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    LB Area Chamber Of Commerce Offers LB Election Endorsements

    (Oct. 27, 2005, updated) -- The LB Area Chamber of Commerce's Political Action Committees have recommended, and the LB Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has voted to approve, endorsements a number of races in the April 2006 LB elections.

    MayorBob Foster
    City ProsecutorTom Reeves
    City AuditorNo current endorsement
    City AttorneyNo current endorsement

    [ has learned that City Att'y Shannon had not sought the nomination, declining to submit a Chamber questionnaire that sought his views on a number of policy issues.]

    1st district CouncilNo current endorsement
    3d district CouncilGary DeLong
    5th district CouncilIncumbent Jackie Kell (write-in campaign)
    7th district CouncilAlex Cherin (challenging incumbent Tonia Reyes Uranga
    9th district CouncilIncumbent Val Lerch

    On its website (, the Chamber indicated its political action committees plan to "aggressively assist the endorsed pro-business candidates to help influence the outcome of the election."

    Chamber Board chair Dave Neary said on the website, "We need to turn Long Beach into a pro-jobs and economic growth community in order to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods."

    LB Chamber VP of Gov't and Public Affairs, Janet Nguyen, indicated members of the Chamber Political Action Committees (interviewed candidates, then voted (unanimously) to forward the PAC's recommendations to the Chamber's full governing Board. This morning (Oct. 27), the full Chamber Board voted (four abstentions, not all boardmembers present but those present all voting "yes") to approve the Chamber PAC's recommendations. Further details of the Chamber boardmembers' vote weren't immediately available. LB Chamber endorsements are not submitted to the Chamber's full membership for debate or voted approval. posts verbatim below the Chamber's stated reasons for its endorsements:

  • Mayor: Bob Foster is a leader in the business community, with over twenty years experience in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Foster is not only a pro-business candidate, but he has also dedicated his time and effort to many organizations within the City of Long Beach such as member of the California State University Board of Trustees, Aquarium of the Pacific Board of Directors, Memorial Millers Children’s Hospital, Library Foundation Advisory Board and the California Institute. His willingness to take a strong leadership role to work with the city council members and his knowledge of the state and federal government operations will ensure that the City of Long Beach will move forward to become a strong economic city within the region.

    "We cannot have a healthy and prosperous Long Beach without a healthy and prosperous business community. I have been a small business owner myself, and I know how important it is for there to be a relationship of mutual trust and respect between the business community and municipal government. I look forward to working with the Chamber to bring great jobs and better opportunities to our community. I am very pleased to have the support and confidence of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce" said Bob Foster.

  • 3d district Council: Gary DeLong is an experienced, business friendly candidate. Gary is the President & CEO of The RTP Group, Inc, a telecommunications consulting and management company based in Long Beach. He serves on several organizations and boards within the city, including the Aquarium of the Pacific as a Board of Directors. In addition, he serves as a Commissioner for the Economic Development Commission of the City of Long Beach, a commission appointed by Mayor Beverly O’Neill to help create and foster business development which invigorates the city and provides thousands of jobs. Gary will oppose any new taxes or fees for the residents and businesses within the city.

    "It is an honor to have the Chamber’s endorsement," DeLong said. "The Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is the leading chamber in the State of California and is known for its ability to effectively represent the interests of the business community. I am pleased that they have recognized my commitment to job creation, job protection and economic development, and I look forward to working with the Chamber to assist the business community in the 3rd District and citywide."

  • 5th district Council: Vice Mayor Kell has a positive record of supporting business issues within our city. She spearheaded a fight to pass the Local Preference Initiative; that gives the local businesses a preferential opportunity to win contracts with the City of Long Beach. This has helped to keep the tax base within the city. Vice Mayor Kell is committed to continue to cutting the red tape at City Hall in order to attract new businesses to our city and create jobs. Specifically, Vice Mayor Kell will continue to oppose tax increases as a solution to our city’s dire financial situation.

    Vice Mayor Jackie Kell, who represents the Fifth Council District said, "I'm honored to receive this endorsement from our Chamber of Commerce. I look forward to continuing to work together in supporting our local businesses, as well as creating new and better business and job opportunities in Long Beach."

  • 7th district Council: Alex Cherin was born and raised in the City of Long Beach. He is currently a member of the Long Beach Bar Association, Long Beach Bar Foundation, Leadership in Long Beach, Volunteer in Parole, Downtown Buffum YMCA, and the Economic Development Commission of the City of Long Beach. As an Economic Development Commissioner for the City of Long Beach, Alex works to sustain local jobs and promote businesses within the city. Alex is committed to bringing and fostering local businesses to benefit the city. He will bring fresh ideas and oppose all new taxes and fees.

    "I want to thank you again for the Chamber endorsement. I am honored to have the backing of such a vital institution to the City of Long Beach. In my capacity as both a lawyer and community activist, I have long admired the dedication and professionalism of the Chamber and its diverse membership. I sincerely appreciate their support of my campaign for City Council. I look forward to the Chamber's continued involvement in many issues including locating and retaining quality businesses for the 7th District and throughout the City” commented Alex Cherin.

  • 9th district Council: Councilmember Lerch has proven to be instrumental and influential as a member of the City Council. He is a strong, pro-business councilmember who has garnered broad-based support within the community. Councilmember Lerch has focused his work on job creation and business retention as a priority within his district. The Chamber has appreciated his tireless efforts on behalf of our business community. He has also been an advocate for new businesses by personally involving himself in the recruitment of new business to his district. Councilmember Lerch will take a leadership role in finding comprise to the issues facing the City of Long Beach and its future.

    "I've always been a friend of business and it is sincerely an honor to be endorsed by the chamber who is by far the leading business organization," commented Councilman Val Lerch, Candidate for Re-election for the 9th District City Council.

  • City Prosecutor: Prosecutor Reeves has proven during his office to be fair, competent and engaged in the community. He was instrumental in implementing the bad check program. Tom understands the importance of keeping crime off the street to protect the residents but also benefit the business community as well. The Chamber has appreciated his tireless efforts on keeping crime off our streets.

    "I am very pleased to have the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce endorse me for re-election as City Prosecutor. The Chamber and I share the same priorities - identify the key problems facing our neighborhoods, integrate government and private resources, and work with community leaders to improve our quality of life." said City Prosecutor Tom Reeves, Candidate for Re-election for the City Prosecutor.

  • In the 2004 election cycle, two of four ChamberPAC-backed City Council incumbents (Dan Baker, Laura Richardson) were reelected and two Council incumbents (Rob Webb and Dennis Carroll) -- both representing airport-impacted districts -- were defeated.

    The Chamber's government affairs website ( currently posts an icon link to the "Long Beach Alliance," a group critical of a February 2005 City Council vote to evaluate expansion of LB Airport's permanent terminal facilities to a size roughly 4% larger than Airport management proposed in Sept. 2003. In spring 2004, Airport management sought a size roughly 30% larger than its Sept. 2003 proposed size; the Alliance has called the larger figure reasonable.

    Councilman Frank Colonna's Mayoral campaign responded to the Chamber's Mayoral endorsement with the following emailed statement: "I knew I would not receive the Chamber endorsement months ago when I voted against their plan to Super-Size the airport. No special interest group will influence me, I am running for Mayor to support our neighborhoods and the people of Long Beach."

    5th district Council candidate Gerrie Schipske reacted by emailing, "Obviously, ignoring the will of the Long Beach voters who approved term limits on two separate occasions, the Chamber decided to go with soon to be termed out incumbent Kell, rather than support any of the 6 other candidates running for this open seat. It really wasn't a surprise as Kell has been telling people around town that the establishment is firmly behind her attempt to stay in office."

    The campaign of LB Mayoral candidate/retired Councilman Doug Drummond didn't offer immediate comment. Earlier this year, Drummond attended the Alliance's debut press event as a supporter.

    In 2004, the Chamber opposed state legislation (AB 2042, authored by then-Ass'yman Alan. Lowenthal), supported by the LB City Council and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which sought to establish baselines for Port-related airborne toxics and prevent their increase beyond current levels (vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger). The Chamber currently opposes legislation (authored by now-state Senator Alan Lowenthal) to impose a container fee to pay for Port-related clean air and security measures.

    In a statement on the Chamber's website stating the Chamber's opposition to the container fee, Chamber President/CEO Randy Gordon writes in part, "Business practices at the port are not to blame for pollution any more than Sen. Lowenthal's personal practices are to blame when he elects to drive a car that burns fossil fuel. Air quality is impacted by a population that is growing with astonishing speed and that expects a large selection of inexpensive goods when it goes to the supermarket or department store...Sen. Lowenthal's container tax proposal...would have severely harmed our port's and California's competitiveness in the global marketplace."

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