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Beachcomber
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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Feature Stories

Four Run for Fifth Council Seat

From Issue: Volume XXII - Number 4
2/21/2014


By Steve Propes

Fifth District council candidates support effective law enforcement, particularly to bring burglaries of all stripe under control, advancement of economic opportunities and continued or improved maintenance of local infrastructure of streets, sidewalks, parks and other public areas, but their ideas about getting there sometimes vary.

In order of their filing date, the candidates are businessman Joe Luyben, 54, who grew up in Lakewood Village, where he still lives, and graduated from Lakewood High School as class president in 1977.

L.A. County budget director and reserve deputy sheriff Stacy Mungo, 32, who lives in the El Dorado Estates area, graduated from Lakewood High in 1999 and then earned an advanced degree at USC.

Carl Kemp, 41, grew up in Los Angeles, was bused to North Hollywood High School and came to CSULB as an art major and was student body president for two terms. “I got hired by Mike Donelan in the Seventh District and served in local government and as a lobbyist, most recently representing marijuana dispensaries before City Hall.”

Tom Sutfin, 46, a Long Beach resident for 23 years, describes himself as “a teacher, who’s a pilot and has a summer business.” A teacher of computer programming at Millikan High School, Sutfin also operates Unique Educational Experiences, an opportunity “for kids to go into aviation summer camp and robotics camp.”

Kemp said the district has “more sidewalks and more houses than any other district in the city. Folks complain about the way streets have been done. Contracting out didn’t work.”

Luyben stated he has familiarized himself with public works in regard to sidewalk and street maintenance. “If I were elected, I’d check with public works on a daily basis to make sure they are dealing with problems.” Sutfin stated, “I would like to see upgrades for families in parks and play on a decently laid out field.”

“Our soccer fields are full on weekends, which takes a toll on the grass,” said Kemp. “What if we found investors and installed NFL-grade Astroturf? Maybe we should put some fields near the San Gabriel River. My idea is to do it for free with a corporate partner.”

Mungo noted the district has “two water companies,” the municipal utility and Golden State east of Norwalk Boulevard, the latter she accused of gouging customers. She also noted the city could incorporate the county area based as a Sunset Beach case settled the law. “County people like no street sweeping and no RV parking laws.”

“Property crimes are at an unprecedented level,” said Kemp.

“Cooperating neighbors with cameras on the entrances to neighborhoods wirelessly connected to the police department and with houses at key locations couldn’t cost any more than $1,000 per location and which could be privately funded.

“Thefts are once or twice a week in Lakewood Village and also in El Dorado,” said Luyben. “I think it’s a matter of plain and simple awareness. Don’t leave property on the front seat.”

Sutfin is concerned about the loss of an historic manufacturing sector. “Aerospace is part of the identity of Long Beach, which goes back to Daugherty Field in the 1920s. If that Boeing building closes, we’re going to lose an era and an opportunity. I would look at companies like Canada Air and other manufacturers that could be approached to build aircraft and offer careers for graduates. To recreate an image in Long Beach, we need an ongoing economic focus.”

“General aviation is being pushed aside,” said Mungo, who offered several possible alternate scenarios. “JetBlue wants more than 40 flights and wants international flights, which will require a customs office. Customs could come in from the port, but new planes might run against noise ordinance.”

Mungo considers airport development an opportunity. “We need to be making good decisions about land use around the airport. We need retail and a high end mall at Douglas Park west of Lakewood. We have five runways, but are using two because they don’t have the traffic. I’d prefer to have more private jets coming in.” Mungo also advocated for better signage on Cover Street into Douglas Park from the west.

“We need economic development at Douglas Park,” said Luyben.
“It’s difficult to get a business license. We need a council person who’ll say, ‘What can I do to help you?’ When I built six homes in Lakewood Village, it was very difficult to get a building permit. The city has a good staff, they are good people, but they need to be loosened up.”

Kemp wants to “focus on coordinating assistance to small business, so we don’t have to go outside the district to eat and shop, where we can have an adult beverage after 8 p.m. We have some, we need more.”

As to marijuana dispensaries, Sutfin said, “I recognize the medical use of it. I’m not sure Long Beach should be the first one to do it or jump on the bandwagon.”

Mungo stated “We need assurances that the medical needs of patients are met without the criminal element of corrupt dispensaries rooting themselves in our community. As a reserve deputy sheriff, youth mentor and homeowner I see weaknesses in current state law that leave families and patients at risk.”

Describing how medical marijuana helped their close relatives who were ill, both Luyben and Kemp and support medical marijuana usage and availability.

steve@longbeachcomber.com