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Former City Attorney, Councilmembers Discuss
The 2014 Long Beach Elections, Issues – Part II
By George Economides - Publisher
October 8, 2013 - Following is Part II of the meeting held last month at the Business Journal offices to discuss the 2014 local elections. In attendance were former city attorney John Calhoun and former city councilmembers Rae Gabelich, Jeff Kellogg and Les Robbins. Part I focused on next April’s mayoral primary. Part II looks at the races for city council and city attorney, plus the impact of a large turnover in elected officials (2014 will see six of nine council districts with new representatives, in addition to a new mayor and city attorney).
The response to Part I was very positive, with many readers suggesting an ongoing series of articles with former elected officials, especially discussions focusing on issues. That is a possibility following next year’s elections. The above group will meet again after the January deadline for candidates to officially file has passed.
Former Long Beach City Attorney John Calhoun, left,
and former Long Beach City Councilmembers Rae Gabelich,
Les Robbins and Jeff Kellogg, from left, examine statistics
from previous elections during a meeting last month at the Business Journal.
(Photograph by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville)
A follow up interview with Calhoun will occur later this year to discuss, in more detail, the role of the city attorney and the role of elected officials as it relates to their responsibilities under the city charter. There is growing concern in the community that some elected officials may have ignored the charter.
City Council Races
LBBJ: Let’s talk about the council races. In District 1 there are two candidates currently serving as aides to councilmembers who say they are running, Lena Gonzalez and Ricardo Linarez. And in the 3rd District, several people say they are running, but no one with a well-known name has announced. Isn’t it surprising that there isn’t a big name coming forward in the 3rd District?
Gabelich: It’s still early though.
LBBJ: In the 5th District we have Stacy Mungo, who works for the county and has been active with neighborhood associations, Joe Luyben, whose family’s mortuary business is well known throughout the district, and Carl Kemp, a former city and port employee with first-hand knowledge of city issues. Over in the 7th District, Roberto Uranga, husband of the former councilwoman for the district, has announced, and in the 9th District the only person running so far is Rex Richardson, who, like Linarez, works for Councilman Steve Neal. Can we agree that Richardson has the inside track in the 9th District, or do you think that somebody else might pop up?
Kellogg: Val Lerch [former district councilmember] isn’t doing a write-in?
Robbins: I talked to Val and he indicated to me that he’s thinking about it.
LBBJ: So he’s still thinking about it. But Rex Richardson will be difficult to beat because there is a strong union turnout in the 9th District. In the 7th District, do you all agree that Uranga, who currently serves as a city college trustee, has the upper hand?
Kellogg: It’s pretty easy when there’s only one legitimate candidate. I live in the 7th District now.
LBBJ: So you could run as a write-in.
Kellogg: But I’m not. Let me be clear, I’m not.
LBBJ: Back to the 1st District. Since Gonzalez works for the current district councilmember, Robert Garcia, doesn’t that give her the upper hand? Should we assume the Garcia name carries enough weight for her to win?
Gabelich: No. I think Ricardo has a really good shot at it. That is his neighborhood.
LBBJ: Do you feel that’s a good race in the first district?
Robbins: How do you define a good race?
LBBJ: It’s going to be competitive. In other words, one person is not going to run away with it.
Kellogg: It’s 1,000 votes [to win].
LBBJ: So we have a competitive race in the 1st. Not much to talk about in 3rd District, yet.