(Editor’s note: This article was disseminated by the Business Journal as a Newsflash on October 26 and has since been updated. To receive Newsflash, which is free, click here.)
Former Long Beach Harbor Commissioner and lifelong Long Beach resident Rich Dines announced his candidacy for the city’s 5th District city council seat on October 26. The seat is currently held by Stacy Mungo, who is running for reelection in 2018. The primary is April 10.
Dines’ entry into next year’s city council race had been rumored since August when Mayor Robert Garcia chose not to reappoint him to the harbor commission.
Dines and Mungo
A press release stated Dines chose to run to “restore a voice in city hall for northeast residents of Long Beach.”
“Long Beach is facing many challenges today,” Dines stated. “Our police and fire departments are underfunded and spread extremely thin, our streets and parks are in desperate need of repair, we greatly need to rebuild our infrastructure, our neighborhoods are in need of preservation instead of increased density and universal urbanization, and our taxes are amongst the highest in the entire state. I want to help facilitate solutions to these challenges and look forward to working closely with the residents and business owners of Long Beach’s 5th City Council District to do so.”
Dines is a port manager at the Los Angeles Harbor and is responsible for directing rail cargo. Former Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster appointed Dines to the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners in 2011, and was eligible for another six-year term.
In a press release, Dines stated that while serving on the commission he worked with his fellow boardmembers and port staff to improve efficiencies, create programs and policies to save the port “hundreds of millions of dollars,” create new jobs with the priority of hiring local residents and veterans, set the port on a path to zero emissions operations, and more.
“I enjoyed my service and after much thought and encouragement from community and business leaders, I have now chosen to run for city council, where I feel I can make a difference continuing to work on behalf of our community,” Dines stated.
Dines currently serves on California State University, Long Beach’s policy and steering committee; the board of directors for the International Seafarer Center; and the advisory board of the International Trade Academy at Banning High School. He lives with his wife Yolita in the Lakewood Village neighborhood of Long Beach.
The day after Dines’ official entry into the race, Mungo issued a press release announcing that “more than 300 supporters” attended her campaign kick-off event on October 13. The release did not indicate how much money was raised from that event, but the July 31, 2017, campaign disclosure statement showed Mungo had already received nearly $60,000 for her reelection effort.
At the October 13 event, Mungo told her supporters, “I’m running for re-election to continue the work we’ve started, to improve our roads and sidewalks, to protect the low-density character of our neighborhoods, and to create new economic opportunities for businesses in the 5th District. I promise to continue to do what I have always done, and that’s put our residents first.”
On November 2, Mungo’s campaign announced receiving the endorsement of the labor group, Painters and Allied Trades District Council 36.
“This should be an interesting race to follow,” Business Journal Publisher George Economides said. “We expect more than $200,000 combined to be spent between now and the April 10 election, and it could get a bit nasty.”
He said that while incumbents are always favored in city council races, he believes the face-to-face debates will most likely be the deciding factor.
“Four years ago, voter turnout in the district primary was nearly 30% – and that was with a hotly contested mayoral race, which is not anticipated next year. However, several hot-button issues such as the 2016 Measure A tax increase, the current debate over land use and density, the effort to rename the El Dorado Park library after deceased mayor Ernie Kell, the airport, what do to about coyotes in the neighborhoods, etc., have engaged more 5th District residents, so we expect a larger turnout.
“This may be the only contested race in the city, so all eyes on the 5th District,” he said. “That also makes it easier for the two candidates to raise money.”
The filing deadline to run for city offices (mayor, city attorney, city auditor, city prosecutor or city council for odd-numbered districts), is January 12.