See/Hear 6th Dist (South Wrigley/Central LB/Cambodia Town) Council Incumbent Andrews + Four Challengers On Density, Homeless, Measure A-Forever Tax, Restoring Police, Restoring Public's Right To Agendize Council Items And More
|(February 5, 2020, 11:55 a.m.) -- LBREPORT.com provides dual extended on-demand VIDEO (webposted Feb 4) PLUS on-demand Audio Podcast coverage of the
The event, moderated by Alan Tolkoff at LB's Veterans Park, posed audience-submitted questions to 6th dist. Council incumbent/Vice Mayor Dee Andrews and four of his five challengers: Suely Saro, Sharifah Hardie, Josephine Villasenor and Craig Ursuy (Ana Arce didn't participate.)
Vote by mail ballots began flying Feb. 3 for the March 3 election in the district encompassing South Wrigley, Central LB and Cambodia Town with impacts citywide (as prevailing candidate will have a vote on matters impacting taxpayers and neighborhoods citywide.
The audience sought answers on issues including increased housing density, responses to homelessness, the March 2020 Measure A-forever sales tax ballot measure, restoring police, restoring the public's right to agendize items for Council action and more.
LBREPORT.com's extended VIDEO coverage and Audio Podcast are coverage. These are only lightly edited (removed pauses for microphone passing and the like.) One submitted audience question regarding a civil dispute involving Cambodian monks (7th district) wasn't pursued on an audience decision by show of hands. .
[Scroll down for further.]
On-deand Audio Podcast, To launch, click here (MP3)
Chronology (audio podcast times, video times differ slightly):
The first audience question (which moderator Tolkoff indicated he'd edited to make it "less inflammatory"] accused Mayor Garcia and the Council of first telling LB voters that the 2016 Measure A sales tax would be temporary but now want voters to make it a "Forever Tax" with LB's police and firefighter unions spending large sums "to buy the passage of Measure A" after receiving Mayor/Council approved pay raises. "Do you support this form of ballot rigging [in which] large organizations can buy votes with large campaign contributions?" the question asked.
Challengers Hardie, Villasenor and Ursuy variously opposed the current Measure A-forever tax ballot measure. Challenger Saro said she supports the March 2020 ballot measure based on her understanding that if Measure A isn't extended, an already-enacted L.A. County sales tax will automatically take effect and she favors keeping the tax money in Long Beach. Council incumbent Andrews (who voted to put both the 2016 "temporary" Measure A and the now-proposed Measure A-Forever taxes on the ballot and is endorsed by LB's police and firefighter unions) didn't directly respond to the question, didn't argue against the now-proposed Measure A-Forever tax but said the City needs to find some other ways he didn't specify to pay for infrastructure without raising taxes.
The 6th district is impacted by L.A. river homeless encampments and vagrants visible in nearby neighborhoods (the latter blamed on social networks for various neighborhood thefts); the incumbent and challengers sought better implementation of a number of current City practices but proposed no major changes to current City practices.
The 6th Council district had LB's second highest number of 2019 shootings and homicides, but neither incumbent Andrews nor challenger Saro (with the two largest campaign warchests in the race) would commit to using 10% of Measure A's annual $60 million revenue ($6 million) to restore 30 officers for taxpayers (out of 150 officers not restored to date.)
Re restoring police, Ms. Saro indicated she wants to see the budget first [city management recently previewed the FY 21 budget based on no increases in current staffing], wants to know how the added offiers would be used and indicated she's interested in knowing more about LBPD's now-former [field] anti-gang unit and why LBPD no longer has it [not a secret; LBREPORT.com coverage here.]
Incumbent Andrews (endorsed by LB's police and firefighter unions) said he didn't want taxpayers to have to pay [although he voted to Measure A and the Measure A-forever measures on the ballot] and didn't indicate how else he'd restore officers or pay for other Council approved spending.
Unlike the 2nd and 8th district Council races, the 6th district has no declared "Reform Ticket" candidate, although one of the LB Reform Coalition's issues did come up: restoring the public's right to agendize items for Council voted action (erased in a mid-1990's Council action.) All four forum challengers voiced varying levels of support. Challenger Saro included a nuanced response, indicating she'd consider doing so but with some type of process (possibly allocating such items to one Council meeting each month or every other month.) Incumbent Andrews didn't support restoring the public's right to agendize Council items, saying he believes the public trusts him to do so. He urged residents to more frequently attend Council meetings [although he and his Council colleagues voted last year to curtail public's ability to address the Council on Council-agendized items.)
Incumbent Andrews was first elected in an April 2007 special election in which he narrowly outpolled then-6th dist. Council candidate Al Austin. Andrews was re-elected in 2008, 2012 and 2016, in the latter after waging a write-in campaign. In 2020, Andrews doesn't face a write-in requirement as a result of LB's voter-approved Charter Amendment BBB (put on the November 2018 ballot by LB's Council incumbents) that now lets the incumbent Mayor and Councilmembers seek three terms without a write-in requirement. Measure BBB also included a provision that doesn't count special elections among the three allowed terms (allowing Andrews to seek a final term in 2020.
As of Jan. 18, the Andrews campaign reported cash on hand of $35,531; his endorsers include Mayor Garcia and the LB Police and Firefighter Association PACs; An independent expenditure campaign has also surfaced backing Andrews (and Council incumbent Austin in district 8) funded with $14,500 to date by the BNSF Railway Co, Edison Int'l, AES and the LB Collective Ass'n.
Challenger Suely Saro, PhD, is the daughter of Cambodian refugees and a former aide to former state Senator (now state Insurance Commissioner) Ricardo Lara, Dr, Saro has Lara's endorsement and that of former 1st dist. Councilwoman (now state Senator) Lena Gonzalez, 7th dist. Councilman Roberto Uranga and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party. As of Jan. 18, her campaign reported cash on hand of $28,234. An independent expenditure committee supporting her election has surfaced from the L.A. County Federation of Labor, funded with $30,000 from the UniteHere! union (displeased with Andrews' vote against "Claudia's Law" benefiting hotel workers and the UniteHere! union trying to organize them.)
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