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Seen LIVE As It Happened, On-Demand Now: Councilwoman Gabelich's Decision Re Future of 8th Council District: She Cites Her Accomplishments, Notes Challenges Ahead...And Endorses Al Austin for 8th Dist. Council

(Feb. 8, 2012) -- As seen with LIVE video (with on-demand VIDEO now available below), 8th dist. Councilwoman Rae Gabelich held a Feb. 7 press event at which she reviewed her accomplishments, noted challenges ahead...and endorsed Al Austin the 8th dist. City Council race.

For VIDEO of the event (unfiltered, as webcast LIVE by us as it happened), click VIDEO icon below:

The event was held at the Long Beach Clothing Co. on Atlantic Ave. (recently relocated from the Pike to Bixby Knolls), symbolic of the area's revitalization, Councilwoman Gabelich said in a release.

Mr. Austin stands alongside wife Daysha; retired LB state Senator/Assemblywoman Betty Karnette is in foreground

At the event, Councilwoman Gabelich backed Mr. Austin [whose opponent, Lillian Kawasaki, has been endorsed by former Mayor O'Neill and the LB Area Chamber PAC]...and Mr. Austin praised Councilwoman Gabelich for her accomplishments.

Councilwoman Gabelich and candidate Austin both cited public safety in their remarks. Councilwoman Gabelich has opposed a number of cuts to police and fire levels advocated as budget-balancing measures by Mayor Foster and enacted by a Council majority. Candidate Austin indicated that he favored the alternative budget proposal advanced last year by Councilmembers Gabelich, Neal and Schipske (opposed by Mayor Foster, voted down by a Council majority) that sought to avert a number of cuts to police, fire and other city services by using already accrued oil revenue.

After years of grassroots advocacy in the leadership of LBHUSH/LBHUSH2 urging protection of neighborhoods' quality of life amid Airport impacts (taking positions that put her at odds with City Hall and some corporate interests), Gabelich challenged and unseated an incumbent in 2004 who had the endorsement of then-Mayor Beverly O'Neill and the LB Area Chamber of Commerce PAC.

During nearly eight years in office, Councilwoman Gabelich regularly dueled with Mayor O'Neill and Mayor Bob Foster (the latter most recently on budget cuts and public safety funding).

Councilwoman Gabelich cited among her major accomplishments the "right sizing" of LB Airport's permanent terminal facilities to dimensions smaller than favored by the LB Area Chamber and some airline interests but acknowledged by Airport management as feasible. The resulting Airport terminal upgrade is now embraced by city officials as preserving the Airport's "boutique" size and appeal...and Councilwoman Gabelich said the outcome has produced an upgraded facility that the entire city can be proud of while protecting LB's Airport Noise Ordinance.

Among those present: Redistricted/now former 8th district candidate Mike Kowal and retired 7th dist. Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga

In 2008, when Mayor Bob Foster urged Council approval for new five year (instead of the previous three year) contracts giving raises to two major City Hall employee unions (firefighters and non-public-safety), Councilwoman Gabelich famously asked City Manager Pat West publicly, "How are we going to pay for this?" When the City Manager's answer left her unpersuaded, she voted "no" on both contracts (the only Councilmember to do so). Mayor Foster has since called the contracts unsustainable and sought pension changes (received from two of the three unions to date).

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