(March 15, 2003) -- The following candidates filed nomination papers by the March 14 legal deadline for the LB School Board June 10 special election to fill the seat of the late Ed Eveland.
Norm Ryan: Mr. Ryan led the successful drive for Prop. J that allowed voters to cut LB's utility tax in half over five years. City Hall first told Mr. Ryan he had to collect more signatures than legally required, then initially claimed he'd failed, then spent public money on materials undermining the measure (called educational by City Hall, ruled illegal by a Superior Court) and eventually put a competing measure on the ballot offering a lesser tax cut. Mr. Ryan scored a landslide victory with Prop. J which passed with nearly 70% voter approval in November 2000.
In a 2002 Mayoral bid, Mr. Ryan advocated change and reform while incumbent Beverly O'Neill contended LB was "on the right track." Mr. Ryan, who has professional expertise in analyzing government budgets and vowed to scrutinize City Hall budgets and prepare his own if necessary, was endorsed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Mayor O'Neill was endorsed by the Press-Telegram, the Gazette newspapers and much of LB's establishment. She won an unprecedented third term write-in victory. Following the election (in which Ryan finished third to O'Neill and Vice Mayor Dan Baker), Mayor O'Neill conceded City Hall was awash in red ink with spending far exceeding revenue.
In announcing his school board candidacy, Mr. Ryan said, "As I look at the future of the LBUSD, I am struck that the greatest challenges facing it are financial. Unless we find innovative and efficient solutions, the State and Federal budget crisis will affect the quality of the education that we can provide for our students. I believe that my experience in school finance and budgeting can provide those solutions."
Mr. Ryan earned a B.A. in Economics from CSU Fullerton, an MBA (Finance) from UCLA, served in the U.S. Army and has professional expertise in analyzing government finance. He has chaired LB's Public Safety Advisory Commission and was elected last year to the LB area Water Replenishment District board seat. He is married and the father of three sons.
Marilyn Russell Bittle:: Ms. Bittle was Executive Director of the Teachers Association of Long Beach (TALB) from 1998-2002 and TALB's Assistant Executive Director from 1987-88.
She was president CA Teachers Ass'n from 1982-1986), and its vice president from 1978-82. Ms. Bittle was a Bellflower School District elementary school teacher for approximately 30 years.
In a March 5 press release announcing her candidacy, Ms. Bittle stated:
"Now that I'm retired and with my background in education and labor relations, I believe that the school board is the next appropriate place for me to continue contributing to Long Beach."
The press release further states that Ms. Bittle's "knowledge of state and local education budgets, her work with state officials to implement school reforms, and her role in securing a peaceful bargaining process in Long Beach as credentials for the position of school board member. Her early endorsements include the Teachers Association of Long Beach and State Senator Betty Karnette."
As of March 12, Ms. Bittle's campaign web site (www.friendsofmarilyn.org) listed among its endorsements the CA Teachers Ass'n and LB area Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal. On the evening of March 16, LBReport.com received an email from Ms. Bittle's webmaster asking that we remove the listing of Assemblyman Lowenthal's endorsement, indicating "she has not secured his endorsement." (When we visited Ms. Bittle's campaign site again on the evening of Mar. 16, it had been amended accordingly.)
Her web site indicates she has a daughter who's a Wilson High graduate and a Poly High counselor, and a son-in-law who teaches at Lakewood High.
Richard Green:: Mr. Green is the former president of Long Beach Area Citizens Involved - LBACI, a progressive/left local activist and advocacy group. Alan Lowenthal, a former LB Councilman and now a CA Assemblymember, was LBACI's president and served in its leadership prior to winning election to the Council in 1992.
Mr. Green is a graduate of Leadership Long Beach, was a member of the Mayor's blue-ribbon Ethics Task Force and is on the Board of Directors of the Long Beach Housing and Development Company. He's pursuing a Masters degree in Public Administration and has a B.S. in Business Management. He and his wife live in the Rose Park area.
Mr. Green told us on March 11, "I'm ready to roll. Can't wait to get started."
Gary DeLong: Mr. DeLong is a member of the Board of Directors of the Aquarium of the Pacific, ChildNet Youth & Family Services, Goodwill Industries of So. Cal. & Wescom Credit Union. He has previously been on the Board of Directors of LB's Laurelcrest School for Girls, Chairman of the Bd. for the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and on Bd. of Directors for the L.A. Police Historical Society.
Mr. DeLong is President & CEO of The RTP Group, Inc., a telecommunications consulting and software development company (joined firm 1988, VP Admin. thru 1990, VP & CFO to Feb. 1995).
In email to LBReport.com, Mr. DeLong said, "I have a vested interested in
improving Long Beach Schools - we have an 11 year old daughter attending Rogers Middle School" and "I have stated that if elected, I will not profit by being on the Board of Education. Accordingly, I will donate my $18,000 salary back to the schools."
Mr. DeLong earned an MBA degree from USC and B.S. degree in Marketing from CSU. He is married with two children.
Yolanda Benavidez:: Ms. Benavidez, employed by LBUSD for over 21 yrs, is currently the school district's Special Programs Administrator handling an Economic Literacy & Career Awareness program.
A March 4 press release indicates she was instrumental in implementing LBUSD's "alternative to gang membership" program which (she indicated in a March 15 telephone conversation with us) suggested school uniforms for safety...and ultimately developed into LBUSD's school uniform policy.
Ms. Benavidez has been named Educator of the Year by LB League of United Latin American Citizens. She is currently a Director for Long Beach Transit. Her five children attended LBUSD schools K-12.
Andy Nagle: Mr. Nagle told LBReport.com he is a retired lawyer who attended ELB schools...and went on to represent school districts, private schools and cities. He has also taught law to police officers and prosecuting attorneys. Mr. Nagle currently serves as legislative representative for the Minnie Gant school PTA.
Jon Meyer:: (Photo and info pending). We left messages for Mr. Meyer by email and telephone, and will add information here when received. He is a former principal for several LBUSD schools.
The County Registrar Recorder will now verify nomination signatures submitted by the candidates, a prerequisite to an officially recognized candidacy.
A June 10, 2003 winner-take-all special election is scheduled to fill the LBUSD board seat covering much of southeast Long Beach now vacant following the death of longtime incumbent Ed Eveland.