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Vice Mayor/5th District Councilwoman Jackie Kell To Seek Third Term On Council As Write-In Candidate
(August 18, 2005, updated) -- LBReport.com has confirmed that Vice Mayor/5th district Councilwoman Jackie Kell will seek a third term on the Council as a write-in candidate in 2006.
Write-in candidacies are allowed under LB's voter-enacted term limits law...and Mayor Beverly O'Neill won a third term as Mayor in 2002 as a write-in candidate.
Councilwoman Kell was elected to the 5th district Council seat in 1998 and cruised to reelection in 2002. Spouse Ernie Kell previously represented ELB's 5th Council district before becoming LB's first popularly elected Mayor.
Vice Mayor Kell's decision to seek a third term on the Council ends speculation that she might enter the Mayor's race.
Other announced candidates for the ELB Council seat currently held by Kell are Gerrie Schipske, Ed Barwick, Dave Radford and Terry Slavin.
[update] Within hours of news breaking on Kell's decision, candidate Schipske responded by email:
Ms. Schipske: The voters of Long Beach wisely gave their support on two occasions to the limit of two terms for members of the City Council. Jackie Kell's announcement to seek a third term not only ignores the will of the voters, but flies in the face of both recent polling and direct contact with voters in the 5th Council District that my council campaign has conducted,
Voters are angry at being ignored. They are angry that vital city services such as library hours are being cut while the City Council and Mayor continue to spend away on their own travel, cars, staff and other expenses. They are angry that the Chief of Police and the Police Officer Association have to come to council and to beg for funds to hire enough police for California's 5th largest city. The voters are angry that the city council is talking about raising the utility tax -- again ignoring the will of the same voters who told city council to reduce and eliminate the tax. [See our note below.] The voters are upset that their city sidewalks are cracked and buckling -- trapping water and inviting mosquitoes. These same voters are tired of calling city hall and getting the run around instead of action to fix these problems. The voters are extremely concerned that the council is more interested in spending money on big ticket boon doggles such as the Queen Mary and the Pike Project (without the Pike) to attract visitors -- but are not interested in taking care of public safety and environmental quality for those who actually live here. Many are concerned that Long Beach will be severely impacted if the airport is expanded to allow more air traffic and an LNG plant is placed adjacent to our downtown.
Most seriously, we are hearing that voters are tired of the city council pretending that they had nothing to do with causing the current deficit; that they didn't know that spending money they didn't have would caused the current problems; they are very upset that the city council never questioned city management as to whether or not the city could afford expanding the pension system for public employees. Simply put, many voters don't believe city council is doing the job it was elected to do.
Bottom line -- voters are tired of being ignored and taxed. How then in good consciousness can Jackie Kell -- an incumbent who has served her two terms in office and who has participated in creating the problems this city faces and offers not one solid solution for dealing with any of the financial problems facing our city -- explain to these same voters that they should reward her by ignoring the limit on city council terms and give her a third term?
[end Schipske react]
[LBReport.com note: We are unaware of Vice Mayor Kell explicitly calling for an increase in the utility tax. However we are aware (because we reported it) that on June 21, 2005 Vice Mayor Kell agendized (with Councilmembers Richardson and Reyes Uranga) an item asking the City Manager to "conduct further research and recommend potential revenue-generating ballot initiatives in Long Beach as a means of addressing critical funding needs such as increasing public safety."
Five years ago in August 2000, LBReport.com reported that Councilwoman Kell was among those voting 6-3 to put a measure on the ballot that tried to derail Norm Ryan's Prop J campaign with a City Hall measure that offered taxpayers half of the utility tax cut (Yes: Baker, Colonna, Carroll, Kell, Richardson, Webb. No: Oropeza, Grabinski, Shultz). Prop J passed and the Council's counter-measure failed.
As LBReport.com has also reported, on August 12, 2005 city management released its proposed FY 06 budget coupled with an announcement by Chief of Police Batts that in September he will present the Council with four possible levels of police increases. Three of the increases are sufficiently large that they could only be delivered by the Council dismantling management's proposed budget or by putting some type of tax increase on the ballot.]
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