Four Vie for the Fifth District

By: 
Steve Propes

Employed as a port clerk at Los Angeles Harbor, one-time port commissioner Rich Dines, 49, who served a full six-year term as Harbor Commissioner from 2011 to 2017, is a candidate for the Fifth District Council seat. Dines was born in Inglewood and moved to Long Beach in 1987, settling in Lakewood Village.

Dines stated the Fifth District should have “an independence from the city, an independent voice, not tied to a downtown agenda. We want our share of city services provided for us, police, fire protection, nice streets and parks.”

Retired from an aerospace management career, 66-year-old Corliss Lee, who never married, also comes from Inglewood, moving to Long Beach in 1981 and resides near El Dorado Park. Lee’s most recent involvement in civic issues was her successful opposition to opening the airport to international travel.

Running for re-election to her Fifth District Council seat, 36-year-old Stacy Mungo stated “Over the last four years, we’ve made significant progress on priorities,” taking credit for east side crime being down 18.4 percent and the police department adding 40 police positions and graduating 175 from the academy. She also cited a restored traffic enforcement unit with “all police assignments working closer together.”

John W. Osborn II, 58, cites a career in the Army National Guard. With his wife, an optometrist, they own an on-site optical lab in Los Alamitos as well as commercial medical real estate. Osborn held municipal office in Pennsylvania, where he grew up. He has lived in Long Beach for “going on 11 years” near El Dorado Park, south of Willow Street.

The most heated issue in the Fifth District is the Land Use Element (LUE), especially as it applies to possible mixed use zoning at Parkview Village, which will add residential to existing retail, which is pretty well opposed to by Lakewood Village residents.

All candidates expressed opposition to the Parkview Village plan. Said Dines, “I am not anti-LUE, we just don’t need the LUE in the Fifth District. Develop different districts. Build more downtown, access mass transit and more jobs. You could take out older buildings as well as vacant land opportunities uptown. We should be more strategic and smart.”

“The bow tie is a potential problem,” said Lee about a retail district intersected by Palo Verde and LCD, stating, with mixed use, three stories could be allowed.

“People pay a lot of money for Lakewood Village homes,” said Osborn. “The useful life span of Parkview Village might be coming to an end, but that’s the risk you take when you get into real estate. The plan is an unreasonable expectation on the part of commercial real estate owners.”

Mungo said before she was elected, “Infrastructure and street money was distributed equally among districts. My district had double the need of the second closest district. Our streets were the worst in the city, but we got the same amounts,” about 12 to 35 percent of infrastructure money. “In 2017, I championed a policy change that in the future we might well get three to four times” the earlier amounts. Asked what “might” meant, Mungo stated “Those street (repairs) haven’t been started yet.”

“We’re trying to develop our way to prosperity,” said Osborne. “Look at what’s going downtown, we’re not accommodating infrastructure.”

To fix a budget hole described by City Manager Patrick West after a legal settlement over water department fees paid to the city, Mungo cited her role as chair of the budget oversight committee “mainly asking departments to eliminate discretionary spending.” She also said not filling three vacant management positions could each save $200,000 a year in salary costs. Asked if this amounted to a hiring freeze, Mungo called it a “leadership and management consolidation. We’re delaying hiring until a study of management needs is completed.”
 

Both Osborne and Dines are opposed to the sale of recreational marijuana in the Fifth. Mungo’s idea would be to trade for some of the authorized medical marijuana facilities in our neighborhood for adult use marijuana, “so our neighbors won’t be impacted.” Lee said, “I’m not opposed, if we control and tax it”

None of the candidates offered support for the idea of rent control

As to whether Long Beach should name itself a sanctuary city, both Dines and Osborne offered opposition. Mungo said, “our police should not check immigration status and we should continue to operate that way.” Lee answered, “If we let someone live here for ten years, working, we shouldn’t be kicking them out.”

Finally, Dines responded to a Press Telegram article about his behavior while on the Harbor Commission. “It was a smear campaign, I was falsely accused of unprofessional conduct, but do not know my accuser. While I was a commissioner, the port paid out millions of dollars in settlements. Sometimes, I was the only no vote. This might be the motivation. I’m still going to ask tough questions. I was called the people’s commissioner.”

steve@beachcomber.news

 

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