Read What First Three Candidates Say, And Don't Say, In Seeking 1st Dist. Council Seat That Would Give Them Decisionmaking Power Over Spending Priorities And Multiple Policies Affecting Taxpayers/Neighborhoods Citywide)
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(June 7, 2019, 2:25 p.m., updated June 9, 12:15 p.m.) -- Three candidates have surfaced thus far to succeed 1st dist. Councilwoman now state Senator-elect Lena Gonzalez. Voters in 1/9 of LB (upper downtown + southern WLB) will decide in a likely low-turnout/no-runoff November special election but once in office they'll cast votes for for the next three and a half years impacting all of Long Beach on City Hall spending, policy items, budget priorities, development approvals, land uses, public safety, homeless and housing policies.
Because what a candidate says -- or doesn't say -- says a lot about themselves and their priorities, LBREPORT.com quotes what the three candidates have said and haven't said in announcing their candidacies.
They're listed below in the order they surfaced publicly (via websites, social networks or releases)
[Scroll down for further.]
Ray Morquecho: [Website search indicates domain established March 4, 2019] As his priorities, Mr. Morquecho's website lists:
Responsible Growth focused on our Quality of Life
Long Beachís First District has everything to attract businesses, visitors, and residents.
I am committed to ensuring that we build smart. People need clean streets, green space, parking, walkability, quality transportation options, and other amenities that ensure working and living here is enjoyable.
HOUSING -- I am a renter. I know better than most that with less than 5% rental vacancy we are experiencing a housing crisis. We can all agree we need more housing, but we need to preserve and build affordable units while improving our housing choice voucher program to ensure residents who live here can stay here. We must invest in programs that help residents transition from renters to owners so they can control their housing costs.
HOMELESSNESS -- We need to grow our partnerships to provide coordinated resources for homeless to get back on their feet and into permanent housing. Long Beach is starting to tackle the issue in multiple ways, such as the creation of the Homeless Education and Response Team (HEART), the recent purchase of a building for homeless to store their things when working or getting help, the annual support for the winter shelter, and the soon to be opened year round shelter in Uptown. But more needs to be done. It is a public health issue as well as a humanitarian one and we must come together to prevent our neighbors from becoming homeless in the first place.
Job Growth and Business Support
JOBS, JOBS, JOBS -- Long Beach must recruit high paying jobs. Long Beach has achieved the lowest unemployment rate in our lifetime but now we must provide the resources, education, and support so residents can advance into higher paying jobs. I started in the service industry making minimum wage. I know how hard it is to make ends meet with a low wage job. I strongly support local hire programs that ensure our neighbors are first in line for local opportunities.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT -- Businesses provide jobs and can be the backbone of our economy if government focuses on supporting them and their workers. When my friend and I decided we wanted to take the risk and invest in starting a small business, we needed support. I will grow our relationships with the LBCC Small Business Development Center and the Downtown Long Beach Alliance. I will ensure new businesses have the support they need. I will also work with each business to improve traffic conditions and our downtown parking access/availability.
We have made progress but need to keep pushing. We need to ensure that in addition to having park programming close to home we need Long Beach Transit to modify routes so we can enjoy the other 80% of parks/recreation Long Beach has to offer. We need better accessibility to the parks, pools, and fields where our kids play soccer, football, basketball, swim, and go to camp.
Safe Streets, Fixed Alleys, Walkable Sidewalks
Pedestrian deaths in Long Beach are unacceptable. We must continue to protect pedestrians with flashing crosswalks, all-stop crossings, and other solutions that keep walkers and drivers safe.
We need to increasing lighting in our residential neighborhoods and alleys while repairing the alleys that have fallen into disrepair.
I think our city staff does a great job but your input is necessary. Let me know what you would like to see fixed and where. Together we can focus our resources where they need to be.
If you are here researching me then you are a resident that does their homework. I want to meet you and earn your vote. I promise to partner with you and our neighbors on solutions and to be transparent throughout the process because we can do more together.
I will provide newsletters with information and listen to your ideas and opinions on how we can be an even better city.
I will work everyday to build and maintain your trust so together we can ensure that District 1 remains a wonderful place to live.
If you have questions or ideas, be sure to contact me or come to one of our events.
Elliot Gonzales: In June 5 email, Mr. Gonzales notes that he's a former member of the City's Sustainability [advisory] Commission (2010-2018) and is a "Progressive running on a platform calling for a land trust to build public housing and affordable housing, creating a Green New Deal and a public bank to back that Green New Deal." He has a Facebook page up at Elliot for Long Beach and will hold a formal campaign announcement at 11 a.m. June 8 at Harvey Milk Park.
[June 9 UPDATE: LBREPORT.com attended Mr. Gonzales' June 8 announcement at which he said he's running as a Democratic Socialist and spoke for over an hour. A flier distributed at the event notes that he's a co-founder of Long Beach Progressive Democratic Socialists of America, a proud member of OUR Revolution and DSA [Democratic Socialists of America]-Long Beach" and lists Mr. Gonzales' Platform & Policy as follows:
[Flier text] End Homelessness Through a Public Land Trust for Affordable Public Housing: Create a public land trust that allows for long-term affordable rentals available to all income groups to create competition. Rental units as low as $600 a month with an option to buy over time. Create a low cost purchase option inside land trusts
Parking & Street Sweeping Fee Reductions for Residents: Stop escalation of fees and create super low monthly repayment options and forgiveness programs for those in a hardship situation. Partner with business to expand local parking options.
Creation of Free Citywide Broadband and Reduction in Public Transit Fees: Create free citywide high-speed broadband to ensure Long Beach is on the cutting edge of technology anbd lower of transit fees to spur public transportation. Convert all buses to renewable electric.
Green New Deal for Long Beach With Union Jobs: Transition to 100% renewable energy by ownership of local grid through participation in new California Community Choice Aggregation Electric Program. Use advanced energy storage facilities such as the Energy Vault to manage intermitancy of green energy. Green Long Beach through zero waste policies like green composing, the caputure of 100% of runoff into L.A. River, and wetland restoration. Ban fracking in Long Beach and divest from all fossil fuels. Establish a green investment zone in Westside Long Beach.
Public Bank to Fund Infrastructure, Public Land Trusts, And Green Union Programs: Create a public band in Long Beach that can leverage the hundreds of millions in dollars in city coffers to make billion in investment in green energy, housing, broadband, and public transit
LBREPORT.com is in the process of uploading extended on-demand audio (podcast) coverage of Mr. Gonzales describing his views in his own words. Stand by to hear him. [end UPDATE]
Mary Zendejas: [June 7 release text via Cory Allen, Campaign & Policy Director/Progressive Solutions Consulting]
Long Beach Transit Director and longtime community leader Mary Zendejas announced her campaign to fill the vacancy left by Senator-Elect Lena Gonzalez to represent the 1st District on the Long Beach City Council.
In announcing her campaign, Zendejas released the following statement:
I am thrilled to announce that I am running to represent the 1st District on the Long Beach City Council. Over the past three decades, I have severed on multiple city commissions and committees to help improve our great city. I have worked to improve our public transit systems, advocated for more affordable housing and tenant protections, and helped ensure that people in wheelchairs have equal access in the workplace.
As your Councilmember, I won't be afraid to take on the difficult issues facing our city, and I pledge to bring people together to build upon the great work that has been completed by former Councilmember and Senator-Elect Lena Gonzalez. I am excited to bring a new and unique set of perspectives with me to City Hall.
Mary Zendejas currently works as the Director of Regional Accounts for GNS Medical Supplies, and she serves on the Board of Directors for the Disabled Resources Center in Long Beach. She has served as a member of Maror Garcia's Mayoral Transition Team and an appointee of his to the Long Beach Transit Board of Directors since 2014, and she was the Vice President of Ms. Wheelchair America up until last month.
Mary is also a graduate of Leadership Long Beach and is the founder and implementer of MAPS 2 College, a mentorship program that works in partnership with California State University, Long Beach, the Long Beach Unified School District, and the Murphy Family Foundation. The program aims to provide self-empowerment through life fulfillment activities while promoting independence and a quality lifestyle.
Awards given to Mary in recognition of her service include the American Business Womenís Associationís Diamond in the Sky Award (2017), California Conference for Equality and Justiceís Gene Lentzner Human Relations Award (2016), Disabled Resource Centerís Civic Leadership Award (2015), Teachers Association of Long Beachís Human Rights Award (2015), Robert Schlesingerís Making A Difference Award (2015), Assemblymember Patrick OíDonnellís Women of Distinction Award (2015)...
Mary earned her B.A. degree in communication studies from California State University, Long Beach...
Ms. Zendejas' campaign release doesn't list her involvement with Housing Long Beach, the active advocacy group that supported a petition-initiated toughly-worded rent control/just cause eviction ordinance on an upcoming Long Beach ballot. The group fell short of its signature gathering goal...but a City Council mcajority could enact a rent control/just-cause eviction measure or put one on the ballot. Housing Long Beach spotlighted Ms. Zendejas on its website here..
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