|LBREPORT.com's "Outrage of the Year" reflects the opinion of LBREPORT.com, LLC.
(December 26, 2020) -- LBREPORT.com chooses the campaign contributors to 2020 City Council candidate Cindy Allen as our Outrage of the Year. They showed the entire city the type of actions they consider acceptable from a candidate seeking public office in Long Beach. As such, their actions transcend a single election. They are now relevant in future elections and other civic matters.
The CD 2 election was one of only two with Reform Ticket candidates. Nearly all LB area electeds, along with development interests, multiple lobbyist mouthpieces, organized labor and other supportive bobbleheads wanted Cindy Allen to derail veteran neighborhood activist and Reform Ticket candidate Robert Fox.
But troubling matters began surfacing for Ms. Allen. Allegations built that she might have but didn't conclusively resolve. At that point, at least some of her principled supporters could have suspended or withheld or withdrawn their endorsements. They could have encouraged candidate candor by insisting that Ms. Allen completely answer remaining questions. To our knowledge, not one did so publicly. .
They remained quiet when revelations came to light in February 2020 regarding Ms. Allen's Oct. 2019 sale of her business -- which had lucrative City Hall contracts -- in the days leading up to her candidacy announcement. The Beachcomber broke a story indicating Ms. Allen's "buyer" was an out of state entity with basically self-inflated business ties. After initially defending the transaction, Ms. Allen tried to fend off further questions by citing a supposed "confidentiality agreement" with the "buyer" although by this time the underlying transaction had already begun to collapse. The public never saw the "confidentiality agreement" or other transaction documents. Months later, Ms, Allen sold her business to another buyer.
We found Ms. Allen's actions surprising and disturbing. Was this supposed savvy businesswomenn somehow bamboozled when online clicks uncovered what a prudent seller would know or should have known? In other cities, this might have ended a candidate's run, but not in Long Beach
The political code of silence continued when questions arose that candidates for ANY elective public office should expect to be asked and answer about their residency and voter registration record. We didn't lead on that story or in follow-ups to it; others did. We acknowledged at the time that voter registration issues, seemingly simple on initial examination, can be legally and factually complex; they require comparing specific facts to applicable law; the allegations don't automatically prove themselves.
Ms. Allen and her campaign presumably could have produced documents that would have conclusively put the issue to rest. But they didn't.
In early August 2020, the LA County DA's office received (from an acknowledged supporter of Allen's ballot opponent Fox) a document containing 41 written allegations, with attached documentation, regarding Ms. Allen's residence and voting record. As of November 4, a DA office spokesperson said those allegations remain "under review."
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Ms. Allen's stance was to recite that she lives and has lived for several years in downtown LB, denied she lives in OC, cited a decision by the LB City Clerk's office deeming her a qualified ballot candidate (based on residing in LB for at least 30 days before the election) and invoked that narrative to deflect further questions. Some of our media competitors (who had access to Allen in online "debates" they staged) let her get away with that brush off. When a neighborhood group began to ask her a question about the matter during a Zoom event, candidate Allen labeled the question an attack and walked off.
Allen's campaign also predictably went on the offensive, alleging actions by some Fox supporters (tracking Allen's whereabouts and the like) went beyond acceptable bounds and merited FPPC and/or City Prosecutor involvement. Those allegations also remain pending. But there's no equivalence between those alleged acts and allegations related to Allen's residency and voting record. The latter could divest her from her elected office if prosecutors consider her actions prosecutable and a jury were to find against her. Ask former state Senator Rod Wright about this.
Ms. Allen's strategy was to basically demand acceptance of her narrative and denials, shrug seemingly contradictory matters, attack those who pursued matters further and leave questions unanswered that outlets in major markets (larger than LB) would routinely pursue. Does that strategy sound familiar after nearly four years of a soon-to-be-former White House occupant? Is accepting this in Long Beach healthy?
In our opinion, the robotic acceptance by Ms. Allen's contributors of her actions was and is toxic. No visible or audible dissent. No withdrawn endorsements. No calls for greater candidate candor.
We expect her contributors' lockstep acceptance will now have consequences for LB taxpayers and neighborhoods citywide. We expect four years of lockstep Council votes mainly benefiting her contributors' interests and not necessarily the public's interests (Closing campaign contribution forms are due in about a month and yes, LBREPORT.com will name names and "follow the money." In the meantime, LBREPORT.com has pubished a list of her campaign's website-listed endorsers )at this link.
We believe her contributors' enabling will encourage future candidates and incumbents to offer incomplete and scornful responses in future elections. The damages we believe her contributors did will be repeated unless publicly called out and velcro'd politically.
We decline to blame Ms. Allen for what her contributors did. That's their record, not hers.
For these reasons LBREPORT.com chooses Cindy Allen's campaign contributors as our 2020 Outrage of the Year.
Watch for "runner-up" Outrages of 2020 (multiple items coming separately on LBREPORT.com.
Opinions expressed by LBREPORT.com, 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 mail@LBReport.com.
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