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Peculiar 5th District Candidate Forum: No Audience Questions Allowed; LVNA Pres. Opens By Praising Incumbent For LUE Outcome; Group's Leaders' Questions Produce Uneventful Q & A; Repub Candidate Uses His Closing Statement To Drop Out Of Race And Endorse Repub Incumbent is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(March 16. 2018, 11:15 a.m.) -- All four 5th Council district candidates (incumbent Stacy Mungo plus challengers Corliss Lee, Rich Dines and John Osborn) attended a March 15 candidate forum organized by the Lakewood Village Neighborhood Association that was unusual in a number of respects.

The organizing group's president opened the candidate forum by praising the incumbent for the outcome of the recent Council vote on the Land Use Element. The group applied ground rules that didn't allow audience questions. The group's leadership composed and posed only eight questions to the candidates which resulted in mainly uneventful candidate Q & A in a race generally acknowledged as hotly contested.

The event ran only 84 minutes in total, of which roughly 24 minutes were consumed by candidates' predictably self-serving opening and closing statements. And at the end of the event, a challenger (a Republican) used his closing statement to drop out of the race and endorse the incumbent (a Republican.)

LVNA President Bruce DeMille opened the forum by saying Council incumbent Mungo took "input from the community and wrote amendments" to the Land Use Element that maintain the 5th district status quo without additional density. The challengers had no opportunity to respond directly to this summary narrative before LVNA-composed questions began (question list below.)

[For Mr. DeMille's response to's description of the forum as "peculiar," see his detailed March 17 Facebook reply below.]

LVNA forum, Bancroft Middle School, 6:35 p.m. .

During candidate Q & A, candidate John Osborn said he supported Councilwoman Mungo's approval of the controversial Civic Center transaction ("Councilwoman Mungo is absolutely correct in her assessment that the numbers work on behalf of the residents. I don't think that it would have gone forward with the Council knowing that the numbers were in the developer's favor.") He also said Mungo had done a "very good job" as a "fiscal watchdog" as a member of the Budget Oversight Committee and Economic Development Committee [members chosen by Mayor Robert Garcia.]

Mr. Osborn used part of his closing statement to take a verbal shot at challenger Rich Dines (on grounds the Desmond Bridge went over budget while Dines sat on the Harbor Commission; Dines replied that the bridge budget overruns resulted from oil well abandonment issues and CalTrans decisions.] Osborn wrapped up by saying he (Osborn) had medical problems in October, didn't recover till mid-January, said the time lost was "crucial" and left him "a few points" behind in professional polling and he "wouldn't throw money" into the race to close that gap...and endorsed incumbent Mungo. (While Council races are nominally non-partisan, Osborn and Mungo are both Republicans; challengers Lee and Dines are both Democrats.)

Campaign finance reports show Mr. Osborn loaned his campaign $10,000 on Feb. 9, but as of Feb. 24 his campaign hadn't spent any portion of that sum for professional polling or for any other matters.

Councilwoman Mungo and Mr. Osborn, for separately cited reasons, didn't attend a March 8 candidate forum (attended by candidates Lee and Dines) organized by The Eastside Voice and Citizens About Responsible Planning. The organizers used League of Women Voters style rules that allow audience questions submitted on cards. The chose a moderator who is a CSULB lectured and doesn't live in the 5th district. Councilwoman Mungo (through a representative) indicated she wouldn't attend, voicing dissatisfaction with one of the organizing groups; Mr. Osborn cited a conflicting business obligation for his unavailability.



The eight questions composed by LVNA's leadership and posed to the candidates were:

  • How do you plan on communicating with the residents of the 5th district?
  • A total of 86 streets were repaved in the 5th district, but only one of those streets were repaved in Lakewood Village. How would you ensure that streets are repaired in an equitable manner across the 5th district in the future?
  • The City of Los Angeles has 2.5 police officers for every thousand residents, but Long Beach has 1.7 officers for every thousand residents. Why do you think Long Beach has fewer officers per capita than Los Angeles and what would you do to address this disparity?
  • The Long Beach City Council recently voted to receive and file a proposal to add international flights at the Long Beach Airport. Please state your position on international flights in the event that this issue resurfaces in the future.
  • Do you feel that a coyote problem exists and please state your position on this issue.
  • Do you feel that there is a homeless problem in the 5th district and what measures would you take to remedy this problem?
  • The Measure A tax increase was approved by the voters in 2016 to increase police and fire staffing, repair potholes and streets and improve water supplies. What measures would you take to ensure that Measure A funding is spent on these services?
  • The Land Use Element was recently approved by the City Council on March 6. The primary concern for the 5th district residents was adding density to the neighborhoods. Please state your position on how the 5th district should be developed in the future.

To hear extended on-demand audio of the entire forum, click here.




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