Unwisely Trying To Cover A Camera Lens Then, But Actually Worse Now Because... is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
Prior to publishing this editorial, extended another invitation at 2:47 p.m. Sat. March 23 to state Senate candidate Lena Gonzalez, cc'd to her campaign manager and campaign consultant, inviting her to speak with us by phone to record our conversation for on-demand access by our readers, about pending state legislation, the content of one of her campaign fliers and some of her City Council voted actions, followed by subjects of her choosing that pertain to the March 26 state Senate district election. We asked for a response by 6:00 p.m. We received none.
(March 23, 2019, 8:15 p.m.) -- has said before and reiterates now: when Long Beach Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez unwisely tried to cover our video camera lens in August 2016 when we politely asked her if she supported restoring more police officers for taxpayers than Mayor Garcia had recommended [at that time 8 out of 208 erased], she didn't snub us, she snubbed you.

Screen save from video following 1st Council district FY17 Community Budget meeting, Aug. 25, 2016

What Councilwoman Gonzalez did then (for which she received no criticism from other media outlets) invited her do what she's doing now: snubbing you by avoiding questions from us and perhaps others in seeking to become CA's next state Senator. On Feb. 28, 2019, we asked candidate Gonzalez by email whether she supports or opposes SB 246 (proposes to create an oil severance tax that could bring CA billions in new revenue). opposed by major oil companies who've funded a committee that spent over $1,000,000 since late February in an independent campaign (legally separate from Gonzalez's campaign) to send Gonzalez to Sacramento. (We asked her about SB 246 in late February and didn't wait until near the end of the election cycle to report the issue to our readers.)

We also believe an incumbent's voting record in their current office is always relevant when they seek higher office, so we'd like to ask state Senate candidate Gonzalez about some of her City Council votes in which she:

  • 1. Approved budgets that failed to restore 186 citywide deployable police officers (including LBPD's former field anti-gang unit) for taxpayers while her working class district endures what we consider LB's worst inequity: disproportionate numbers of shootings and homicides, many of which are gang-related.)
  • 2. Approved budgets that failed to restore downtown LB's second fire engine (Engine 101) that previously protected residents facing high rise/high density risks while she voted to approve more developer-desired downtown density.
  • 3. Approved putting the "blank check" Measure A sales tax increase on the ballot (June 2016) imposing the highest sales tax rate among CA cities (tied with only a few others) while she and her Council colleagues fail to restore police and fire levels that LB taxpayers previously received?
  • 4. Led efforts as chair of the Council's "Elections Oversight Committee" to triple amounts incumbents can collect from friendly contributors to their "officeholder accounts," then two years later (item advanced by new Committee chair Pearce) voted to weaponize the tripled officeholder sums so incumbents can use them to support their favored candidates running for other offices.
  • 5. Declined to support pleas from parking-impacted downtown and Alamitos Beach residents to add data missing in a City-hired consultant's "parking study," inviting more developer-desired density while worsening conditions residents endure daily.
  • 6. Voted to support what we consider corporate welfare (that City Hall considers "economic development") by letting a downtown luxury hotel developer/operator keep 80% its hotel tax for nine years. [Watch for similar crony capitalism that may be coming to other Ocean Blvd. projects.]
  • 7. Voted for the costly and we believe needless new Civic Center without seeking bids for an economical City Hall seismic retrofit (done with City Halls in L.A. and Pasadena.) Councilwoman Gonzalez's Council vote will effectively give a private developer/operator escalating annual sums (that won't be available to provide LB taxpayers with police, fire, parks and libraries citywide) under a "public-private partnership" facilitated by legislation carried by now-exited state Senator Lara who's endorsed Gonzalez as his successor.
  • 9. Supported inclusion of a million dollar "media wall" for the lobby of the new Civic Center's Taj Mahal City Hall [see photo/details first (again) on here]

Long Beach Councilmembers don't have to answer questions posed from the public speaker's podium during Council meetings. They don't routinely hold open press conferences where questions can be posed. Many prefer communications they control via emailed "newsletters" or Tweets or Facebook dispatches, responses to which they can sometimes ignore or block.

If press outlets flinch at asking questions when incumbents seek higher office, incumbents never have to answer. So if not now, when?

Regardless of one's opinions on the items we cited above, there should be agreement that it's unhealthy for any incumbent to expect that given sufficient campaign contributions and endorsements, they'll be rewarded with higher office by evading press questions and avoiding responsive answers.

None of this is personal. It's entirely about policy. believes checks and balances matter. The 1st Amendment explicitly protects the press to ensure an independent, non-governmental brake on those in power. Trying to cover our camera lens when we asked a fair question was a momentary clumsy action that Councilwoman Gonzalez may or may not regret now. But what's taking place now is in our opinion worse because it's a calculated and deliberate campaign strategy. It's designed to obstruct media outlets from getting answers and reporting them on matters that involve the consent of the governed.

We'll learn if that strategy succeeds in this election shortly after 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday March 26. will report the results live.

Opinions expressed by, our contributors and/or our readers are not necessarily those of our advertisers. We welcome our readers' comments/opinions 24/7 via Disqus, Facebook and moderate length letters and longer-form op-ed pieces submitted to us at






Support really independent news in Long Beach. No one in's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to incumbent Long Beach officials, development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. is reader and advertiser supported. You can help keep really independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.

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