We’ve attended each candidate forum, beginning with the primary forum. We’ve been bombarded by campaign literature for months. We’ve watched Torres and Eramo at City Council meetings, and watched them and the other candidates at various public events, and read their comments captured in newspapers. We’ve taken stock of the accomplishments of and our disappointments in the current administration. Where do we end up? Change is needed. Checks and balances are needed.
Let’s get this out of the way. Without question, the democratic administration hit the ball out of the park in dealing with Sandy. Folks can quibble on the margins, but that’s the case. We applaud the Council members* for their efforts during that time, but the credit in large measure goes to the City Manager, his staff and department heads and their ability to communicate with and get results from the local, state and federal governments and various government agencies. We also applaud the administration for their efforts on the budget crisis when they took office in 2012. (*Mr. Eramo joined the administration in January 1, 2014, after these events.)
We have also been extremely disappointed in this administration for reasons set out previously on this site, but the highlights: iStar – from settlement to variance to tax breaks, this has been a shameful (and continuing) episode reeking of crony capitalism; transparency – in 2012, a key campaign issue for the Democrat slate was the lack of transparency by the republicans; the current administration has mastered the same game; Haberman lawsuit settlement fiasco – still unclear, except huge judgment against City; cronyism/favoritism/boss politics – trying to slip through lifetime benefits for certain people, bending over for the Police union, overtime games, and the like.
We mention the foregoing to ground our views on the election. We believe the City will be best served and protected by adding new voices. Nonetheless, here are some specific reactions on the candidates:
Eramo and Torres – they are part of the administration, and change is needed, so they don’t have our vote. Further, we believe they have continually obfuscated about the City’s support of the iStar tax break — itself damning in our eyes. We’ve read the iStar documents. If they didn’t, shame on them. If they did, shame on them.
Moore – although running on the Democrat slate, has pulled no punches in her criticism of the current administration. She seems highly focused on the hospital, transparency, and independence. She has our vote.
Lomonte, Higgins, Quinn – we think there should be checks and balances and these folks seem genuinely interested in improving the City, are willing to put forward a revised ethics law for Long Beach. They have our support. However, Moore does too, so Quinn is the odd (wo)man out here. We like the fact that she’s a lawyer, and is not with a law firm that may do business with the City directly or indirectly, that she grew up in Long Beach and is raising her family here; however, she did not get a lot of airtime at the various forums, and just did not come across as strong as her running mates. Maybe next time.
A new Council with a couple of veterans (Mandel, Goggin), a democrat (Moore), and, hopefully, “loyal opposition” in Lomonte and Higgins, would, presumably, keep the same City management, yet be much less tethered to “boss” politics. The dynamic tension created by coming from different camps, hopefully, would keep everyone on their toes. The work left to do with respect to Sandy and generally improving LB would be able to continue. Eramo and Torres are not critical to that going forward.
This election is important and presents a real opportunity to fine tune the City Council. Get out and vote next Tuesday!