(June 2, 2006) -- We think Mayor Beverly O'Neill endorsement of Becky Blair's 2nd district candidacy could have a real effect: it may cost her 2nd district votes, on top of those already paddling away from Blair after seeing her responses at a number of candidate encounters, capped by a recent televised forum.
The record of LB's soon-to-be-former Mayor O'Neill is central to what City Hall did to 2nd district residents, businesses and taxpayers citywide for nearly twelve years. This hasn't dawned on the Press-Telegram, which probably still wonders why voters didn't reelect City Auditor Burroughs (whom the PT endorsed in April as they endorse Ms. Blair now).
Mayor O'Neill inherited the most valuable large piece of undeveloped shoreline public property in the state of California. She bequeaths on that property "The Pike"...which we consider a City Hall facilitated imposture.
"Queensway Bay" was supposed to the ocean closer to downtown. Today, the ocean is invisible from much of downtown Ocean Blvd.
LB's Aquarium was supposed to be self-supporting. Today, thanks to then-2nd district Councilman Alan Lowenthal voting to put public money at risk without any serious public or Council oversight, it's draining over $5 million per year of public Tidelands money to pay Aquarium bondholders instead of doing things like cleaning and improving 2nd district beaches.
During twelve years of her incumbency, we are unaware of a single instance in which Mayor O'Neill has publicly opposed a single policy of the Port regarding public health, safety or security. This is an amazing record when multiple government bodies and medical researchers have said Port-related operations are harming human health and imposing costs in LB and beyond...even as her personally-selected Harbor Commissioners continue to resist a commitment not to worsen current conditions while they seek taxpayer funds to expand capacity (and worsen their impacts).
On security, Mayor O'Neill has also done what the Port wanted, seeking public money for incomplete security while remaining silent as the Port resisted container fees that could pay for more security. In May, the "American Ass'n of Port Authorities" (in which the PoLB is a member) opposed an amendment to the House-passed "SAFE Ports" Act that would have required inspection of all incoming cargo containers (not just a fraction, as justified by industry interests).
Inasmuch as a radioactive "dirty bomb" in an uninspected cargo container might leave parts of downtown Long Beach and vicinity undesirable and kill or shorten the peoples' lives, LBReport.com publisher Bill Pearl (guest hosting a recent edition of Mum's the Word, Channel 3, sponsored by Smooths owner John Morris) asked would-be LB Councilwoman Blair if she supported the defeated container inspection amendment. LB Councilwoman Blair said "no."
We asked would-be Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal the same question...and she told us the same thing. [!]
And in the past 24 hours, Ms. Lowenthal has expressed dismay that Mayor O'Neill didn't endorse her.
We don't get it. Do Mesdames Blair and Lowenthal really think 2nd district residents and businesses want what Mayor Beverly O'Neill brought the 2nd district over the past twelve years?
Second district Council candidate Bry Myown didn't parrot Port positions. She opposed what was done at Queensway Bay and the Pike before entering the TV studio. She spoke up when it meant facing down Mayor O'Neill. Ms. Myown's actions have been consistent and principled, not predatory and exploitative.
Councilmembers Lowenthal and Baker did many good things, but we think they erred in voting for some big things backed by Mayor O'Neill. If Ms. Myown had a Council vote, things might be different -- and better -- for the Second District and the City than they are now.
As between Bry Myown -- who opposed what was done at the Pike and led the fight against LNG from its inception when O'Neill applauded both -- and Becky Blair and Suja Lowenthal -- now in a hair-pulling contest over O'Neill's endorsement and without their own records of standing up on these issues before seeking votes -- whom should LB voters trust to lead the 2d district and LB away from mistakes of the past instead of repeating them?