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    LB Firefighters Union Releases Council Endorsements

    (January 27, 2006) -- The union representing LB Firefighters has announced its endorsements in the April 2006 LB City Council elections: incumbent Councilmembers Bonnie Lowenthal, Val Lerch, Jackie Kell (running a write-in campaign), challenger Alex Cherin (against 7th district Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga) and businessman Gary DeLong for the 3d Council district seat held by now-Mayoral candidate Frank Colonna. has also learned that the union will shortly be announcing its endorsement of incumbent City Attorney Robert Shannon.

    The Firefighters Union previously announced (and we reported) its endorsement of retired So. Cal Edison president Bob Foster for Mayor, a decision (like the Council endorsements) made by the union's 11-person Executive Committee (the union's membership is roughly 425).

    The Firefighters union released explanatory statements and endorsee reactions which we post in full below:

    Bonnie Lowenthal, re-election candidate 1st Council district

    Councilwoman Lowenthal's dedication to the residents of Long Beach is a hallmark of her philosophy that the governing of a community must be based upon inclusion and justice. Her continuing support of the City’s firefighters is proof of her desire to ensure that the City’s essential public safety services are afforded equally to all its residents. Councilwoman Lowenthal’s actions during her term in office have ensured that the firefighting and paramedic resources needed to respond to the City’s emergencies continue to be in place and ready to respond at any time.

    Councilwoman Lowenthal stated, "I am very pleased to receive the endorsement from the Long Beach Firefighters Association.  I have a strong record of supporting our firefighters' need for training and equipment.   They have a tough job to do, and a city the size of Long Beach deserves the best trained personnel with up-to-date equipment that will help them do their jobs well." 

    Gary DeLong, candidate for 3d district City Council

    As a successful businessman with an equally distinguished history of serving the community in which he lives, Gary DeLong possesses the leadership and experience needed to address the myriad of challenges currently facing the City. Gary is committed to the prosperity of the City’s residents and understands that issues of public safety and quality of life are one and the same. Gary recognizes the importance of a highly trained first class fire department, and is committed to ensuring that the department receives the necessary resources to continue to provide a high quality service to Long Beach residents and businesses.

    "I am honored that Long Beach firefighters have chosen to support my candidacy for City Council.  My highest priority has always been public safety, and I am pleased that our firefighters have recognized my commitment to protecting our neighborhoods.  We will work together to keep our community safe," DeLong said.

    Vice Mayor Jackie Kell re-election candidate, 5th Council district

    Vice Mayor Kell has a proven record of advocating on behalf of all issues of public safety that affect the City’s residents. While helping to overcome the financial challenges facing the City, Vice Mayor Kell has consistently shown that public safety is among her top priorities. She has been outspoken in her effort to maintain adequate fire and paramedic services in the City, and continues to be a leader in the effort to ensure that the City’s firefighters receive the best training and equipment.

    Vice Mayor Jackie Kell responded, "I am honored to have received an endorsement from such an esteemed group of men and women. Firefighters are our hometown heroes and the Fire Department’s Class 1 rating is a reflection of their professionalism and training. Just as firefighters deserve our praise for performing their jobs admirably, their commitment to our community and their spirit of volunteerism also deserves our thanks. I welcome the opportunity to continue working with our firefighters, and know that, together, we will make Long Beach a safer place to call home."

    Alex Cherin, candidate for 7th district City Council

    Alex Cherin was born and raised in the City of Long Beach. He is a lawyer and serves on the City’s Economic Development Commission, the Board of Governors for the Long Beach Bar Association, and the Board of Advisors for the Downtown-Buffum YMCA. Alex pledges to make public safety a top priority during his time in office by seeking a charter amendment or other mechanism to fund public safety first in the budget process. He will devote his time and energy to ensuring that the City’s firefighters receive the training and resources necessary to maintain the excellence for which they are known.

    "Today, I am extremely proud to receive this endorsement and know this will play a major role in lifting our campaign to victory. The voters of the 7th District know that Long Beach firefighters are truly heroes in our community and that their support for candidates is based on merit, not politics. I thank Long Beach’s firefighters for their continued involvement in the election process and their dedication to our City’s residents," commented Alex Cherin.

    Councilman Val Lerch, re-election candidate, 9th Council district

    Councilman Lerch has demonstrated both his leadership and independent spirit during his term in office. While advocating for development and economic growth in the City, Councilman Lerch has always remembered that the City cannot prosper if the well-being and safety of its citizens is not safeguarded first. Accordingly, he has been a reliable ally in ensuring that the resources needed to maintain the readiness and responsiveness of the City’s firefighters are always the highest priority of the City. Councilman Lerch will continue to be an advocate for all residents of Long Beach and will continue the effort to ensure that the City’s fire and paramedic resources are adequate to address the continuing challenges of our growing City.

    "I have always supported our firefighters and will continue to do so in the years ahead. It is an honor to have them support me. Together, we will work to make the City of Long Beach an even greater place," responded Councilman Lerch.

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