Editor's Note: The Grunion Gazette has not endorsed candidates in Long Beach since its inception in 1978. That policy continues this year. What follows are endorsements by the Long Beach Press-Telegram and Southern California News Group.
Vying for the one seat on the Long Beach City Council without an incumbent in this fall’s election are former local police officer Cindy Allen and small-business owner Robert Fox, who will face each other in a runoff for the Second District seat; the winner will replace Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce, who opted not to run for re-election.
In the two other contested council elections, Cal State Los Angeles adjunct professor Suely Saro will face incumbent Dee Andrew in a runoff for the Sixth District, and nonprofit director Tunua Thrash-Ntuk will face incumbent Al Austin for the Eighth District.
These are our endorsements in the Nov. 3 City Council election:
After she retired from the Police Department, Cindy Allen owned an advertising agency as well as the Long Beach Post. She says the biggest problems in the downtown district include coronavirus recovery, police transparency and accountability, housing and access to health care. Robert Fox, running as a reform candidate, believes that, overall, the city is being mismanaged and needs more input from community members. Allen says: “All my life I have worked in teams and collaborative environments, and I know that is the best way to incorporate new ideas, understand our constituents and ultimately accomplish our goals.” Allen is a steady choice for this district, and we endorse her.
Dee Andrews, vice mayor and an icon in this central Long Beach district, is seeking his fourth term on the council against newcomer Suely Saro, who, if elected, would become the first Cambodian American to serve on the council. The district includes large segments of Long Beach’s Black, Latino and Cambodian communities. Both candidates see the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact on residents as the biggest issue in the district. Andrews is pushing to find ways to help business owners survive. Saro says she would focus on unemployment. About the city’s housing crisis, Andrews writes: “My district is leading the way, with over 900 units completed since I was first elected and another 228 coming. No other district even comes close. And all of these developments include community benefit packages so long-time residents of our neighborhoods are not displaced.” While both are certainly qualified to serve, we endorse Andrews because of his experience, knowledge of the district and passion to leave a lasting legacy by helping residents in these difficult times.
Al Austin has represented the district since 2012 and is seeking a third term. Tunua Thrash-Ntuk, a nonprofit director, says the district needs a new voice. But in fact Austin has done a good job for residents. He has supported initiatives to help small businesses, renters and the homeless during the coronavirus pandemic. Austin says, “During my time in office we have organized over a dozen new neighborhood groups and promoted greater inclusion and civic participation across the district.” If re-elected his first priorities would be to see through projects he has already begun, including the Market Street Improvement Project and the Davenport Park expansion. He also supports improving police civilian oversight. Thrash-Ntuk said her major work on the council would start with building more ways to have community engagement and see more residents step up as neighborhood leaders, always a good goal. But Austin is a proven leader and deserves to be re-elected.
Below are our recommendations on the 12 statewide November ballot measures.
Proposition 14: No
This measure would authorize the issuance of $5.5 billion of bonds to finance stem cell research. This is a function best left to private investors, not taxpayers. At a time when finite resources are more important than ever, we can think of much better uses for the $260 million of public funds a year for 30 years this measure would require to repay the bonds.
Proposition 15: No
Best known as the “split roll” measure, Prop. 15 is the most significant and direct threat to Proposition 13 in decades. The measure would split off commercial and industrial properties from Prop. 13’s protections in a misguided effort to raise billions in new taxes that will ultimately go toward papering over California’s public sector pension problem. It’s a major threat to businesses at a time when we need a strong economic recovery, not more taxes.
Proposition 16: No
Government should treat all people equally. Since Prop. 209 was passed, the state’s civil service and public colleges have increasingly reflected the diversity of the state. Prop. 16 seeks to sacrifice the principle of equality in the name of justice. That is unjust.
Proposition 17: Yes
Parolees who have done their time should have their voting rights restored.
Proposition 18: No
17-year-olds can wait until they’re 18 to vote.
Proposition 19: No
This special interest measure is the result of the California Association of Realtors basically “buying” the support of a state firefighters union in an effort to pass what they couldn’t two years ago with Proposition 5. Vote it down.
Proposition 20: No
The Legislature needs to do a better job overseeing criminal justice reform. But that doesn’t justify this heavy-handed measure, backed mainly by police unions and the state’s prison guard union.
Proposition 21: No
This measure would make it easier for local governments to adopt rent control policies. Amid a housing crisis, all this measure would do is make the housing crisis worse.
Proposition 22: Yes
This measure would create a middle-ground between Assembly Bill 5 and the gig economy as we knew it for app-based drivers by establishing minimum pay, portable health care benefits and other perks for those who choose to drive for companies like Lyft, DoorDash and Uber. While we’d rather see AB5 repealed, this is the next best alternative for salvaging innovation in transportation and delivery services.
Proposition 23: No
This measure is a cynical effort by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West to raise costs on the dialysis industry in an effort to pressure dialysis companies into letting them unionize their workers.
The measure presents as a good faith proposal to improve dialysis clinics. It’s not.
Proposition 24: No
This measure is a convoluted privacy law crafted behind closed doors that would authorize a new state agency to enforce the aforementioned convoluted data privacy laws.
Proposition 25: Yes
This is a referendum on Senate Bill 10, a bail reform law signed into law in 2018. A “yes” vote upholds the law, while a “no” vote rejects it.
It is fundamentally unjust for anyone to remain locked behind bars before they’ve been convicted a crime solely because they’re poor. SB10 moves California’s pretrial system to a risk-based system rather than a cash-based one. That makes sense.