|Total positives (red dots) and deaths (black dots)||Daily new reported positive cases
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|(July 12, 2020, 10:50 a.m.) -- The City of LB has quietly canceled regularly scheduled webcast news briefings (begun during the COVID-19 pandemic) conducted by Mayor Robert Garcia as COVID-19 cases are significantly increasing, Long Beach neighborhoods report persisting contraband explosive fireworks, disproportionately working class neighborhoods have endured multiple shootings and homicides and a recall against the Mayor advances.
Veteran LB journalist Philip Zonkel (publisher/founder Q Voice News) was among those who noticed. Mr. Zonkel commented on his Facebook page on July 10:
File this under timing is everything: On Monday [July 6], Mayor Robert Garcia suspended all virtual press conferences on COVID-19 and switched to "as needed." Odd, considering the virus is spreading. Also, the effort to recall Mayor Robert Garcia crossed a threshold this week by posting the recall petition in a newspaper, as required by CA recall law. Their effort is picking up steam. Perhaps the mayor doesn't want to answer questions from the media about the recall? Hmmmm. Just wondering...
That comes with additional context. Unlike LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Governor Gavin Newsom and President Donald Trump, Long Beach's Mayor has avoided holding regularly scheduled open press conferences (where reporters might ask him anything.) The COVID-19 news briefings let reporters pose telephoned question on other subjects but they were rarely off the COVID-19 topic and didn't include serious follow up. (As of July 12 and despite a LB tailored health order, 5,388 LB residents have tested positive to date for COVID-18 and daily hospitalizations, which in mid-June were in the 70 per day range, recently topped 100 per day and are now in the high 90s.)
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Meanwhile, this morning's social network dispatches are filled with reports from ordinarily non-political residents convinced their City is unable or unwilling (or both) to deal with contraband explosives that have been damaged their quality of life for months with no change in the police-enforcement (or non-enforcement) status quo. Residents in neighborhoods with shootings simply shake their heads in disbelief.
Seemingly disconnected from these realities, Mayor Garcia has sought to include himself with an effort to provide residents with "universal basic income."
For nearly six years as Mayor, Robert Garcia has managed to avoid questions he would likely have faced in other media markets. Exactly why does his office (with Council budget approval) have ten taxpayer paid staffers (far ore than his predecessors) although under the City Charter LB's Mayor has no policy setting authority? As a Councilman, Garcia boasted of putting his office calendar online, but after he was elected Mayor, his office calendar vanished. So exactly with whom and for what public purposes has Garcia been meeting?
These are the sorts of things that matter in recalls, which are easy to start and hard to successfully complete. Long Beach activist Franklin Sims, skilled in verbal, video and social network communications amplified by law school training, has effectively used the recall process to prompt overdue questioning of Garcia's self-declared accomplishments.
In his legally-filed response to Mr. Sims' recall petition, Mayor Garcia defensively recited a number of campaign style bullet points, but these may not suffice in a hardball recall campaign in which an incumbent's responses spur more questions. .
It's speculated that Garcia hopes to avoid facing LB voters with an appointment to some position a Biden-administration...but the recall won't help with that career path either. Regardless of whether the recall suceeds numerically, it has already prompted LB residents of varying political stripes to begin asking questions that Garcia avoided answering in his 2018 reelection and avoids answering from reporters now. . .
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