Four years ago, there were competitive races for the open seat for mayor with 10 candidates and the open seat for city attorney, with three people seeking the post. City Prosecutor Doug Haubert drew one challenger and City Auditor Laura Doud was unopposed. Races for odd-numbered City Council Districts 1, 3, 5 and 7 – all open seats – attracted at least four candidates, while two people faced off for the open seat in the 9th City Council District.
Yet, fewer than 50,000 residents, representing 17.5% of registered voters, cast ballots.
Fast forward to the Long Beach municipal primary election that takes place April 10. The percentage turnout is expected to be even less. Mayor Robert Garcia, who has drawn one, little-known challenger, is expected to win in a rout. Doud, Haubert and City Attorney Charles Parkin are unopposed, as are Councilmembers Lena Gonzalez in the 1st District and Rex Richardson in the 9th District. Councilmember Suzie Price has two challengers for the 3rd District seat and Councilmember Roberto Uranga has four challengers for the 7th District seat. According to several long-time political consultants, both incumbents are heavily favored.
That leaves the 5th District, where incumbent Stacy Mungo is facing stiff competition from two challengers. While, as the incumbent, she is still favored to win, she may be forced into a June runoff. She is also facing numerous pockets of resistance within the district, reportedly due to the way she has handled several high profile issues such as the land use element, the airport and the renaming of a city library after a former district councilmember, among other items. The number one beef the Business Journal has heard about Mungo is that she takes a position before getting feedback from her constituents. She denies the accusation.
Due to time and space constraints, the Business Journal decided to conduct in-person interviews with only the 5th District candidates. Those interviews appear elsewhere in this edition.
However, in order to provide our readers with an idea of where all city council candidates stand on specific items, we asked each of them to respond to a series of 27 questions covering various topics related to city hall, the business climate, the city’s fiscal standing, community matters and more. We also offered to run a 300-word statement about why they are running.
Nine out of 11 candidates responded to the questionnaire and provided statements. Seventh District incumbent Roberto Uranga, after first confirming he would complete the questionnaire, chose not to, as did one of his challengers, Oscar Delacruz.
Some candidates did not respond to certain questions. These instances are indicated by the phrase “Left Blank.”
Due to a state law requiring Long Beach to follow the state election cycle beginning in 2020 – March primaries and November runoffs – the winners of this year’s local elections will serve about an extra six months in office.
The Business Journal offered each city council candidate the opportunity to present an unedited statement.
3rd City Council District
I’m an international trade specialist, self-employed small business entrepreneur for 23 years, and property manager. Born and raised in Southern California, I’ve called Long Beach home for 30 years.
I’m not a politician. I’m a community advocate. I’ve volunteered, and acted in leadership roles, for community groups in the past 20 years for the benefit of the environment and the quality of life for residents city-wide. I’m a founding member of the Surfrider Foundation-Long Beach, starting the conversation in the 1990’s about reconfiguring the Long Beach breakwater. I served on the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust board for 5 years, a non-profit dedicated to restoring and preserving invaluable wetlands in southeast Long Beach. I helped re-organize the Belmont Heights Community Association in 2008, serving on their Board until 2014. I served on the City’s Sustainable City Commission (2009-2014) representing District 3.
My work with local non-profits has shown that meaningful community outreach can produce successful outcomes, but only if the public process truly engages stakeholders and fully values public input.
I’m running for City Council because important concerns and issues voiced by residents are being ignored by our leaders. Our Council and City staff show little interest in genuine community outreach or obtaining input from businesses and residents on important decisions. And, when there is outreach, it’s a “check the box” effort that’s dismissive of public input. Our leaders have a practice of making decisions prior to any meaningful community discussion, then selling the pre-determined decision through so-called public outreach. Two recent examples are decisions on the Belmont Beach Aquatics Center (BBAC) and the Southeast Area Specific Plan (SEASP). Both decisions are now tied up in expensive litigation that was avoidable by respectful consideration of the public. I’ll work to change these practices when I’m elected to City Council.
Over the past 3 ½ years, I worked hard to engage the community in every decision and project affecting the district and the city. I host and attend countless meetings every month with residents, neighborhood associations, HOAs, etc. I proactively grow my network of residents from every neighborhood of the district and seek input from stakeholders. I keep an open mind when voting on any item. My community and I have spent countless hours discussing the District’s priorities at community meetings, city council meetings, and even over coffee on Saturday mornings and, through those efforts, we have developed a strong list of priorities for our beautiful district and our great city.
In my first term as a City Councilmember, I am proud to say that I have completed many of the projects that I set out to accomplish in my first campaign. Today, we have more police officers on the streets of Long Beach than we have had in almost a decade ago! We restored Engine 8, funded numerous training academies for the police and fire departments, and brought a Neighborhood Impact Prosecutor to Belmont Shore. Last year, alone, we repaved 32 miles of streets and hundreds of sidewalks. We improved parking and traffic safety throughout the community. I have established annual programs to engage stakeholders such as a small business workshop, anti-bully workshop, touch-a-truck, and Spring Concert. I sponsor countless Eagle Scout and community service projects every year. I will continue these efforts and collaborate with constituents at every step of the way to ensure that every member of my community has a voice. I am running for reelection because there is still more work to be done and I want to continue to work alongside the community and represent the priorities of the beautiful Third District.
My Name is Robert Savin and I am running for District 3 Long Beach City Council. I have served the public as a high school Physics teacher for 20 years. I am married to Michelle who is a Long Beach native who has roots in Long Beach that are hundreds of years old. I have seven children one who has special needs, so I have children in all levels of schooling throughout Long Beach. In the early 2000’s I started investing and fixing up several properties in Long Beach. In 2003, I saved a home that the city deemed condemned. I have experience managing rental properties, being a general contractor, 1031 exchanges, and have nonprofit experience. In 2014, I sat at a Long Beach City Council meeting to decide the Fate of the Belmont Olympic Pool. My voice was not heard at that meeting. I went home and realized that the people of Long Beach have lost their voice. I decided to run for office because of Long Beach tradition. The people of Long Beach have one common theme. Tradition. People are tied to this tradition. They remember the first time they swam at the Belmont pool. They remember the first time they played golf at Recreation golf course. And they remember the first time they heard the drums on a Friday night coming from Wilson high school. These same people also see changes. They see items throughout Long Beach that need repair. They see development at taxpayer expense. I have heard over and over again “Mr. Savin, you have to help the Homeless”. They say “It was never this bad, you have to do something”. The community is talking. It is not fiction. This is what genuine Long Beach people are telling me. It’s time for a change.
5th City Council District
I am running for City Council to restore an independent voice for 5th Distrcit neighborhoods that will represent the residents, not city hall. Our district streets and sidewalks are in disrepair. Public safety resources are stretched too thin. Our parks aren’t maintained and libraries have limited hours on weekends. Our city is near bankrupt due to questionable spending decisions. Violent crime is on the rise and Long Beach has a homelessness crisis.
Long Beach needs new leadership to bring fresh ideas and common sense solutions to the many challenges we face as a city.
As a former Harbor Commissioner, I have a record of Fiscal Responsibility, Transparency and Job Creation at the Port of Long Beach. I led the Port of Long Beach in:
• Creating thousands of good jobs for the City of Long Beach.
• Oversight of a $4.6 Billion Capital Improvement Program, including the replacement of the Gerald Desmond Bridge.
• Balanced an annual budget of nearly $1 Billion while Increasing funding for Police and Fire services in the Port of Long Beach.
• Brought new businesses and jobs to the Port of Long Beach.
If elected to the City Council, I will always listen to the community I represent first. I will work hard to restore police and fire services to keep our neighborhoods the safest in the city. I will help grow the general fund with new revenue without raising taxes. We will fix our crumbling infrastructure, maintain our parks and bring transparency to our local government.
I don’t claim to have all the solutions for our problems. I commit to bring forward ideas which I hope will be complimented by others so we can work together on finding solutions to make Long Beach a better city.
My interest in running for the 5th district council seat developed when I became involved with city politics as an activist, working in 2016 against the initiative for an international airport and then against the land use element (LUE). Both of those issues threatened the quality of life in east Long Beach and were overwhelmingly opposed by the residents.
As information on the budget shortfall for 2019 emerged, it was obvious there was a need for a leader with a professional background. As a manager in Finance and Material Operations in the aerospace industry for 20 years, I have the experience to meet that need. We should model our City management practices after those that are successful in the private sector. There should be no surprises.
Our streets and parks should be better maintained now that we have the funds from Measure A and yet residents are frustrated with year after year making calls to the City that provide neither a plan nor response. I believe we owe them a status on their complaints and we should ensure that the funds from Measure A are used for the purposes promised.
Public safety is the most important job in our City. We have been understaffed with both police and fire personnel since 2008. The public deserves to have safe streets and reasonable response times when they make a call for help.
The relationship between the people and our council person is important. The council person is our representative. The relationship should include transparency and open discussion on the important topics that matter to the citizens. My plan is to form a council of neighborhood leaders that meet regularly to discuss issues important to the community. The citizens and small business interests deserve to have a voice on our City Council.
I’m a proud Long Beach resident and I’m running for reelection to continue the progress we’ve made in the 5th District these past four years:
• Because of my budget efforts, we got more money to trim more trees, fill more pot holes, and repair more streets and sidewalks than ever before.
• I’ve brought in new businesses to fill empty storefronts and created thousands of new jobs.
• I stood strong with our residents against more density in the LUE, and was able to preserve our commercial areas and low profile residential development to no more than two stories.
But as my answers indicate, there’s still room for improvement on many fronts:
• While we’ve made strides in being more business friendly, we can do more, and I’d like to create a one-stop shop in City Hall to streamline business assistance and approvals.
• I support public/private partnerships like the redo of the civic center, and see another opportunity in using private dollars to revitalize Belmont pool.
• I’m concerned about the City’s inability to address concerns regarding the location of cannabis shops and would like a better balance between vendors and neighbors.
• I support our environmental efforts, but we need to be careful in rolling out changes to traffic—I’m not in favor of lane reductions that cause more traffic and emissions from idling cars. And no, we don’t need more bollards!
• We need to do more to address homelessness, to get them into shelters with services, while also ensuring that all residents feels safe to go to our parks and businesses, and walk down city streets.
I am all in for Long Beach’s 5th District – my husband and I continue to build our life here, my family still lives here, I’m involved in our local community groups, and I want to work with our residents to make it the best that it can be.
7th City Council District
As an entrepreneur, non-profit leader, public interest lawyer, and filmmaker, I am running for City Council to use my two decades of diverse leadership experience to serve our entire district. From Cal Heights to Wrigley to the Westside, we need a new generation of proactive, engaged leadership who will ensure that everyone is heard in our government. Raised by a single mother and educated in public schools, I have spent a lifetime in service working to make communities stronger. I held numerous leadership roles for President Barack Obama’s campaigns and served in The White House for his administration. I founded a nationally recognized non-profit organization to help low- and middle-income families afford legal services, and I developed technology-based programs to help at-risk youth pursue their careers and higher education in Southern California.
As the founder of a film production company, I am a small business owner who proudly lives and works in our district. I am the only candidate with a detailed platform, created after listening to thousands of neighbors and earning a diverse base of grassroots support. I am dedicated to promoting thriving, walkable small business corridors, protecting our environment, alleviating chronic homelessness, and ensuring that our residents receive high-quality services and have safe, affordable places to live and work. If elected, I would champion the creation of Business Improvement Associations throughout our district, cut red tape for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses, and support local economic development. By incentivizing job creation and having a dedicated Business Liaison in our City Council office, I will create pathways of opportunity for future entrepreneurs to live and work in our community.
Visit jaredforlb.com to learn more about my vision for District 7. I hope to earn your support!
This is what I offer to District 7 when I get voted into office:
1. You’ll get a no-nonsense leader born on the foundation of ethics. I’ll be “UP FOR CHANGE” and I want to be your choice for better change. I’ll be the new game in the city with a playbook that will push for positive progress
2. I’m a candidate who cares, a citizen, not a Politian. I’m your neighbor working with you.
3. Walk, talk and listen to concerns of the people in all District 7 communities. Then take action to implement changes for a better and healthier way of life
4. I want to be the people’s choice who applies common sense with the community’s common goals. I want to be the people’s choice.
As a proud resident, homeowner, and community advocate, I am running for City Council to better represent the needs of our diverse district and invest in the long-term success of our families and neighborhoods.
About three years ago, I co-founded Walk Bike Long Beach, a local pedestrian and bicycle safety advocacy group that fights to bring safer streets, greater walkability, and cleaner air to our communities, especially the underserved communities of Central, North, and West Long Beach. Through spearheading Walk Bike Long Beach, I have partnered with many other community-based organizations and have led or actively participated in various advocacy initiatives in the 7th District. Specifically, I:
• Started a coalition to promote community-centered redevelopment along Willow Street and Santa Fe Avenue
• Advocated for housing and infrastructure improvements along the I-710 corridor as part of the I-710 Livability Study
• Pushed for safe routes to school across the LA River as part of the Lower LA River Revitalization Plan
• Participated in the Clean Air Action Plan working groups to promote environmental health for all Long Beach residents
Based on my deep community experience, my vision for the 7th District is centered on three core priorities: housing affordability, safe and vibrant streets, and a clean and healthy environment.
I am here to be a voice for the residents of the 7th District. I am not here to serve special interests and have turned down all Political Action Committee (PAC) funding. I am also not here to create a legacy or use this as a stepping stone for higher office.
The residents of the 7th District deserve someone who will fight for them, who will hear their concerns and champion their needs. I’ve already been championing the 7th District as a community advocate, and I will continue to do so as a councilmember.