Long Beach’s southwest First District is now without a voting City Council member, as Lena Gonzalez vacated her seat on the panel and was sworn into the state Senate Wednesday, June 12.
But Mayor Robert Garcia acted quickly to ensure constituent calls and other duties of her former office are maintained. He announced Wednesday that he appointed his longtime staff member and current senior adviser Daniel Brezenoff as the district’s temporary caretaker.
“First District residents deserve the highest level of service and representation until they can elect a new council member,” Garcia said in a statement. “Daniel’s many years of experience at City Hall and in the First District make him an excellent choice to ensure residents’ needs are addressed during the transition period.”
As an appointee, Brezenoff can’t introduce legislation or vote as a council member. He will hold the position until voters have a say in a special election to replace Gonzalez, which will likely be on Nov. 5.
Brezenoff is not a First District resident, but Garcia’s chief of staff Mark Taylor said in a statement that his prior work in the district — with Garcia, who represented the area on the City Council before he became Mayor — made him a good fit for the role.
“This is an administrative staff position so there is no residency requirement,” Taylor said. “It’s important to have someone in this role that has worked in the First District Office and knows how to access city services for residents, as Daniel does.”
Brezenoff is also known for his 2016 post-election petition to convince members of the Electoral College to vote for Hillary Clinton rather than Donald Trump.
“I’m looking forward to working closely with First District's residents again, and to making sure they continue to have a voice at City Hall,” Brezenoff said. “We don’t want First District residents to miss a beat during this transition.”
Gonzalez’s final meeting as a councilwoman was Tuesday, June 11.