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Feature Stories

Political Endorsements Bring Surprise Alliances

From Issue: Volume XXII - Number 11

By Steve Propes

Campaign distractions like mayoral and Fifth District Council yard signs, mailbox stuffers and nuisance robo-calls, embellished by charges about whether candidate events are really debates or just beauty shows, all end on June 3. In the case of one Fifth District precinct, votes for Long Beach officials are scheduled to be cast in Lakewood. Amidst all of this activity are a bevy of community and out-of-town endorsements.

Locally, the big endorsement gets are current Mayor Bob Foster, who has endorsed Vice Mayor Robert Garcia for mayor and Stacy Mungo for the Fifth District City Council seat. Foster’s immediate predecessor, Mayor Beverly O’Neill has endorsed Carl Kemp for the Fifth District seat and businessman Damon Dunn for mayor.
Fifth District Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske is endorsing Kemp and Dunn, while Third District Councilman Gary DeLong is endorsing Mungo and Dunn.

O’Neill’s predecessor and former Mayor and Fifth District Councilmember Ernie Kell, former Fifth District Councilmember Jackie Kell and former Vice Mayor and Harbor Commissioner, Doris Topsy Elvord are all endorsing Kemp and Dunn.

Kemp endorsers include two congressional office holders, Congressman Alan Lowenthal and Congresswoman Janice Hahn, both of whom are endorsing Garcia. Former Vice Mayor Frank Colonna is also endorsing Kemp and Garcia.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe and former Long Beach Mayor and City Councilmember Eunice Sato, onetime Fifth District Councilman and ex-Beachcomber columnist Les Robbins and past Ninth District Councilmember and current Fifth District resident Jerry L. Shultz have all endorsed Mungo.

Recent mayoral candidate and Long Beach City College Trustee Doug Otto, Lakewood Vice Mayor Todd Rodgers and retired Lakewood Mayor Joe Esquivel have endorsed Mungo, as have two former mayors of Downey, a Norwalk councilmember; the Huntington Beach mayor pro tem, members of two school districts, a college trustee and the embattled one-time Assistant L.A. County Sheriff and sheriff candidate and current Gardena Mayor Paul Tanaka.

“My endorsements from Bob Foster and Don Knabe indicate to voters that I will represent their interests, not special interests,” said Mungo. “When people visit my endorsements page they see neighborhood leaders from all over the district: Stratford Square, Carson Park, Lakewood Village and more who have stood up to support me, including my former opponent and small business owner Joe Luyben.”

Eighth District Councilman Al Austin; Ninth District Councilman Steve Neal and two council members-elect, Eighth District’s Roberto Uranga and Ninth District’s Elect Rex Richardson are all supporting Kemp as is former Eighth District Councilmember Rae Gabelich.
Also endorsing Kemp and Dunn are two past city managers, Jim Hankla and Jerry Miller. One-time City Attorney Robert Shannon, one-time Fire Chief Harold Omel and two past police chiefs, Robert Luman and Anthony Batts and the Press-Telegram are supporting Kemp.

“The most important endorsement is the voters of the Fifth District,” said Kemp. “The endorsements I’ve gotten from Gerrie Schipske, the Kells and Beverly O’Neill and Alan Lowenthal are from those who have represented with distinction. They have a specific knowledge of the Fifth as opposed to Don Knabe, who lives in Cerritos.”

In the heated race for mayor, current Vice Mayor Robert Garcia has claimed the endorsement of California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Signal Hill Mayor Michael Knoll and Councilmember Larry Forester, State Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and several members of Congress, Xavier Becerra, Linda Sanchez. Second District Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal has also endorsed Garcia.

Garcia also grabbed endorsements by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Fourth District Councilman Patrick O’Donnell and recent mayoral candidate, State Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal. The Long Beach Press-Telegram and the Daily Forty-Niner also endorsed Garcia.
“I appreciate all the support from local leaders and organizations,” said Garcia. “But at the end of the day, what matters most is the support from neighbors, and community members.”

Damon Dunn also scored endorsements by Sixth District Councilman Dee Andrews and former Vice Mayor and LBCC Board of Trustees member Jeff Kellogg and LBUSD Board of Education Members Felton Williams Ph.D and Jon Meyer.

Past police chief Bill Ellis and three former fire chiefs Harold Omel, Terry Harbour and Dave Ellis as well as former Press-Telegram publisher Peter Ridder, the Long Beach Register and the Beachcomber have endorsed Dunn.

A notable out of town Dunn endorser is former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

“Beverly O’Neill is far more important locally than Condoleezza Rice. I’ve built a very broad coalition of support that includes leaders from all political backgrounds. I’ve built my campaign on developing solutions. I have not led with any ideological or partisan agenda.

Look at the list of endorsements and vast diversity of them all,” said Dunn.