Although it is early in the 2016 local election cycle, with the filing period running from December 21 to January 15, the Business Journal is announcing several endorsements – individuals who we feel are exceptional in their service to Long Beach and who should remain on the job.


The 2016 elections are for the even-numbered districts of the Long Beach City Council, the Long Beach Community College Board of Trustees and the Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education. The primary election is April 12. Runoffs, if needed, would be in June 2016.


City Council Races


Three candidates thus far have announced they are running for the open 2nd District seat on the city council, currently held by Suja Lowenthal. After two full terms on the city council, Lowenthal, who is serving as vice mayor, decided not to seek a third term, which, under the City Charter, would require her to run as a write-in candidate.


Businesswoman Joen Garnica, businessman Eric Gray and labor advocate Jeannine Pearce have said they are running. The Business Journal plans to conduct interviews with all the candidates for the seat and then decide if it will endorse in the primary, runoff or not at all.


In the 6th District, incumbent Dee Andrews said he is running as a write-in candidate. No one else has officially announced. In the 8th District, incumbent Al Austin is expected to seek a second term, but neither he or anyone else has announced. While Andrews will have a tough time due to the write-in requirement, Austin should win easily. If races occur in those two districts, interviews will be conducted and decisions made on whether or not to issue endorsements.


Councilman Daryl Supernaw announced he is officially seeking reelection to a four-year term as the representative for the 4th Council District. Since his win in a special election last April to fill the unexpired term of the former district councilmember, we have seen Supernaw take a common-sense approach to issues. He is quiet, attentive and not one for grandstanding. While we do not agree with some of his positions, especially his opposition for a customs facility at the Long Beach Airport, he does listen to arguments from all sides prior to making a decision. Unfortunately, several of his colleagues have predetermined their position prior to public testimony being presented. We strongly supported Supernaw in his special-election win last year, and we do so again for his reelection to a full four-year term.


School Board Races


We are pleased to support incumbent Doug Otto for another term on the five-member college board of trustees, and Jon Meyer and Dr. Felton Williams in their reelection bids to the five-member board of education. All three men have done an excellent job for the students and for the community.


Otto, an attorney, was first elected to represent Area 4 in 2004 and reelected to two more four-year terms in 2008, when he ran unnopposed, and in 2012, when he received nearly 70 percent of the vote. Among his many achievements on the board, Otto has helped spearhead the nationally recognized Long Beach College Promise, maintained the financial stability of the college, including during difficult recessionary times and state cuts to education, and helped improve graduation rates and cut in half the time it takes the average student to complete his or her courses.


Area 2 representation is also on the ballot, but we have not heard from the incumbent trustee, Irma Archuleta, if she is running. She was appointed last year to fill the unexpired term of then-trustee Roberto Uranga. There is one announced candidate, Vivian Malauulu, who issued a statement last month that she is officially in the running. She is a journalism professor at the college and a registered longshore worker at the ports.


Williams, District 2, and Meyer, District 4, also battled tough financial times brought on by the recent recesssion and the subsequent declining revenue from the state. Both men, who have worked well together during their similar time on the board of education, have always put the interest of kids first.


Williams, who represents the westside of the city and part of the central area, was first elected in 2004 and reelected in 2008 and 2012, both times with more than 60 percent of the vote. He is currently serving his third term as board president, and is president-elect of the national Council of the Great City Schools, based in Washington, D.C.


Meyer, who served the school district in a variety of positions, including 13 years as a principal, during a 41-year career, won a special election for the southeast area district in 2003, then was elected to a full four-year term in 2004. He won reelection in 2008, earning more than 58 percent of the vote, and in 2012 won with more than 74 percent of the vote.