At His First Fundraiser, 2nd Dist. Council Candidate Robert Fox Says City Should Buy Underperforming Business Properties Along Broadway ("Three In A Row") And Build Neighborhood-Friendly Parking Structures (Commercial By Day/Neighborhood By Night); Commits To Deposit $50,000 Of His Money In Campaign, Says He'll Work To Bring "Common Sense" Back To Council
|(July 14, 2019, 6:10 p.m.) -- Addressing supporters at his first campaign fundraiser, 2nd district City Council candidate Robert Fox offered the outlines of a parking plan to provide "neighborhood friendly" parking structures along Broadway for use by businesses (daytime) and residents (nighttime).
Speaking at a July 13 event at Gallagher's Pub, Mr Fox said. "The zoning on Broadway does not allow parking as a use. We need to change that. We have underperforming properties [along Broadway]...Let this City spend the money to buy those properties, three in a row, for neighborhood-friendly parking structures [applause]: commercial during the day, neighborhood at night." He added, "It is dangerous for anybody to have to walk eight blocks to get to their apartment...We can buy the land and build these parking structures."
Mr. Fox criticized Councilwoman Pearce's vote on Land Use Element changes [March 6, 2018 vote approved up to four story building heights in much of Alamitos Beach south of 4th St.] Mr. Fox, who owns rental properties and opposes rent control, said that although he could benefit economically from the increased allowable building heights, he opposes it on policy grounds as it would increase density in the already density-burdened neighborhood and invites developers to gentrify the area and push out its long-time diverse residents.
The purpose of zoning that high is to change the entire demographic of the 2nd district to rich folks...That means that anything in Alamitos Beach built today from the third story up will have a sweeping ocean view. That's $900,000 a condo...However our people, one the most diverse neighborhoods in the entire City which is Alamitos Beach, will not have a place left. I don't want this to be changed so that we lose all of our people who've traditionally been here for so long. So I'm not talking about tenants' rights; I'm defending tenants' rights. [applause.]
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Mr. Fox questioned parking increase numbers cited by Councilwoman Pearce, arguing that even if one treats them as accurate, they've left the area many spaces short of what he said the City led residents to expect.
Mr. Fox continued to hammer Pearce for the Broadway "road diet," calling it unsafe for drivers and damaging to Broadway businesses. He encouraged a public presence at a demonstration against the "road diet" on Monday July 15, 4:30 p.m. at Broadway/Cherry.
Mr. Fox was introduced by Merry Colvin, owner of Merry's Fashion With Passion who called the upcoming 2nd district election the most important in the district's recent history. She said Mr. Fox would bring necessary change to City Hall.
Also praising Mr. Fox was Ian Patton, Exec. Director of LB's Reform Coalition [which most recently waged a campaign to oppose a Nov. 2018 Mayor-supported/Council-enabled ballot measure that enabled the incumbents to seek third terms without a write-in requirement.] Mr. Patton noted that Mr. Fox supported an effort (led by others and ultimately unsuccessful) to recall Councilwoman Pearce. Mr. Patton said Fox is a boardmember of the Reform Coalition that "is here to make Long Beach accountable, transparent, responsible to its citizens." He said the Broadway "road diet" is an example of "what happens when you have non-accountable government" and shows "how bad government can get when you don't have true representatives"...and said "Robert is going to be a true representative to the 2nd district."
Mr. Fox said "The purpose of my campaign is to bring people together...It's time for some common sense in the City of Long Beach. It'll take five votes on the City Council. That means we have to support a change in the 2nd district" and added: "We also have very contentious races in the 1st and 8th districts. I want you to think deeply about those races because, again, in order to succeed we need five common sense votes on the City Council..." Mr. Fox noted: "I'll have to work in coalition with other Councilmembers. I have no problems with that."
Mr. Fox committed to deposit $50,000 of his personal money in his campaign and said "I am not fooling around with fifty-grand. I'm in this thing to win it."
To date, four challengers against incumbent Pearce have pulled filing papers in the race but to date only challengers Fox and Jeanette Barrera plus Pearce have filed paperwork to establish fundraising committees. An initial election takes place in March 2020 and if no candidate receives over 50%, a runoff will be held between the top two finishers in Nov. 2020.
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