Meet the Third District Candidates

By: 
Steve Propes

Third District City Council candidate Gordana Kajer, 60, is a self employed international trade specialist who moved to Long Beach 30 years ago. Identifying as founding member of Long Beach Surfrider Foundation, she cited Long Beach partnering with the Army Corps of Engineers on the breakwater study as examples of effective government.

A physics teacher at Schurr High School in Montebello and real estate investor, Robert D. Savin, 48, grew up in Monterey Park, moved to Long Beach nine years ago and lives in the Naples area.

Incumbent Councilwoman Suzie Price, 45, an Orange County deputy district attorney, has resided continuously in Long Beach since 2003 and lives in Alamitos Heights.

During her one term tenure, Price cites as her accomplishments, “Adding more officers to the force than we have had in the decade,” and the restoration of both the two officer walking beat on Belmont Shore and of fire engine eight.

In infrastructure, Price took credit for paving over 150 streets, including almost the entirety of Belmont Shore, Ocean Blvd, Sixth Street and Seventh Street, the latter by Cal Trans.” Plans in 2018 include Nieto Ave, Third Street and Colorado Street.

Kajer is critical of the upcoming bicycle bollards on Bellflower Blvd between PCH and Atherton. “The neighbors were not advised. I don’t support projects that don’t include demonstrable community outreach and projects sold with predetermined outcomes.”

Price responded, “We conducted several community meetings on it and have met with resident associations and their boards about the plan.”

To Kajer, it’s “an example of more planning coming from our City Hall,” which did not conflict with Price’s description. “It’s a project that traffic engineering is implementing. We had limited input as a council office because this is part of a broader citywide bicycle infrastructure project.”

Savin’s suggestion is that “we look into other districts where they put in those green lanes. The residents don’t like them. They shake their heads and ask, ‘why are you putting this money in?’”

As far as the council vote over the Land Use Element (LUE) plan, Price said, “every council district made the changes that were appropriate for their district. Mostly my changes were in reduction in height in areas that border residential areas and eight historic districts.” Price said the issue will be revisited in five years.

Savin said about the LUE, “from the residents I’ve talked to, nobody likes it. Lawyers for other cities have said, we don’t have to implement now, why not wait, see what mistakes other cities make.”

Kajer spoke of what she called “the mini-LUE along the Pacific Coast Highway corridor, the Southeast Area Specific Plan (SEASP). “It started as a way to protect the wetlands, but turned into a developer’s dream.”

Opinions differed sharply on the the aquatics center rebuild. Kajar said she is concerned about the center being flooded. “We have an aquatic center proposed at sea level, yet we have a council person who wants a this $103 million project” with about $60 million committed. “I believe Long Beach needs more recreational facilities, but in another part of town at less cost,” naming either Douglas Park or downtown.

Price responded, “I believe that having a world-class aquatics facility in a city like Long Beach is essential given the number of aquatics Olympians we produce as a city. My work on sea level rise is much broader than the pool. I am working with city staff to develop a climate action plan that accounts for the thousands of homes around the pool.”

“If tides rise, there’s much bigger problem with Naples and the Shore,” said Savin.

As to retail sales of so-called “adult use” marijuana, Savin said, “I’m open to hear both sides. It’s something the state and federal need to work out.”

Kajer said, “any new business is a good thing. If it’s legal, the city needs to manage the risk and their concerns about that kind of business.”

Price opined, “We’ve just now gone live with our medical marijuana dispensaries. I’d like to see these open and locked in, then discuss recreation, completing one phase before we discuss the rest. I would bet they are going to vote it in.”

About sanctuary city status, Kajer said, “I support that. Civil rights need to be separated from law enforcement.”

“I believe federal authorities should communicate on other issues that are essential for crime prevention,” said Price. “People shouldn’t be sought out because they are immigrants.”

Savin stated the civic center rebuild displaced homeless people. He advocates Long Beach study how other cities solve the homeless problem, but a solution will require “political will.”

“I commit to going to work for my constituents, at least two full days a week, being available 9 to 5, nights and weekends as needed,” Kajer said. “It’s not a job that can be done outside business hours.”

steve@beachcomber.news

 

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