and of course she was a very different elected official. I wouldn’t want to base my political resume on how well the city is doing today in light of the economic morass that we are in.

Daryl Supernaw considers himself to be the “grass roots” candidate. In political terminology this is tantamount to saying that you don’t have any money, much organization, or experience in running for office. It has, historically, been a formula for disaster at the ballot box. While I don’t know him, or don’t know much about him, I really don’t think that he has much of a chance to win this seat.

John Watkins, a retired LBPD Sergeant, is someone who knows this city well. He probably has insight into the real inner-workings of this city better than well over 98 percent of the citizens who live in this city. Police officers see the very worst of a community and the ones that can take from those experiences and turn them into positives are very special people.

I have met John on a couple of occasions and I genuinely like this man. I do not think that he is motivated by ego or any special interest. I believe that he is a very kind and gentle person who, combined with his law enforcement background and his intense love and interest in the Special Olympics, is someone who comes along once every 20 years or so.

I have asked him why he wants to get on the Titanic when the normal thing to do would be to get off the ship. He laughs and simply indicates that he thinks that he can bring to the table qualities and skills that can make things better. As someone who has lived in this city for over 63 years and who will die here as well, I certainly hope that he is right! If I lived in the Fourth District this is whom I would be voting for!