A longtime community advocate living downtown, Joe Ganem, is the eighth official candidate running for the vacant First District City Council seat.

Ganem made his announcement Monday. He is a retired city manager and governmental affairs transportation director who has lived in Long Beach for 14 years, eight downtown.

His community involvement includes nearly four years on the Homeless Services Advisory Commission and also served on the (homeless) Continuum of Care Board. He recently served as president on the Downtown Residential Council.

In his announcement, Ganem said his top priorities would be, not surprisingly, affordable housing and the homeless population.

He, along with at least seven other candidates, is seeking the position vacated by Lena Gonzalez when she was elected to the state Senate. The others listed by City Clerk Monique De La Garza as official candidates are Shelbyrae Black, Elliot Gonzales, Shirley Huling, Ray Morquecho, Mariela Salgado, Misi Tagaloa and Mary Zendejas. That should be the final list; the council is supposed to set the ballot at its meeting Tuesday.

The special election is winner-take-all. It is scheduled for Nov. 5. Until that time, Daniel Brezenoff has been appointed as First District administrator.

In other political news over the last week:

• Eighth District Councilman Al Austin has been endorsed by the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee in his bid for a third term. He also received the endorsement of the Long Beach Police Officers Association, and earlier got the support of the Long Beach Firefighters.

• Former Long Beach City Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga picked up two big endorsements in her run for the District 2 Long Beach Unified School District Board seat. Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn announced her support, then state Senator Lena Gonzalez joined the list.

• Zendejas last week received the Long Beach POA endorsement. She also has received endorsements from Lena Gonzalez and Mayor Robert Garcia, among others.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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