At his June 13, 2001 announcement that he is running for Mayor, Councilman Ray Grabinski gave members of the press a document which we reproduce below verbatim:
Candidate's Statement/Op-Ed Piece
It's time for change.
In Long Beach, it's time for fresh leadership and a new direction. It's time to put the people and the neighborhoods ofLong Beach first and to redirect city priorities toward paving the streets and rebuilding parks and libraries; to cut outrageous gas and electric rates; to protect neighborhoods from over-development and to make our streets safer.
I am running for Mayor of Long Beach for all those reasons and for 50 more. I am running to be the "Mayor for the Neighborhoods."
There are approximately 50 different neighborhoods that make up the City of Long Beach. Whether it's California Heights, or Second Street, or Lincoln Avenue on the Westside or downtown or El Dorado, the neighborhoods in Long Beach have spoken in a voice that is telling the city "It's time to change direction."
Voter [sic] are anxious and worried - and with good reason. Spiraling utility rates are forcing seniors to choose between buying medicine or paying their gas and electric bill. Developers and special interests get city subsidies while, in the neighborhoods, streets go unpaved, alleys are neglected and the parks are diminished.
It is time to stop thinking that another mall,another multiplex movie theater or another chain store will enhance and protect the neighborhoods. It is time to stop looking outside our city for what will make us great. What makes us great is already here. It is: the Neighborhoods. And they need our attention.
City Hall as become a theater of war in the battle of neighborhoods versus developers,especially when it comes to downtown development. For too long the city has believed that huge outside developments were needed to bring in revenues that could then be used for the streets and parks and libraries and other neighborhood services.
But the trick never reached all the way down to the neighborhoods. Instead, expensive city development such a Queensway Bay and the Aquarium, have cost the city more than they could repay over any reasonable time. These unfulfilled promises, base don errors that are now called "overly optimistic projections," have cost the neighborhoods untold millions. More importantly, they have undermined the public's trust in City Hall.
But as Mayor, my first order of business will be to lower gas and electric bills. The energy crisis threatens to undermine the Long Beach economy and threaten the vitality of the neighborhoods.
But the first step is to pay attention and listen. No person has the answer to all the challenges we face as a city, but what I heard at the Day of Listening last week was that everyone has an important piece of it. As Mayor,I will open more forums where we can gather those pieces of information. I believe our communities will tell us what they need - whether it's a supermarket in Wrigley or a bank on the Westside or an after-school program or park equipment or library expansion. Those are the promises that should be filled and the mayor and city council have to work as a team to understand what people want for their neighborhood and for the city as a whole. Measure J was more than a message - it was a voice from the neighborhoods that said clearly, "City Hall, change the way you do business."
I hear it. I know my answer. I am running for mayor to make that change - to put the neighborhoods and the people back in charge of their city.
Long Beach is not only a city of 50 neighborhoods; it is a city of diversity. Seniors, children, families, ethnic groups, gays, renters, and homeowners, Republicans, Democrats, rich, poor - we are all part of and contribute to this beautiful mosaic called Long Beach. I will work to restore respect for the city and for our democratic process.
For example, I don't agree, personally, with term limits but I respect the law Long Beach voters have put in place. As a two-term councilman, that law says I am ineligible to run for my 7th District seat again, unless I go around the law and run as a write-in candidate. While some urged me to take that path, I think it would be wrong. Voters have spoken and their intent is clear. Once again, I hear that intent. I do not choose to circumvent the law and run as a write-in, but hose instead to run for mayor.
Finally, all of us are pleased to hear that crime statistics are down. I think we must be vigilant in keeping those numbers down and reducing them even future. Our public safety departments must have the equipment and support they need to keep the streets safe and secure. But we must also work harder on prevention: to develop and support after-school programs, tutoring, mentoring and gang awareness programs that can lead young people towards more productive choices.
I have, in the past, been called a fighter. I love Long Beach and I love our neighborhoods. There are things our neighborhoods need that are truly worth the battle. If I am elected Mayor, I promise to work hard, to be open and accessible, and to always put the neighborhoods and the people first.