Dunn Campaign Plans Walk to 40,000 Homes
From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 15
By Steve Propes
With the exit of two-term mayor Bob Foster from the roster of 2014 hopefuls, the race promises to attract additional candidates with Vice Mayor Robert Garcia and former Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal entering almost immediately.
About the very first to declare for the office is one-time NFL player and businessman Damon Dunn, who has already gained the endorsement of the local chamber of commerce. “I feel like I want to serve, Long Beach needs to move forward. We’ve lacked visionary leadership over the last few years. When my partners give me money, they expect a return on the investment,” said Dunn, referring to his business background. “Long Beach doesn’t have a strategic plan.
“Every organization has strategic plans, so much in real estate, so much in stocks, returns are what the returns are. We ought to have that strategic plan, what to do with our funds when they come in so we can make a decision when they get there. No surprises; 100 percent accountability.
“I moved to downtown Long Beach in July 2011.” Previously a resident of Irvine, Dunn stated, “I have a daughter who lives in Playa Vista. With an office in Irvine, I moved to be closer to my daughter, which puts me half way in-between where she lives and my work. I had lived here before. Played in the XFL at Veterans Stadium.”
To Dunn, Long Beach “represents diversity with a small town feeling. I grew up on a farm, where people knew each other. In Long Beach, when I got to a grocery store or a restaurant, I see the same people I know. It’s not that way in Irvine or in Palo Alto. In Long Beach, it’s still a small town. Maybe that whole Iowa by the Sea idea brought that small town mentality, who knows how it developed.”
Dunn anticipated questions about “people who are going to say how long I’ve lived here. I would never discourage that,” but the race shouldn’t “come down to who’s lived here the longest.”
Dunn bristled at the suggestion he is the chamber of commerce’s handpicked candidate. “Absolutely not, the chamber of commerce has zero impact on anything I put forward, they have no persuasion. They are one group in the city, when you look at my campaign, they will have zero input.
“I make all my decisions, no one influences Damon Dunn. I know how I got to where I’m at; I know how to succeed or to make decisions. I will look at a platter of ideas and make all my decisions. There will not be any party or special interest group that will influence my leadership.”
Asked about the current controversy over marijuana dispensaries, Dunn responded, “That’s an issue I continue to research. I need to find out what’s happening to other cities.”
About police staffing levels, Dunn stated, “Some of this is the resource side, what revenues do we have? What will it take to solve the problem? You can go with one side that we need more resources. Some of it is more intervention, more community policing and understanding how do we slow down recidivism and make an investment in technology.”
As to the financing of a badly needed City Hall, Dunn responded, “There are all kinds of hazards in doing a public private partnership (P3). It’s expensive to change developers, who might be able to finance improvements. It’s not as simple as agreeing to a P3 where there is zero risk to a municipality.
“I’m going to raise all the money in my campaign,” said Dunn. “We’re going to release a campaign, walking and knocking on 40,000 doors, 18,000 doors for me personally, we’ll launch a platform we want to address. We can walk 150 homes during an eight-hour day. We don’t go out asking for support, all we’re saying is ‘my name is Damon Dunn, I’m running for mayor, what are your problems?’” Most responses have been about “sidewalks, trees being trimmed, streets, potholes and crime.
“There is a desire for people to be heard, they want to talk about their issues. They tell me they leave phone calls, but are not being heard. When January comes, all the candidates will begin all the fliers. We’re putting ourselves out in front of that, asking people, ‘what are the issues you care about?’ Generic messaging versus ‘I walked your streets.’ That’s going to matter. When we ask them for support, we remind them we asked you about issues, we remind them we dealt with your issue. It’s hard work. I’m hoping that level of effort.”
“I’m going to be a candidate that makes this race better, Long Beach wins if you have the most talented people running and I‘m excited to be part of the process.”
His website is www.damondunn.com.