Bob Foster Is LB's Mayor-Elect
Suja Lowenthal, Gary DeLong And (Unless Absentee/Provisionals Change Outcome) Gerrie Schipske Will Be LB's New 2d, 3d and 5th District Councilmembers
Councilwoman Laura Richardson Likely On Her Way To Sacramento, Wins Dem Primary For Carson-LB Assembly Seat
(June 7, 2006, posted shortly after dawn, updated with add'l text and photos at 10:00 a.m.) -- The reports below were part of LBReport.com's real time, online live election night coverage...which produced an all-time record number of page views for us. Thank you, readers...and to all who filed for us. We'll be updating this page and providing additional coverage in the coming hours.
LB City Clerk's unofficial tally -- without several thousand provisional/absentee ballots yet to the counted citywide -- can be viwed by clicking here.
Bob Foster Is Elected Mayor of Long Beach
by Barbara Kingsley, Amanda Parsons and Jamie Rowe as indicated below
Special to LBReport.com
Photo by Barbara Kingsley
(June 7, 2006, posted 12:50 a.m., updated from June 6, 9:08 p.m. and 10:40 p.m. posts) -- Bob Foster is Long Beach's next Mayor.
Mr. Foster, who retired as president of Southern CA Edison last fall, defeated LB Councilman Frank Colonna by a roughly 57-42 percent margin in unofficially tabulated returns.
[Account by Amanda Parsons] As Mayor-elect Foster entered the room, the crowd chanted his name.
LB's next Mayor opened by thanking supporters and his family...and in an emotional moment thanked his father, who passed away recently.
(Photo by Barbara Kingsley)
"Good evening. And it a good evening," Mr. Foster began...making unity the recurring them of his address. He encouraged a "city united and standing firm on a balanced economy."
Mayor-elect Foster said he would unite Long Beach by acknowledging poverty and focusing on values held dear to the city such as safe streets, lighting, after school programs, and rebuilding infrastructure.
"No longer will cheap goods cost us our children’s health and well being," Foster said.
And he added, "To those who did not support us: there are no opponents tonight only the people of Long Beach."
The speech concluded with an eruption of flash bulbs and hugs and the 7-piece band at the rear of the hall played "When the Saints Go Marching In."
[Account by Barbara Kingsley] Earlier in the evening, about eighty supporters of Bob Foster let out a cheer as early numbers showed a 56%-43% Foster lead over Frank Colonna. As Dixieland music played in the background at the Coast Long Beach Hotel tonight, supporters voiced confidence.
"I feel that he is going to be our next Mayor," said Thomas Gonzales of the League of United Latin American Citizens early in the evening. "Those numbers are going to be reflected all night."
As the night wore on, the Foster party ballooned to include hundreds of supporters, including Assemblywoman Betty Karnette, Councilmembers Patrick O'Donnell and Bonnie Lowenthal, State Senator Alan Lowenthal, CSU Chancellor Charles Reed and business and union leaders.
"Long Beach has not been a very pro-growth environment the last 10 to 15 years," said Tim DeWeese, president of the Los Alamitos firm Security Solutions. "You've had environmentalists and all these people with their own interests, but Bob Foster, with his background in business, and support of unions, he can bring the sides together -- There are few politicians who can bring the key people to the table."
Among other comments we received:
Further At Foster Election Party
- Michael Peevey, CA Public Utilities Commissioner: "Bob Foster's election means there will be no LNG in Long Beach, which is a good thing."
- David Freeman, L.A. Harbor Comm'n President: "He [Foster] has made a promise to me that we will work together to clean up both of these ports." (Photo by Barbara Kingsley)
- LBHarbor Commissioner Mike Walter: "He's just a very good man. I think he has great leadership skills and I've enjoyed working with him."
by Amanda Parsons, Special to LBReport.com
[Posted at 10:50 p.m.]:
We received multiple comments from attendees.
- Doug Drummond: "[Frank Colonna] did spike the pension and destroyed the city's budget. He's been largely ineffective for the past eight years..."
- Gerry Good [Foster campaign treasurer]: "It's a myth that [Foster] is supported by big business...He has support from friends and not people who want to control him."
- George Medak: "Bob Foster is a great guy and very dedicated, and he's good looking...I think that the city needs to take a step in the right direction and Bob Foster is that right direction."
- Barbara Eannarino: "You're going to see a lot of happy people here tonight. I expect the numbers from the absentee ballots to reflect the entire race."
- Art Levine, Exec. Producer/Host Straight Talk said, "I think Bob Foster has great numbers. He will be the next Mayor of Long Beach. I said it a year ago [prediction confidently asserted to LBReport.com publisher Bill Pearl in summer 2005] and I say it again today."
Also attending were Glenn Ward and Bonnie Bagdonas. Sixty years ago, Mr. Ward served in the Navy with Mr. Foster's father-in-law...and Mr. Ward came to celebrate Mr. Foster's victory.
Can you spot some noteworthy LB public figures in these crowd shots? In photo to the right, LBReport.com sees retired Mayor Eunice Sato, lower left, and developer George Medak at the right. (Photo by Barbara Kingsley)
Banker Jim Gray, a figure who helped bring LB its Aquarium, applauds in the foreground, center/bottom. (Photo by Barbara Kingsley)
Report from Frank Colonna Election Party
by Jamie Rowe, Special to LBReport.com
[Posted at 9:55 p.m., early in the evening]: Frank Colonna: "It's going to be a long night but in the end we expect to prevail."
|Gary DeLong Is Elected Third District Councilman
Suja Lowenthal Wins Second District Council Seat
By Bill Pearl
[From initial text posted at 8:59 p.m. with update added at 1:25 a.m.] Gary DeLong has been elected LB's 3rd district City Councilman, defeating Stephanie Loftin by a more than two to one margin.
Mr. DeLong (left in photo) takes the lead in early returns and is congratulated by 9th district Councilman Val Lerch and Harbor Commissioner Mike Walter.
Supporters were upbeat at Mr. DeLong's election night party at Marina Pacifica's Tantalum restaurant.
Mr. DeLong came equipped with his own laptop...and studied the returns as they came in.|
In LB's Second Council district (which includes much of downtown and the Port of LB), Suja Lowenthal, daughter in law to Councilwoman Bonnie Lowenthal and State Senator Alan Lowenthal, finished first among an eleven candidate field with nearly 38% of the vote. She will fill the seat vacated by Dan Baker earlier this year...and will have a vote on the City Council alongside her mother-in-law.
Becky Blair finished second in the race with roughly 23% of the vote; Bry Myown finished third with 9%.
As previously reported by LBReport.com, Ms. Lowenthal benefited from aan independent (non-candidate controlled) expenditure by "Vota 100%, a sponsored committee of UNITE HERE! International Union" ($24,109.96 for "estimated salaries and related costs for phoners and walkers" and $10,890.04 for "design, printing and mailing of campaign literature") to influence the outcome of the race in her behalf. A local affiliate of UNITE HERE (Local 681) backs a controversial proposal to require "Labor Peace Agreements" for hotels on City owned property (currently the Coast LB Hotel, Hyatt Regency, LB Marriott and Queen Mary).
Earlier this year, after filing for reelection to a second term on the LB School Board, Ms. Lowenthal entered the winner-take-all Second District Council contest (for the seat vacated by Baker after Lowenthal had filed for School Board) and announced she would abandon her school board position if elected to the Council. She was defeated in the April school board election, in which she didn't campaign personally.
Earlier this year, the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, which endorsed downtown area commercial realtor Becky Blair, filed a federal court lawsuit seeking to erase LB's Campaign Reform Act limits on independent campaign activity as unconstitutional. A federal court judge enjoined enforcement of those limits pending trial...and UNITE HERE! used the legal hole drilled by the Chamber in LB's Campaign Reform Act to pour money into the race.
LB's Campaign Reform Act, twice supported by LB voters, had been strongly backed by then-Councilman Alan Lowenthal.
On the same night as her election victory, Ms. Lowenthal's spouse, Daniel Lowenthal (who works in L.A.'s City Attorney office), was elected to a Superior Court judgeship.
Schipske Leads -- And May Have Defeated -- Incumbent Councilwoman/Vice Mayor Kell in ELB's 5th Council District; Add'l Provisional/Absentee Ballots Remain To Be Counted
TALB-backed Dr. David Barton Beats Incumbent Schoolboard member Jim Choura
By Bill Pearl
|[Posted at 12:14 a.m. June 7] -- In ELB's 5th Council district, E. Gerrie Schipske (center in photo), backed by the Teachers Ass'n of Long Beach (TALB, where she serves as General Counsel) maintained a roughly 51.3-48.7 percent lead over incumbent Councilwoman/Vice Mayor Jackie Kell in the final unofficial count.
In the current tally -- which doesn't include some provisional and absentee ballots -- Ms. Schipske leads Kell by roughly 262 votes. The remaining provisional and absentee ballots will be counted over the coming days...and it's currently unclear if they will reverse tonight's result.
If the outcome holds up, Ms. Schipske will be ELB's next 5th district Councilwoman.
Councilwoman Kell, the two-term incumbent and wife of LB's retired Mayor Ernie Kell, ran a write-in campaign to remain in office under term limits.
Photo credit: Neena Strichart, Signal Tribune
Photo credit: Neena Strichart, Signal Tribune
|Meanwhile, in the hard-fought contest for the LB School Board seat in an area overlapping much of the 5th Council district, TALB-backed Dr. David Barton has defeated incumbent School Boardmember Jim Choura.
Dr. Barton and Ms. Schipske gathered at a TALB-sponsored party at ELB's Baja Sonora restaurant, watching the returns come in.
Scott McVarish, Exec. Dir. of the Teachers Ass'n of Long Beach, greeted supporters and kept a watchful eye on the vote tally.
Ms. Schipske's name was the only name printed in the ballot, but Councilwoman Kell hoped to a "write-in" campaign would win her a third term...as it did for Beverly O'Neill in in 2002.
Councilwoman Kell was endorsed by the Press-Telegram, Business Journal, LB Police and Firefighter Unions and the LB Area Chamber of Commerce.
As we post, this race is still too close to call. A still unknown number of ballots (absentee and provisional) won't be counted for several days in the 5th Council district race.
6th district Councilwoman Laura Richardson Wins Democrat Primary For 55th District Assembly Seat; If She Wins (As Expected) In November, 6th District Council Seat Will Be Open To Special Election in Early 2007
By Bill Pearl
|[June 7, 2006, 1:35 a.m., updated from initial post] -- 6th district Councilwoman Laura Richardson has defeated Warren Furutani in the Democrat primary for the 55th district Assembly seat (Carson-LB area). If Richardson prevails in November (as expected in the predominantly Democrat district), she will go to Sacramento...as Alan Lowenthal and Jenny Oropeza did from the Council before her. The move will create a vacancy in LB's 6th Council district, triggering a winner-take-all election in early 2007|
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