From Issue: Volume XXII - Number 5
By Jay Beeler
Just four-plus weeks to go before the April 8 election to fill five city council seats, along with a new mayor, city attorney, city prosecutor and a bunch of school board positions. We’ve been attending the various forums and found a helpful tool with www.padnet.tv, which has one-hour, on-demand opportunities to listen to candidates via the computer.
Since many of you will be voting by mail – and if you are clueless who to vote for in some cases – I’ll offer my two cents worth on the topic. In each case I am assuming there will be a run-off, so this is what I see in the political crystal ball:
Favorites in the Fifth District are Joe Luyben and Stacy Mungo. Luyben is the type of person who will put his heart and soul into the job, much like the current councilmember, Gerrie Schipske. He has extensive history in the district, is a business owner who signs checks on the front side and knows that his top job is to keep the infrastructure in repair. He is cautiously approaching any civic center rebuilding.
Stacy Mungo wins on beauty, brains and energy, but may not have the time to devote time to the job as much as Luyben. Her budget work with LA County, experience with the El Dorado Park Estates Homeowners Association and being a reserve deputy sheriff as pluses – as long as the later item is given up, if she is elected to office.
Carl Kemp has extensive City Hall experience, but was endorsed by the Long Beach fire and police unions, a huge negative and “kiss of death.” Our next council members will need to vote on more pension reform issues and he has already pledged to support the union positions even before knowing the facts as your elected public servant.
In the Third District the union favorite is Suzie Price. Like Mungo, she wins on beauty, brains and energy, but could not possibly do well while juggling Orange County homicide prosecutorial duties, a family with children and the demands of being a councilmember. Because of her “kiss of death” fire and police endorsements, she will not get my vote.
Jim Lewis and Jack Rosenberg are good picks for a run-off. Jim Lewis has run a non-profit business locally and is astute to the needs of the Third District as well as citywide. He is highly respected for being ethical, hard working and an effective leader.
Rosenberg has strong business expertise in commercial real estate. Here is somebody who will comfortably reach outside the Long Beach city limits to bring us new business and jobs. Like Joe Luyben, he is a long-time resident who will spend our money wisely and conservatively.
Both Lewis and Rosenberg have experience signing the front side of a check and both will have the time to devote to a full-time job that only pays for part-time work.
With so many candidates for mayor you have two good choices in the conservative and liberal runoff match-ups, so take your pick:
Conservative Damon Dunn is “Mr. Excitement” running for mayor. He is someone who won’t hesitate to contact big corporations to bring us new business, jobs and philanthropic dollars. He is a rags-to-riches Stanford and Harvard graduate, former NFL football player and businessman who created a $160 million commercial real estate enterprise before turning his attention full time into philanthropic work. Doug Otto is a conservative, long-time local attorney with experience with land development issues, long-range planning activity and he currently serves as a LBCC trustee.
The top liberal choices are Robert Garcia and Gerrie Schipske, who wear their love for Long Beach on their sleeves. Robert is a “cheerleader” for Long Beach, has Mayor Foster’s endorsement, and looks outside our borders for new opportunities. Gerrie fights for transparency and has many creative ideas for making our city a better place; most people in the Fifth District think highly of her. All of these mayoral candidates are working to make Long Beach a better place.
This next batch of city leaders is going to be tested by union demands, huge unfunded pension liabilities, infrastructure needs and a methodology to grow revenues. The names mentioned above are qualified, willing and able to get us there. In our next issue we’ll look at other races and have recommendations there as well.