|(Oct. 29, 2019, 11:10 a.m.) -- With a little over a week remaining before Nov. 5 "election day." three candidates seeking the 1st Council district seat (vacated in June by now state Senator Lena Gonzalez) have signed the "Reform Pledge" issued by LB's Reform Coalition. The 1st district candidates are Elliot Gonzales, Joe Ganem and Shelbyrae Black.
The announcement by LB's Reform Coalition follows an Oct. 16 press event at which March 2020 Council candidates Juan Ovalle (8th dist.) and Robert Fox (2nd dist.) signed the Reform Pledge (LBREPORT.com coverage here.) In recent days, the Reform Coalition extended an invitation to all 1st district Coouncil candidates to do likewise. The Reform Pledge states:
If elected to the Long Beach City Council, my commitment will be to:
[Scroll down for further.]
In an Oct. 28 release, the Reform Coalition says 1st dist. candidates Gonzalez, Ganem and Black signed the Reform Pledge while "some of the other candidates in the 1st District have reached out to us to express their general support for the proposals codified in The Reform Pledge but have either stated that they have a policy against signing pledges or have expressed the need for more time to review it in detail, given the hectic nature of the final phase of the campaign."
The Reform Coalition says it received "no response whatsoever" from 1st district Council candidate Mary Zendejas (the endorsee of LB Mayor Robert Garcia and immediate past 1st dist. Councilwoman Gonzalez.
Several items in the Reform Pledge take aim at actions implemented by the LB Council since mid-2014 (when Robert Garcia advanced to Mayor.)
Item 1 focuses on Measure BBB, which triggered formation of the Reform Coalition after Council incumbents placed it on a special Nov. 2018 citywide ballot with the support of Mayor Garcia (who then used a political committee he operates to outspend the Reform Coalition in a six-figure campaign for the measure.) BBB enables Council incumbents and Mayor Garcia to seek third terms without meeting LB's former write-in requirements. Among the first to use BBB is 8th dist. Councilman Al Austin now seeking a third term. (6th dist. incumbent Vice Mayor Dee Andrews is also seeking a third term, and Mayor Garcia recently formed a Committee to seek the Lt. Governor's office in 2026 signaling he plans to seek a third Mayoral term in 2022.)
Item 3 takes aim at changes implemented by the current Council under Mayor Garcia that tripled and then politically weaponized the Mayor/Councilmembers' contributor-funded "officeholder accounts." A 2015 Council-majority action spearheaded by Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez (whom Mayor Garcia chose to chair of the Council's "Elections Oversight Committee") tripled annual totals the Mayor/Council incumbents can collect from contributors. Two years later, Garcia's newly chosen chair for the same Council committee, Jeannine Pearce, advanced a further change in which Councilmembers allowed the Mayor and themselves to use their now-tripled officeholder accounts to support other candidates running for political offices.
Item 8 takes aim at City Council procedures (initiated at the request of 4th dist. Council incumbent Daryl Supernaw) and implemented by the Council that cut public speakers to 90 seconds each when more than 10 seek to speak to agenda items and also requires public speakers to submit speaker cards prior to the items being called.
Other items focus on matters that grassroots advocates have sought to change to no avail from Council incumbents:
Item 2 targets a city management practice allowed without Council objection that has spent public money to disseminate what management and the City Attorney's office call "informational material" on City Hall advanced ballot measures that opponents call barely disguised advocacy. (A complaint filed with the FPPC by former 5th dist. Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske explicitly naming the City of LB was dismissed without discussion or a ruling by FPPC staff.)
Item 5 is entirely new, including a "Project Impact Report" focusing on a developer's prior political contributions.
And item 4 reaches back in time to restore a right that the public lost: the ability to agendize items and thus effectively require Council discussion on items that the public considers important but Council incumbents may not want to discuss. LB residents had this right until a mid-1990's action by a Council under then-Mayor Beverly O'Neill.
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