He's Paid $100k+ Salary By Union Whose PAC Gave These Contribs to Mayor/Several Council Incumbents; He Moved Into LB In 2017 And Within Weeks Mayor/Council Put Him On Planning Comm'n; Now They Just Reapponted Him For Four More Yrs
|(June 12, 2019, 1:53 p.m.) -- At its June 11, 2019 meeting, the City Council approved Mayor Robert Garcia's desired appointments/reappointments to a number of City Hall Commissions. They included reappointment of Josh LaFarga to the City's Planning Commission, a body that casts votes (most of them subject to automatic referral or potential appeal to the Council) on proposed land use changes, zoning and development items.
Mr. LaFarga is employed by the Lakewood-officed LIUNA [Laborers Int'l] Local 1309. It's a politically active union where during the period Jan 1-Dec. 31, 2018, he received an annual salary of "over $100,000" for "Public/Government Affairs" (Source: Mr. LaFarga's most recent Form 700, submitted to City Clerk April 1, 2019.)
Until May 2017, Mr. LaFarga was an L.A. resident (Wilmington). Then he bought a home in North Long Beach and within weeks, Mayor Garcia moved to name him to the City's Planning Commission. (The Commission's then-chair, Donita Van Horik, abruptly resigned (effective Oct. 2017) with no explanation given.) In his 2017 agendizing memo to the City Council, Mayor Garcia stated:
[July 2017 text] Josh LaFarga is being appointed to the Long Beach Planning Commission effective October 1, 2017 to fill the vacancy created by Donita Van Horik’s resignation. Josh LaFarga, a resident of the 9th District, has a long history of community service and activism. He currently serves as the Director of Public and Government Affairs and as Recording Secretary and Executive Board member at LiUNA! Local 1309. Josh has been a leader in the local building trades and has advocated for quality construction jobs across the region. He is also a member on the South Bay Workforce Investment Board and Co-Chair of the Legislative Committee for FuturePorts, the largest non-profit organization working to promote the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Earlier this year the L.A. County Board of Supervisors appointed Josh to the Building Rehabilitation Appeals Board.
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|On July 18, 2017, the Council voted
On May 21, 2019, Mayor Garcia moved to reappoint Mr. LaFarga among three other current Planning Commissioners (Verduzco-Vega, Christoffels and Perez.) As required by law, the Council's Personnel and Civic Service Committee (Andrews, Uranga, Pearce) held a brief required hearing and voted
On June 11, 2019, the Council took up approval of the Mayor's desired appointments and reappointments. Neither Mayor Garcia nor any Councilmember mentioned any of the Planning Commission reappointees by name or discussed any of them. There was no public comment pro or con. On a motion by Pearce, seconded by Uranga, the Council voted 8-0 to approve the reappointments. Voting "yes" were Pearce, Price, Supernaw, Mungo, Andrews, Uranga, Austin< Richardson. (Gonzalez was absent on the vote.)
Mr. LaFarga thus remains the City's Planning Commission where he will cast votes on citywide land use, zoning and development issues (most subject to subsequent Council referral or possible appeals) until at least 2023. At that point, he could be reappointed to another four year term.
Over the years, Local 1309's PAC (Laborers Int'l Union of North America Local 1309 PAC) has contributed sums to a number of election campaigns and/or "officeholder" accounts of multiple LB area electeds. They include LB's current Mayor, Councilmembers, LB School Board, LBCC Board of Trustees, state Senate and Assembly members. LBREPORT.com lists below its contributions to the campaign/officeholder accounts of LB's Mayor and incumbent Councilmembers. To see the full list of Local 1309's contributions on the CA Secretary of State's website click the following links: (2015-2016, 2017-2018. In addition, Local 1309's PAC also made 2019 contributions (March 11 and April 23) of $4,700 each to support Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez's campaign for state Senate. As previously reported by LBREPORT.com, a number of individuals wearing Local 1309 vests were visible at a June 1, 2019 "get out the vote" event at the office of LB's IAM local (which represents City Hall non-public safety employees) (LBREPORT.com coverage here.)
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