April 8, 2014, is the day that some politicians may become unemployed in Long Beach, Calif. Voters will head to the polls to decide on – among others – a new mayor. What should have been an informative campaign for voters of California’s seventh largest city has gradually devolved into a crusade featuring stunning accusations, innuendo and blight.
Garcia Campaign is Making Few New Friends
One of the most contentious races in the City of Long Beach is without a doubt the mayoral campaign. When Vice Mayor Robert Garcia jumped on the bandwagon skewering candidate Bonnie Lowenthal for mistakenly including a picture of San Diego rather than Long Beach in her campaign mailer, the LB Report shot back with a few examples of Garcia’s own goofs in his campaign materials.
Digging deeper and uncovering substantively questionable statements, the publication questioned Garcia’s positions regarding pension reform and his work as Chair of the Public Safety Committee.
Criticism has also come from the local business community. The Orange County Register reported that the independent expenditure committee Friends of Long Beach had put up unwanted Garcia campaign signs on a number of business properties. One sign was posted atop a 12-foot pole, which required the business owner to climb up to remove the offending placard. Some members of the local business community were angered that these potentially divisive signs were placed overnight without permission.
Governor Jerry Brown Weighs in on Long Beach’s Mayoral Politics
Long Beach’s Mayor Bob Foster has come out in support of Garcia. Interestingly, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom has also lent his support to the candidate. Yet the Los Angeles Times points out that Governor Jerry Brown has thrown his support behind Lowenthal. “Bonnie Lowenthal has the experience, the vision, and the independence to be a great mayor,” Brown noted.
California Teamsters Support Gerrie Schipske
The California Teamsters Public Affairs Council notes that Gerrie Schipske is their pick for Long Beach mayor. The council member from the Fifth District has worked hard since last year to position herself as the potentially first LGBT mayor for the city of Long Beach. Back then, the OC Weekly noted how Schipske would quip, “at one time, politicians couldn’t be seen with us; now, they can’t be seen without us.”
Considering the veracity of this statement, Garcia will prove to be a challenging candidate to beat in this venue as well. “Out” since before 2011 when he ran for Long Beach city council, Echelon Magazine highlighted that back then his supporters included Council Member Suja Lowenthal, Senator Alan Lowenthal and the Chamber of Commerce.
Will old allegiances make a difference in the current mayoral campaign?