Supporters Open Their Wallets At First LB Reform Coalition PAC Fundraiser To Defeat Their First Target: Incumbent Mayor/Council-Sought Measure BBB That Would Allow Three Terms (12 Yrs) Instead of Current Two Terms + Possible Write-In
|(Sept. 20, 2018, 11:50 p.m.) -- Roughly 80+ residents, including a number of veteran community activists, turned out for the first fundraiser of the recently formed LB Reform Coalition Political Action Committee (PAC).
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Formation of the PAC -- to raise money and use it to accomplish political change -- marks a maturing among a number of LB activists whose actions now take them beyond talk. LB Reform Coalition spokesman/campaign consultant Ian Patton said that until now, City Hall has been able to enact ballot measures to its liking without an adequately funded grassroots opposition. He said the LBRC PAC now "gives us a chance to fight back."
The PAC's first target is defeat of Measure BBB, the term-limit-extending ballot measure that Mayor Robert Garcia proposed immediately after the April-June election cycle. Measure BBB, scheduled for a special citywide November election without voted dissent by the City Council, would let the incumbent Mayor and Council seek third terms without qualifying through a write-in campaign currently required by LB's current two-term limit law.
Retired Councilwoman Rae Gabelich said it was clear that Measure BBB is "self-serving" for the Mayor/Council incumbents as they wrote it in a way that applies to them (instead of to future candidates.) She encouraged attendees to use social networks in sharing their views to urge a "no" vote on Measure BBB.
Council of Neighborhood Organizations (CONO) Exec. Dir. Robert Fox ridiculed supporters of Measure BBB for using what he called 1984-style Double Speak in labeling the measure as "strengthening" term limits when in reality it gives incumbents three ballot-listed runs instead of the present two plus write-ins. He concluded: "If you're not happy with this Council and this Mayor, then vote 'no'" which drew room applause.
People of Long Beach co-founder Carlos Ovalle said if two terms are enough for the President of the United States, two terms should be good enough for LB's Mayor/Council.
Former 5th dist. Council candidate Corliss Lee said the Reform Coalition PAC is needed to counter the influence of special interest money. "We have right on our side. I do believe this is winnable," she said.
Joe Sopo, founder of Neighborhoods First, said it was significant that multiple groups have come together in the effort. "We have to make a statement. We have to slow down the City Council and this Mayor; he hasn't tasted defeat, and he has to taste it here."
Among recognizable figures we spotted in the room (not a complete list): Gordana Kajer, Kerrie Aley, Melinda Cotton, Jeff Miller, John Deats, LB Taxpayers Ass'n co-founder Tom Stout, LB Taxpayers Ass'n advocate Caroline Byrnes, and former 5th dist. Council candidates Rich Dines and John Osborn.
As previously reported by LBREPORT.com, on Sept.5 Mayor Garcia changed the name of his pro-Measure M PAC (which was funded primarily by LB's Police Officers and Firefighters PACs) to the "Mayor Robert Garcia Committee & City Auditor Laura Doud Committee to Support Good Government Measures AAA, BBB, CCC, DDD." Its first campaign filings are due in the coming days, at which time public will see who's funding its efforts.
On July 9 -- after the Measure M election -- the LB Police Officers Ass'n PAC gave Garcia's Measure M PAC $25,000 (while the Garcia-sought ballot measures advanced to August Council approval for the November ballot.) That $25,000 became part of the renamed Garcia/Doud-named PAC for Measures AAA, BBB, CCC and DDD.
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