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5199 E. Pacific Coast Hwy. #608
Post Office Box 15679
Long Beach California, 90815-0679
Phone: (562) 597-8000
Fax: (562) 597-9410
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From Issue: Volume XXII - Number 3

By Jay Beeler

Crime doesn’t pay, which is another way of saying that our Best of Long Beach ballot for service categories can be found on page four and cheating will get you disqualified.

You’d be surprised at how many “ballot stuffing” clues jump out at us when we start to count the votes in March. The envelope yields a bunch of hints, beginning with its size, color, quality and sealing flap. Next we look at the postage and the use of stamps or a postage meter. The postal service cancellation stamp is a third area of inspection.

Next we’ll group the envelopes according to the return address and the mailing address. The use of mailing labels, computer printing or handwriting is reviewed. Ink colors vary from black to blue to red and things in between.

Clues on the ballot include the handwriting, ink colors, categories selected, repetition of the same votes in the same categories, quantity of votes, spelling, sender name, address and phone number.

Believe it or not, when you are counting hundreds of ballots the above elements easily jump out at the reviewer. We strive for a very honest and very ethical ballot system. Last year we came as close as ever and this year I’m betting it will be the cleanest contest ever. Thank you in advance for that.

Thanks also to our sponsors, providing more than $10,000 in gift cards. The odds of a contest participant getting one of these cards – valued at $25 or greater – are typically about one in six.

This year’s sponsors are listed above the ballots. Please consider voting for them in the appropriate category unless you have another favorite to mention. Also remember that February ballots are for service-related businesses only. Our July issues will have a separate ballot for product-related businesses.

I attended two more candidate forums recently and made the following observations:

At the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters forum on January 23, moderated by Art Levine, the participating candidates included Gerrie Schipske, Robert Garcia, Bonnie Lowenthal and Doug Otto. Damon Dunn had a scheduling conflict. They all did well and seemed very well prepared and knowledgeable about every topic covered. They are getting better at this game with each subsequent appearance.

I thought Garcia and Schipske put forth some nice tidbits about their vision for the city’s future, thus “winning” this round. Not so for Lowenthal, who continues to live in the past and taut “how great thou art.” The one-minute response format was too short; every reply should have been expanded to 90 seconds. That was not “fair to all concerned” for those of us wanting a little more detail.

At the Fifth District forum last Wednesday participants included Joe Luyben, Tom Sutfin, Stacy Mungo and Carl Kemp. I’ll say from the gitgo that Kemp, endorsed by the police and fire fighters unions, will not be my favorite candidate. He pledged to support the unions at the expense of the voters in what is a corrupt process producing union whores on the City Council.

My pick for the “winner” during the forum was Joe Luyben. His business acumen, priorities, street smarts and willingness to serve stood out at the packed event in the Senior Center. The response times at this forum were too long at three minutes. Again, 90 second responses and a series of “yes, no and no opinion” rapid-fire questions would better serve all concerned.

Mayoral Candidate Steve Mozena created a stir last week with a 20-foot by 3-foot creative, political banner at 3939 E. Anaheim St. calling for more transparency and showing nine “naked” council members, discretely covered, using their faces but the bodies of models. We posted his too-wordy letter to the editor online along with the banner, but both take up too much space to be printed on these pages.

One ill-informed city employee told Mozena the banner must come down because it was “obscene.” In reality, political signs cannot be larger than 16 square feet (his was 20x3=60 square feet).

Third District Candidate Steve Bello has also ignored directives from city staff about sign regulations and has been advised to take down several his over-sized banners in Belmont Shore and Naples. Bello did not return a Beachcomber call for comment, a strong signal that precludes any endorsement by us.