|(August 16, 2019, 1:40 p.m.) -- It didn't take long for LB's savvy Dem partisans to try to link 1st Council district candidate Ray Morquecho to President Donald Trump.
Although not all LB Repubs or independents support President Trump, the leadership of the LB Area Republican Party has unapologetically done so and recently handed partisan Dems ammunition to attack Morquecho. LB Area Repub leader Ben Goldberg attached the following Facebook message to an invitation for a September Morquecho campaign fundraiser: "Even though most of my friends don't live in the 1st District, it takes 5 votes to stop the Union Control and liberal madness. RSVP today for what will be a great party at an amazing venue with great people who love Long Beach. Ray is the right guy to help reverse some of the things some are trying to take away what we have come to enjoy about where we live" [and listed multiple LB Repubs.]
LB's 1st Council district is disproportionately working class and immigrant family Dem. Gluing a Trump-linked "R" to candidate Morquecho likely won't help him.
But in our opinion, it's more significant that a growing number of voters (in CA and presumably LB) are fed up with both parties and more than a few LB Dems and independent voters would support a candidate(s) who offers a change from LB's current corporate/developer/organized labor machinery Dems.
In our view, LB Area Republican Party has utterly failed to offer LB voters of any stripe -- reform-minded Dems, independents or Republicans -- credible taxpayer-serving, reform-encouraging, change-advocating voices or candidates. They've failed to advocate changes in policies practiced in LB's political swamp and in some cases have arguably become comfortable as part of its habitat.
The City Council's sole nominal Republican, Stacy Mungo, voted basically as Mayor Garcia wanted on the 2016 Measure A "blank check" sales tax increase. She voted in July 2019 to declare a so-called "fiscal emergency" and approve misleading March 2020 ballot title/text to make permanent the 2016 temporary "blank check" sales tax increase. She voted to put the utility revenue diverting/rate increase-fueling Measure M on the June 2018 ballot. She voted to put incumbent-assisting Charter Amendment BBB on the November 2018 ballot. She voted to authorize the profligate Taj Mahal Civic Center transaction. And she made the infamous Council motion to add a million dollar "media wall" that now insults taxpayers entering LB's new City Hall.
So what's candidate Morquecho's pitch to voters? I'll be another Mungo? Does that sound like a winner to you?
[Scroll down for further.]
Former 1st district Councilwoman (now state Senator) Gonzalez and LB Mayor Garcia have endorsed Mary Zendejas to continue their tradition. In our opinion, that doesn't make Ms. Zendejas a "front-runner"; it makes her a vulnerable target...but it takes candidates and campaigns who aren't afraid to cite votes cast by the immediate past Council incumbent.
Residents of LB's mainly working class 1st Council district endure LB's worst inequity: disproportionate numbers of shootings and homicides, yet Gonzalez voted to restore only 22 officers out of 208 erased by votes of her predecessor, then Councilman Garcia; the result has left LB without 186 officers LB previously had including LBPD's former field anti-gang unit.
In 2014, newly-elected Mayor Garcia picked his former Council office-aide newly elected Councilwoman Gonzalez to chair the "Elections Oversight Committee" where she swiftly advanced a change in LB law that tripled the amounts incumbents could collect from friendly contributors to their "officeholder" accounts. (Two years later, Council incumbent Pearce led the effort to enable incumbents to politically weaponize their "officeholder accounts" to help elect or re-elect their allies (including each other) to political offices.
To date, we haven't heard ANY 1st dist. Council candidate disagree with the former incumbent's votes on these items or on the Civic Center transaction or on any of Mayor Garcia's favored ballot measures or on any specific taxpayer impacting or neighborhood impacting actions. No check, no balance; no choice, no change.
We believe a 1st dist. candidate(s) who isn't afraid to say he/she would have voted differently on these items and offers a credible choice for change and reform could score an upset victory in the multi-candidate no-runoff November 1st district race. He/she might even help shape the campaign content and outcome in one or more of the March 2020 races in Council districts 2, 4, 6 and 8.
America's 2016 and 2018 election cycles resulted in political upsets across the country that stunned conventional wisdom...just not here. In our opinion, it's time.
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