Long Beach will Elect New City Council and School District Board Members on April 10th
April 10, 2012 will be an important election day for Long Beach as several city council and school district positions will be in the hands of resident voters. In 2010, only 34,976 of Long Beach’s 238,294 residents made their voices heard. This translates to only a 14.7% voter participation rate, which amplifies the voices of those who do participate (Signal Tribune Newspaper). This article provides information about the upcoming elections and how to sign up to vote with helpful links to find your Long Beach polling station. Each vote is powerful and this article can empower your voice to be heard!
City Council Member Election
The Primary Nominating Election could be the only time to vote for all eligible council member positions because a winner will be declared if a candidate receives the majority of the votes, totaling over 50% + 1 vote. 3 of the 9 city council membership positions will be on the ballot, as incumbent Councilman Dee Andrews is unopposed within the 6th District. The three districts that are up for consideration are the second, fourth and eighth. Below is a brief biography of each candidate by district:
-Dr. Suja Lowenthal (incumbent) was elected by special election in 2006 and re-elected in 2008. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from UCLA, a Master's in Business Administration from California State University, Los Angeles and a Doctorate in Policy, Planning and Development from University of Southern California. Utilizing over ten years of professional experience in the water industry, Dr. Lowenthal serves on the Board of Education in the Long Beach Unified School District, the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and the Board for Heal the Bay. In addition, she is an adjunct professor at California State University, Long Beach.
-Janet Ballantyne is a supporter of Downtown Homeowners United, which is a grassroots residents group that has spoken out against an attempted property-based-improvement-district assessment on downtown residents by Downtown Long Beach Associates.
-Mike Kamer is a Hellman area resident, who was previously employed by Americorps. He is pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at California State University, Long Beach. Mr. Kamer’s campaign strategy is to have an online presence and does not plan to accept campaign contributions.
-Daryl Supernaw owns a consulting firm. He is a member and former chair of the city’s sustainable city commission.
- John Watkins is a retired Long Beach police sergeant and small businessman.
- Lillian Kawasaki has served as assistant general manager of environmental affairs for the L.A. Department of Water and Power. She was elected in 2006 to the board of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California and is being endorsed by the former Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill.
- Al Austin II is a labor advocate and consultant. He is being endorsed by the Long Beach’s firefighter and police unions.
-Gustavo Rivera is an Army veteran and a full-time Long Beach City College student.
Education District Election
On the same April 10th ballot with the city council elections, the Long Beach Unified School District will have one Board of Education position listed and Long Beach Community College District will have one Board of Trustee position listed.
Long Beach Unified School District Board Of Education
Districts 2 will be voted upon. Incumbent Felton Williams will run against Ricardo Linarez, who has been endorsed by assembly member Warren T. Furutani and Assembly member Isadore Hall. Mr. Linarez has previously participated on educational boards in Los Angeles and Sacramento. Mr. Williams has professional experience as an educator and has held the position of Dean of Business and Social Science at Long Beach City College. In the 4th District, the incumbent Jon Meyer will not be challenged by retired educator Naomi Rainey, who had previously expressed interest in the position.
Long Beach City College Board of Trustees
The Long Beach Community College District has two of its five seats up for election. In District 2, incumbent Roberto Uranga will not be challenged. District 4’s incumbent Doug Otto faces one challenger, high school teacher Davina Keiser. She is currently serving as the 2011-12 chair of the National Education Association Republican Educators Caucus. Mr. Otto currently serves as the board president and is an attorney. He was elected to the board in 2004 and reelected in 2008.
The City of Long Beach’s election webpage has several helpful links. Residents can register to vote at a polling station or to vote by mail. Polling stations and district information are available. Click this link to be directed to their page!
Arts for LA will feature candidate surveys in the campaign section of this website. These surveys provide all candidates with a platform to express their political intentions. The published collective surveys will become an informative resource for voters and will be available in mid-February. In addition, Arts for LA is committed to announcing candidate-public events. Within the Civic Calendar Forum, public opportunities are posted to meet and discuss critical issues with the candidates. One example is the “Coffee and Discussion with Rae Gobelich” on April 9, 2012 in Long beach. Please use this link to learn more!
Photo: Long Beach Light House by Flickr user Randy Bayne. Creative Commons licensed for fair use.