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Insomniac Voter Guide: In Long Beach, a Mayoral Candidate For Free Public Transit and Another Who Helped Build Their First Homeless Shelter

11:05 PM PDT on June 6, 2022

    Yes, this is L.A. TACO, but sometimes it’s nice to take a beach day and check out what’s happening in the second biggest city in the county, Long Beach. Like L.A. this election season, a lot is going on. 

    Mayor Robert Garcia is leaving office and running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives to represent Long Beach, parts of Lakewood, Downey, and Huntington Park in District 42 (we didn’t get a chance to cover all the congressional races and state assembly elections happening this election cycle, but you should look up your congressional and state assembly districts and check out who’s running. These are important races too!). We’ll look at the city council races along with the mayor's race. Long Beach is also electing a city prosecutor, a city attorney, a city auditor, and two Long Beach Unified School District Board of Trustees seats are up for election, which you can check out here.      

    The Mayor’s Race

    Our first candidate for the mayor’s race is substituted teacher and master in business administration student Raul Cedillo. Cedillo describes himself as a “humanist/socialist” who mainly wants the city to divest from the Long Beach Police Department and use that money to fund affordable housing, public transportation, mental health, and youth and educational programs. Cedillo’s Twitter bio reads, “Black Lives Matter, free public transit, tenant rights, invest in city youth programs, Fight climate change. Abolish ICE, divest from police. He’s also interested in supporting the growth of more community land trusts in the city and having them build more affordable and low-income housing while trying to avoid the pitfall of gentrification. He wants the city to lobby the federal government to make the Queen Marry into a National Monument, so the feds have to pay for its care and upkeep, not the city.  

    Fun donor facts: Cedillo doesn’t have any donors.

    Candidate number two for the mayor’s race is Deb Mozer. Mozer has several jobs, including credit analysts and consulting producers for movies. More recently, she’s served as a board member on outgoing L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti’s Youth Ambassador Program. Mozer’s all about business, business, business. “I want to place the priority back onto Long Beach Businesses and residents by incentivizing and making it easier and more profitable to do business in the city,” she said. This includes expanding marijuana businesses in the city, “bring in outside private investment in the form of a cultural event that will provide $1.5 billion annually and will increase tourism,” and even getting the city to start a newspaper that will employ unhoused people, which she said will provide 500 jobs…I would like to know where she got that number from, seeing as the journalism industry, especially small to mid-sized newspapers, has seen a lot of layoffs and job losses in the recent past. In terms of housing people, though, Mozer said, “Affordable housing is not a solution to the homelessness problem. Rather, it is a way to provide upward mobility to those just entering the homeownership phase of their life,” instead, she says she has a plan to increase wages in the city, but she doesn't specify what those plans are. 

    She also wants to expand funding to the city’s multi-service center so that more unhoused people can be seen and serviced. Mozer also wants the LBPD to build a Project Green Light surveillance type system that places cameras in neighborhoods that police can watch and monitor in real-time. Project Green Light’s implementation in Detroit, Michigan, has been met with pushback from community groups and activists because of privacy concerns and a lack of data showing whether it works to deter crime. Similar technology like ShotSpotter, which uses hidden microphones in communities to detect the sound of gunfire, has been shown to misidentify many different types of loud noises with the sound of gunfire, generally, be ineffective. At the same time, the data that it does bring in is manipulated by police, which has led to police killings like 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago. On her Linkedin page, Mozer says she’s specifically interested in Sharpshooter INC.     

    Fun donor facts: Mozer is giving herself most of the money for the campaign, but Studio 24, a “Large industrial man cave” in Wilmington, also donated to her campaign. 

    Suzie Price has been the District 3 councilwoman since 2014, and now she’s a candidate for mayor this year. Price has worked as a Senior Deputy District Attorney for over two decades. Price wants the city to hire more cops, and she’s against allowing the city’s police oversight board, the Citizens Police Complaint Commission, to have an independent inspector general to investigate officer misconduct and use of force issues. She says she’s a supporter of a 48-hour-cleanup of unhoused communities as long as homeless outreach services are on-site to offer services to people. She also wants to create a “homeless work program” for unhoused people and get the city to build tiny homes for people. 

    Price has also talked about her interest in supporting business improvement districts. These are associations of local businesses in certain areas that some people may call sketchy and others undemocratic, collecting taxes to fund projects and services they think the local government isn’t handling properly. In L.A. and across California, BIDs are notorious for pushing cruel policies that target unhoused people and communities. Price would also like to see public transit made free in the city. 

    Fun donor facts: Signal Hill Petroleum, The Termo Company, and Westland Real Estate President Yanki Greenspan all donated to Price’s campaign. 

    The current Vice Mayor of Long Beach, Rex Richardson, is our next candidate for the mayor’s office. Richardson was elected as the city council member for District 9 in 2014 after being chief of staff for Councilmember Steve Neal. During his time on council, Richardson advocated for the creation of the city’s first municipal shelter for unhoused people in North Long Beach, funding Paramedic Rescue 12 in North Long Beach and the city’s Police Academy, and helped bring the city’s Promising Adults Tomorrow’s Hope, or PATH, a program that lets young people at risk of dropping out of school take job training programs, off the ground. Richardson says he wants to expand shelter space and affordable housing in the city, expand park space, create a local mental health agency inside the Long Beach Health Department, and hire more police and firefighters.                  

    Fun donor facts: American Airline Inc PAC and the Apartment Association of CA donated to Richardson’s campaign.   

    Joshua Rodriguez is an LAPD officer and your next candidate for the mayor’s race. Rodriguez says he wants to “maintain our medical freedoms and preserve our God-given rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” by adding more public lights in the city, hiring 250 more police officers for the LBPD to do more patrols of neighborhoods, bringing “law enforcement policy classes to the public and exploring ways to introduce such curriculum at the high-school level” and “giving partial control and ownership of public sidewalks to residents, building owners, and business owners to dissuade encampments from occupying such spaces.”

    He says he wants to build more shelters for unhoused people and campsites with mental health, rehabilitation, housing services, and job training as long as the camps are away from populated areas. He is supportive of an independent inspector general investigating the LBPD, but he is not supportive of free public transit.  

    Fun donor facts: The Long Beach Area Republicans donated to Rodriquez’s campaign. 

    Last, local activist and Youtuber Franklin Sims is our last candidate for mayor. Sims led two unsuccessful recall campaigns against Measure A, extended a rise in sales taxes, and a campaign to recall Mayor Robert Garcia. Sims called Garcia a “steward of systematic racism” too interested in gentrification and not housing inequalities and too beholden to the LBPD and the police officer’s associations funding. Sims says he wants to audit local homelessness services to see if they’re spending their budgets appropriately, manage the port's growth so that its public health effects don’t continue to grow, make city bathrooms cleaner, and a general promise to lower taxes. However, he doesn’t say how or what taxes specifically.  

    Fun donor facts: The Long Beach Firemen’s Credit Union donated to Sims’ campaign. 

    City Council Races

    This will be the first election since the city council districts were redrawn last year. 

    District 1

    District 1 is bound to the north by Pacific Coast Highway, then it heads west to the L.A. River and snakes down south to the Port of Long Beach. It’s bound to the east by Alamitos Ave, with a small part that extends to Cherry Ave.  

    First, up for candidates for District 1, we’ve got Lee Charley. Charley describes himself in his Twitter bio as a “US NAVY Veteran. LGBTQ, Former Chronically Homeless, 2 College Degrees and active community member, Shreveport to Long Beach, I love my cats.” Charley has an odd mix of policy ideas, including fixing sidewalks in District 1, expanding handicap access and adding more parking, lowering the price of parking tickets, allowing more marijuana shops, and also, like Deb Mozer, starting a newspaper for unhoused people.  

    Fun donor facts: Not too many people have donated to Charley’s campaign, but one person who sticks out on the list is mayoral candidate Deb Mozer.  

    Next up, Zack Deere, a non-profit developer for the Rancho Los Amigos Foundation, is our next candidate for District 1. Deere is a little short on campaign information, but he’s got a lot of ideas, so here we go. Deere wants more affordable housing that’s rent-controlled, especially condos, not apartments. He wants a city program to help first-time home buyers buy a house, free and affordable overnight parking for the district, more public trash cans, more social workers, and finally, for LBPD to get more involved in the community. “ Our citizens and police need to learn to trust each other and build rapport so that no one is afraid to call for help if they ever need it,” Deere said

    Fun donor facts: Deere does not have any donors listed.

    Our next candidate is a community organizer and activist, Steven Estrada. Estrada is a self-identified communist, running with the blessing of the Communist Party USA. Estrada has said that through his campaign, he wants to educate people about communism and win the election, of course. His motto is “only through the organization and unity of working people that we can solve poverty, unaffordable housing and make Long Beach home again.” 

    Estrada says that the city council's job is to make sure every city resident is housed. To do that, he’s proposing that the city use eminent domain to buy a property and turn it into affordable housing, support more community land trusts, and implement a “land value tax” that will target housing and land speculation. He says he also wants to ban evictions if the tenant is unemployed, underemployed, or just can’t pay rent, increase rental assistance programs, stop city sweeps of unhoused encampments, cut the LBPD’s budget, and use the money to fund social programs, like parks, job training programs, more bus routes, with free fares, and child care programs. Estrada says he also wants to end metered parking and parking fines until the city can figure out what to do about parking and stop the expansion of the 710 freeway.    

    Fun donor facts: Lee Charley surprisingly donated to Estrada’s campaign.  

    The Vice-Chair of the Long Beach Parks and Recreation Commission and co-owner of Rug’it Cleaning in Signal Hill, Mariela Salgado, is our next candidate for District 1. Salgado ran for a council seat in 2019 and lost, but she’s back now with a campaign focused on supporting small businesses and directing some of the city’s budget towards infrastructure projects, like affordable housing, parks, and investments in early childhood education and youth programs. She also wants the city to pilot a new program to assist new homeowners with loans or downpayments for their new homes. She also wants more community policing.     

    Fun donors facts: Robert Fox, real estate broker for Fox Realty and one-time city council candidate, donated to Salgado’s campaign. Fox writes on his website, I see no hope for the State of California within my lifetime.”

    Last but certainly not least, Mary Zendejas, the current representative for District 1, is running for reelection. Zendejas, who was diagnosed with polio as a kid, became the first Latina wheelchair user to be elected to public office in the country when she was elected to the city council in 2019. Her campaign promises and ideas have come in the form of very carefully worded statements of wanting to work with people and organizations and committees to look into stuff like building more park space, supporting different kinds of housing developments, and looking into the possibility of bringing tiny homes to the city to house unhoused people.    

    Fun donors facts: Zendejas has seen a lot of campaign money come in from a lot of different organizations like the Apartment Association of California, Southern Cities PAC, Adam Carrillo, the CEO of Partake Collective, a local ghost kitchen operator and developer, Catalina Channel Express INC, Maria Durazo, Unite Here Local 11, Anheuser Busch Companies, Doordash, Long Beach Blues Society, and Sempra Energy.

    District 3

    District 3 is bounded to the north by the Los Alamitos Traffic Circle and then heads south along Redondo Ave until it hits about half of Bluff Park, extending beyond Paloma Ave. It then heads east, including Belmont Shore and Naples, until it hits the Seal Beach/Orange County line. It extends north back up PCH to include Bixby Village and Wilson High School, cutting off around Cal State Long Beach and the Veterans Administration Hospital. 

    Kailee Caruso is our first candidate for this district. Caruso describes herself as “a Youth Program Administrator working directly with the homeless in LA County,” who wants the city to buy land to sell to developers to build affordable housing, or build “3D printed housing,” offer businesses tax breaks to install solar panels, and building more public transportation infrastructure, including a parking lot in Belmont Shore that will have shuttles that can drive people to their work. She also plans to implement a rent decrease for people renting housing from landlords who don’t live in Long Beach to “allow our local entrepreneurs to set up shop and set down roots, here in Long Beach, where they are personally invested in our collective economic success.”

    Donors: Many family members are donating to Caruso’s campaign. 

    Next up, Deborah Castro, the CEO of Creative Productions, a marketing firm in Belmont Shore, is also running for this council seat. Castro wants more police on the streets, in District 3 in particular, as well as more private security guards, and getting the council to consider some sort of tax incentives to get developers to build affordable housing in the district, as well as getting the city to cobble together rebates for renters who need help paying their rent. 

    Fun donor facts: Castro has a bunch of small-time donors. Nothing too interesting, though.

    Kristina Duggan is our next candidate. Duggan describes herself as “the administrator for my husband’s psych practice.” She also worked as current mayoral candidate Suzie Price’s field deputy while Price was on the city council. Duggan’s all about increasing police budgets, staffing, and presence on the street, including their ability to harass unhoused people and enforce the city’s anti-camping measure. “Law enforcement needs to be given back the ability to enforce the laws and arrest criminals, including those who are homeless. This needs to be a top priority. The homeless who threaten businesses effectively use the system to get away with crimes ruining businesses, and criminals should be held responsible for their crimes,” Duggan writes on her website.

    Fun donor facts: David Combs, the manager of The Termo Company, and Urban Pacific, a real estate company, donated to Duggan’s campaign.  

    Mark Guillen, the regional public affairs manager for Crown Castle International, a real estate investment trust and communications infrastructure company, is our next candidate for District 3. Guillen wants the LBPD to enforce better the city’s unhoused people harassing anti-campaign law while expanding the number of “beds and facilities that the homeless can utilize” and increasing the number of mental health services available to people. He wants to be able to do this by hiring more LBPD officers and upping recruitment if it’s needed. 

    Fun Donor facts: Louis Baglietto Jr, the director of Baglietto Co, a super yacht manufacturer, Real estate developer Richard Lewis, and the Long Beach Firefighters Association all donated to Guillen’s campaign. 

    Our last candidate for the District 3 city council seat is Greg Magnuson. He owns an education consulting firm called Education Management Solution. He’s also been an administrator and principal at multiple school districts in Orange County, like Buena Park School District. Magnuson wants to be “a voice for managed and sustainable” development, including affordable housing, but he also says Long Beach is already “built out.” He also wants to hire 100 more LBPD officers and have them enforce low-level nuisance crimes.  

    Donors: Magnuson gave himself a lot of money. Ken Buck, the owner of Joe Jost’s, also donated, as did Studio W Architects. 

    5th district

    District 5 runs all over the map, so it’s a little hard to describe, but it runs east to Rancho Los Cerritos, north to Cherry Park, then south to Long Beach Airport, then west to the San Gabriel River, bounded to the north by Lakewood,  St Anthony High School, and Heartwell Park. If you need to see the map for yourself or any of the district maps, check them out here.

    Incumbent Councilmember Stacy Mungo Flanigan isn’t able to run in the newly drawn district, so this seat is wide open.   

    First, up for candidates for this city council seat, we got Jeannie Bedard, an LAPD officer. Bedard’s main issue seems to be the need for more police in the city. She wants to “fully staff” the police and firefighter departments and works to “bring back Law and Order.” She also does not support “developers taking over our neighborhoods.”  

    Fun donor facts: Bedard doesn’t have many donors besides herself and a couple of LAPD officers.

    Megan Kerr is a board member of the Long Beach Unified School District, and now she’s running to rep District 5. Kerr says she wants to help build a spectrum of housing initiatives in the district, including affordable housing units and more homeless shelters. She says she’ll also work to fund more green and open space projects in the district. 

    Fun donor facts: Kerr has gotten a lot of diverse donations from places like the Bizfed PAC, the  Long Beach Yellow Cab Cooperative, Worthington Ford, the UFCW Western States PAC, the Apartment Associate of Southern California Cities PAC, Councilmember Al Austin, the Long Beach Firefighters Association PAC, SEIU United Healthcare West PAC, and SEIU Local 721.

    Ian Patton, a longtime campaign advisor for local political campaigns and the executive director of the Long Beach Reform Coalition, is now running himself for this city council seat. Patton has a lot of things he wants to do in office, mainly involving bulking up the police department. He wants to hire a thousand or more LBPD officers while cutting overtime pay for the department and re-stabling the department's gang unit while allowing the city’s civilian police oversight commission to hire an inspector general to investigate the police department. Patton also wants the police to increase enforcement of its anti-camping laws used to harass unhoused people, and he wants the department to double down on traffic enforcement. He's also against rent control and wants the city to put Measure A, the sales tax increase extension, on a future ballot for people to vote on ending or not.

    Fun donor facts: The Apartment Association of California Southern Cities PAC and Robert Fox of Fox Realty donated to Patton’s campaign.  

    District 7

    District 7 covers most of the city's west side, from south of the 710 freeway in the north, bounded by the 103 freeway in the west and Pacific Ave in the east, and ending at the port in the south. 

    Alejandro Cortez is your first candidate for District 7. Cortez is a security program manager for Belkin. He says he wants the city to hire more police officers, firefighters, and EMS and change housing and zoning laws to make way for the development of affordable housing. Cortez also wants to push the council to adopt a rent control ordinance. 

    Fun donor facts: Cortez does not have any donors listed.

    Raul V. Jallorina seems like an interesting dude, but he doesn't have much of any campaign information out there. He does say that he wants to get all of District 7 vaccinated against COVID-19. He also wants to increase resources available to the LBPB and create a committee of district residents that can talk about and devise environmental policy and reforms with air and water quality.     

    Fun donor facts: Jallorina does not have any donors listed.

    Next up, we got the owner of Ovalle Architects, Carlos Ovalle. Inspired by the Sunrise Movement and Our Revolution, Ovalle says he wants to focus his campaign on addressing environmental injustice issues, including housing and job training programs. To tackle the affordable housing problem, Ovalle wants to convert vacant office buildings into housing, create a job training program to create manufactured housing, and look into the city’s ability to give people making below the median wage a voucher to pay for their rent. He also wants the city to make the northern segment of the 103 freeway that’s abandoned into a public park and for the city to create “multigenerational community centers,” which he imagines as kind of like places where both seniors and young people can hang out. For all the types of progressive ideas he has, Ovalle also talks about establishing city-funded business improvement districts, which haven't been great for unhoused people in L.A.   

    Fun donor facts: The California Nationalist Party, a progressive secessionist organization,  Robert Fox, and the Long Beach Reform Coalition donated to Ovalle’s campaign. 

    Last but not least, the council rep for District 7 since 2014, Roberto Uranga, is running for reelection. Before getting on the council, Uranga was a board member of the Long Beach Community College District. He helped usher in the Long Beach College Promise, which gives academically eligible LBUSD grads free first-year tuition to Long Beach City College and guaranteed admission into Cal State Long Beach. Uranga says his ideas are generally to “improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Economic development. Public safety.” That’s it. No more explanation is needed, I guess. 

    Recently Uranga and his wife, former Councilmember Tonia Reyes Uranga, were accused of animal abuse for allegedly severely neglecting their dogs, one of which died allegedly because of neglect. Criminal charges were dropped after taking an online call on animal cruelty prevention.    

    Fun donor facts: Uranga has quite a diverse array of organizations donating to his campaign, including The International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ D.R.I.V.E. Committee, the Long Beach Lifeguard Association, the Apartment Association of California Southern Cities PAC, on-demand cargo freight app Cargomatic, the California Nurses Association, a curiously named Robert Garcia for Lieutenant Governor 2026 PAC, the Termo Company, and Unite Here Local 11. 

    District 9

    District 9 covers a good part of North Long Beach. The district is bounded by the city of Paramount line in the north, Compton and L.A. County land in the west, Bellflower and Lakewood in the east, and South Street in the south. 

    For eight years, Rex Richardson has been the councilman for District 9, but he’s leaving to run for mayor this year.  

    First up, we have Ginny Gonzales, a certified public accountant, running to rep District 9 on the council. Gonzales is the wife of the late Thomas Gonzales, a civilian investigator for the Citizens Police Complaint Commission, the civilian oversight board for LBPD. Gonzales won a suit against the city for firing him from the board for, well, doing his job, speaking out against discrimination against people of color in the city’s process of investigating complaints against police, and for allegedly being told not to take excessive force, racial profiling, and sexual misconudt complaints from Latinx residents. Suffice to say, Ginny Gonzales has a lot to say about the LBPD. “The police union is not a respectable union. I do not understand why people in City Hall play games with the police union. Then, as a result, Long Beach poor people end up in Superior Court tagged with fraudulent documents by the cops,” she told the Long Beach Post. Gonzales says she’d like every council district to elect the police officers who patrol and work in their neighborhoods. She also wants the city to tax land speculators, a “citizen reconciliation with city hall” where people can discuss the malfeasances of the city, and for the city to “dump” the Queen Mary and put the money that goes into its repair and upkeep into housing projects, and for every building in town to install solar panels on their roof. My favorite thing Gonzales proposes is the need for more recreational centers. The way she explains her interest in that policy idea is perfect. “Recreational opportunities are a great topic, having sat at home for three solid years doing nothing but staring at paint. Please give recreation time and places for old stoners who drink coffee and who do not drink liquor or smoke cigarettes. We like healthy munchies.” God bless you, Ginny. 

    Fun donor facts: Gonzales doesn’t seem to have much of any donations.

    Next, businessman Raul Nario is running for the council seat in District 9. “Safety is my priority,” Nario said, meaning more patrols and police presence in the district. He also wants to repair roads in the district and expand city cleanup street sweeping and other clean-up crews. He’s also interested in creating more entertainment and arts and cultural activities in the district. Nario is also interested in having the city acquire vacant commercial real estate to turn into mix-use developments and getting the city to look into switching to solar and hydropower. 

    Fun donor facts: Nairo doesn’t have much in the way of donors or campaign contributors. 

    Last but not least, Joni Ricks-Oddie, the chair of the Long Beach Planning Commission and the director of the UCI Center for Statistical Consulting, is your final candidate for District 9’s city council seat. Endorsed by outgoing councilmember Rex Richardson and the Teachers Association of Long Beach, Ricks-Oddie said that the pandemic showed the need for the city to invest in its public health services and infrastructure, like open green space in North Long Beach, mental health services, tackling air quality and truck pollution issues, as well as housing and homelessness issues. Ricks-Oddie says she wants to do that by working on expanding green space in the district and affordable housing projects, providing more money to the city’s health department to expand mental health services, and developing the city’s first-time homebuyer assistance program.       

    Fun donor facts: The Black Women’s Democratic Club, the Downtown Long Beach Alliance, the, again interestingly named, Robert Garcia for Liteanut Governor 2026 committee, UFCW 324, the Apartment Association of Southern California Cities, the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce PAC, and the Long Beach Firefighters Association PAC all donated to Ricks-Oddie’s campaign.

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