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Community News

Voters Apathetic as Election Goes to Runoff

From Issue: Volume XXII - Number 8
4/18/2014


By Bill Owen

Months of grinding on the campaign trail came to an end for many mayoral, city council and school board candidates on April 8 when some Long Beach voters made their voices heard and settled the score for the next four years. Other candidates will have to hold their breath until the June 3 runoff election.

Current Vice Mayor Robert Garcia took 25.4 percent of the vote for mayor with 9,670 votes, real estate investor Damon Dunn received 8,478 votes for 22.6 percent and Bonnie Lowenthal received only 7,453 votes for 19.6 percent despite being favored.

Charles Parkin and James Johnson will battle it out for the title of City Attorney. Parkin, who was involved in some last-minute controversy with the Long Beach Police Officer’s Association, received 45.1 percent of the vote while Johnson got 37.8 percent.

Suzie Price won District 3 outright with 54.9 percent of the vote. A significant gap sat between her and Jack Rosenberg who received 1,090 votes for 13.1 percent.

District 5 will have to decide between Stacy Mungo and Carl Kemp to represent them. Mungo received 37.7 percent of the vote with 3,217 votes while Kemp was close behind with 2,679 votes for 31.4 percent.

District 1 will see a runoff between Lena Gonzalez and Misi Tagaloa. Gonzalez received 45.5 percent of the vote with 874 votes and Tagaloa received 585 votes for 30.45 percent.

District 7 saw Roberto Uranga take 50.25 percent of the vote with 2,355 votes while Joan Greenwood was the next closest competitor with 1,150 votes for 24.54 percent.

Finally, Rex Richardson seized District 9 with 1,622 votes, which made up 72.41 percent of the vote.

Residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of Measure A, which allows the city to tax medical marijuana transactions. More than 26,000 voters (74 percent) thought the measure would benefit Long Beach.

The city will now be able to impose a tax of six percent on marijuana sales. This rate can increase to 10 percent in the future if need be.

A property tax of $15 per square foot will be imposed on properties used to grow medical marijuana. This rate is reduced to $10 per square foot for nonprofits.

Voter turnout was very low despite the smooth-sailing election. Of the roughly 285,000 registered voters in Long Beach only about 40,000 (about 14 percent) casted a vote.

Some in the Twittersphere would have liked to see a higher number. @LAWilliams30 tweeted, “Of the 285K registered voters in Long Beach, 14%, or about 41K voted. What happened?”

@Guardabascio cut to the chase by calling the turnout “Pitiful!” and encouraged increased participation.

bill@longbeachcomber.com