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    John Donaldson, Who Sued City Hall Seeking Rebates For LB Consumers For Last Winter's Gas Bills, Files to Run for 5th District Council Seat

    We include reaction from Councilwoman Jackie Kell

    John Donaldson(January 12, 2002) -- John Donaldson, the folksy retired business executive who has opposed City Council actions on issues ranging from Queensway Bay to consumer utility rates (and co-founded the group now suing City Hall to obtain rebates for LB residents for last winter's record setting gas bills) has filed papers to run against 5th district Councilwoman Jackie Kell.

    Mr. Donaldson's candidacy in the usually quiet ELB district virtually ensures a race likely to raise fundamental challenges to the way LB City Hall is currently run.

    Mr. Donaldson has been a vocal critic of current City Hall development, tax and spending actions, themes also likely to surface in the independently run Mayoral campaigns of LB fiscal reformer and Prop J utility tax cut leader Norm Ryan and 3d district environmental advocate Diana Mann. All supported Prop J which the incumbent Mayor and 3d and 5th district Council incumbents did not.

    Mr. Donaldson, 55, is a 23 year LB resident and managed a LB company until taking early retirement four years ago. His candidate statement filed with the City Clerk (released to us by Mr. Donaldson) pulls no punches, stating in pertinent part:

    When the City gouged residents with the highest gas bills in the nation last winter, it became obvious it's all about power -- and residents don't have any. Right now, power in this City is vested among a select group of city bureaucrats, taxpayer-subsidized developers, corporate lobbyists, and political party operatives. The result of their access and influence has been to deeply indebt the taxpayers for risky, failed or doomed downtown redevelopment projects.

    I have a vision of power resting in the hands of the neighborhoods. I will work with others to change the City Charter and empower neighborhood councils.

    I will oppose the building of 3500 residential units at the airport. I will oppose new commercial development that brings low-wage, no-benefit jobs and increases traffic and environmental pollution while diluting our police resources. I will follow the voter mandate of Measure J and fight for lower taxes. I support strong enforceable ethics laws.

    I will vote to keep parks for open space and recreational use only. I will vote to eliminate city council slush funds and use the money to put more police officers on the street. I will work to empower neighborhoods, to bring control of important decisions that impact our quality of life, density, crime, traffic, pollution, commerce, to neighborhood councils.

    I will continue to work to lower taxes and to keep faith with the mandate of voters in approving Prop. J.

    I will work to bring to fruition a vision of our city, for all citizens, for more parkland, more programs for our children, better maintenance of our streets, sidewalks, and trees. I will oppose the continued squandering of this city's resources on risky development schemes based on tourism and big box retail... I believe in building our city for its citizens.

    I will fight to see that density does not increase and that we mitigate the impact of poor past decision making that has brought decaying infrastructure and higher crime...

    Reaction from Councilwoman Jackie Kell

    Jackie KellFor her part, 5th district incumbent Councilwoman Kell told

    I'm sure Mr. Donaldson will bring some interesting views to the discussion. We probably disagree on some issues and probably agree on other issues.

    I know that last year's high natural gas prices were very disconcerting to him as they were to me and everyone else. But I will say that today, we -- the City of Long Beach -- have the lowest natural gas rates in the entire state of California. [Separate coverage at LB Jan 02 low natural gas rates].

    Everybody's input helped to solve the crisis. And of course, Mr. Garner [LB Energy Director] has done an outstanding job of dealing with the situation and getting us into longer term, excellent contracts for the price of gas.

    It'll be an interesting public debate. That's what democracy is all about.

    Also running for the 5th district seat is ELB resident Ananya Mullane.

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