(January 13, 2002) -- Darwin Thorpe, the only member of the LB City College Board of Trustees to oppose an LBCC property tax increase ballot measure, is facing a re-election challenge from former LB Councilman Jeff Kellogg.
In a written statement, Mr. Kellogg said, "I declare my candidacy with the unanimous support of all the other members of the Board" (Tom Clark, Dianne McNinch, Trudy Polsky, Roberto Uranga). These Board members all support the March, 2002 ballot measure (Prop E) that would raise LB property taxes for LBCC facilities and other spending. Mr. Thorpe opposes the measure.
Asked by LBReport.com if he supports the Prop E property tax increase, Mr. Kellogg said, "I'm going to be voting for it."
Mr. Kellogg's written statement accused Mr. Thorpe of an "inability to work with people compared to my own leadership experiences," adding "I believe we need an elected official from our area who wants to make a positive difference instead of having an incumbent who appears to have a vendetta against the very school he is entrusted to lead into the future."
For his part, Mr. Thorpe said in a written release he is proud of his past accomplishments, but has grown increasingly frustrated with the direction of college management during the past three years. He said "financial and academic standards and practices need a major overhaul. Employee relations are at rock bottom, while getting relevant and meaningful information from management is a major chore, and many times, impossible. Solutions to these problems can only be found through responsible and mature leadership."
Mr. Thorpe called the decision to put a proposed $176 million property tax increase bond on the March, 2002 ballot an "ill considered decision" and chastised the other incumbents' "failure to cite information that would justify the need for this enormous tax burden on the citizens of Long Beach."
Thorpe said he is the only Boardmember "who has spent his career as an educator within the community college system and knows from decades of experience that the solution to every issue is not to blindly shovel taxpayer money at the problem and hope that it will go away." He added that he intends to "make reform the hallmark of the next four years.
Mr. Thorpe challenged "other College Board members and any competing candidates in area one to public debate in open forums, district-wide, to discuss academic standards, college management practices, and the so called "need" for $176 million dollars of bond money."
Mr. Kellogg, who is a member of the LBCC Hall of Fame, was 8th district City Councilman from 1988-2000 and Vice Mayor from 1990-94. He was a founding member and Chairman of the $2.2 billion Alameda Corridor project that, his statement said, "allowed the Port of Long Beach to expand without negatively impacting the local neighborhoods with additional traffic and noise."
Mr. Kellogg, born and raised in the Bixby Knolls area, attended local public schools including LBCC before receiving a football scholarship to the University of Oregon, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in History. He specializes in commercial/retail real estate with Newmark of California, headquartered in NYC with an office in LB.
The Thorpe-Kellogg race will be decided by voters in NLB, Bixby Knolls, Los Cerritos and California Heights while the property tax increase measure (Prop E) will be decided by LB voters citywide (and adjoining areas within the LBCC district).