(Sept. 10, 2001 - posted at 11:00 p.m.) -- After being turned out of office by his constituents less than four years ago, former 7th district Councilman Mike Donelon has announced that "a group of community leaders in Long Beach’s 7th Council District have formed an exploratory committee" on behalf of his candidacy.
A press release issued on Mr. Donelon's behalf does not identify the community leaders who formed the exploratory committee. Mr. Donelon has not yet responded to a late afternoon telephone message from LBReport.com.
Mr. Donelon's press release did not cite any claimed City Council accomplishments. It said the former incumbent is "a local business owner and active in small business issues, has lived in Long Beach for over 25 years." It added he's "been an active volunteer for community groups including: Neighborhood Watch Executive Committee, the Community Airport Council, The Long Beach Heritage Coalition, the Queensway Bay Advisory Committee, the Long Beach Junior Rowing Program, and for the past four years has led a group of young people through the process that built the successful El Dorado Skate Park and created the Long Beach Skate Park Program."
The release quoted Mr. Donelon as saying, "Like many Long Beach citizens, I am frustrated with the current state of affairs on the City Council" (but didn't specify them). The release quotes Donelon as adding, "I am honored that so many community leaders believe I can help lead our city in a better direction" (without identifying them).
The release said Mr. Donelon would make a formal announcement regarding his potential candidacy in early October.
Ms. Tonia Reyes Uranga, the first candidate to declare and file an intention to run for 7th District City Council seat with the CA Secretary of State's office, told LBReport.com:
"Frankly, I am surprised, though not amazed. He told everyone he was through and has made no secret of his disdain for politics. I am surprised because he couldn't win reelection in the 7th District four years ago. As a one term councilman, however, he probably feels he has another chance with a new constituency (resulting from redistricting) that has not had to deal with the effects of his past policies and lack thereof. He certainly has a right to run, and given his past election performance, the question is, Why?"
In 1994, Mr. Donelon replaced 7th District Councilmember Ray Grabinski, who left his seat to run for Mayor, finishing second in a runoff to Beverly O'Neill. In 1996, Mr. Grabinski moved into the 8th district, ran against then-incumbent Councilman Jeff Kellogg, and lost.
In 1998, Mr. Grabinski returned to the 7th district and ran against then-incumbent Councilman Donelon. After one term, 7th district voters ousted Donelon.
Councilman Grabinski, who is running for Mayor in 2002, is vacating the 7th district seat to which Mr. Donelon now seeks to return.