Reform Movement Win

By: 
Ian Patton

With ballots still to be counted, one thing is clear: The people of Long Beach have awoken to a shared, healthy renewed skepticism of Long Beach City Hall and its all-too-effective machine politics stranglehold. In the case of both Measure A and the council races, David is threatening to topple Goliath, and people power is winning out disproportionately, to a massive degree, over money. The reform movement had an historic, remarkable success with repercussions to be felt all across our city’s body politic for years to come.

In the case of our 2nd Council District candidate, Robert Fox, he is guaranteed run off status. Our 8th Council District candidate Juan Ovalle is in a tight race to see who makes the runoff against the incumbent sitting councilman.

Regardless of the final numbers, both have made history as the first two Long Beach City Council candidates in recent memory to be in strong contention despite running 100% grass roots campaigns. In other words, neither candidate had a massive “independent expenditure” political action committee, with the ability to raise unlimited funds per donor, backing him.

Each ran a campaign which solicited contributions of no more than $400 according to both the letter and the spirit of the Long Beach Campaign Reform Act of 1994. And each ran against opponents whose independent expenditures received individual checks of as much as $50,000.

Perhaps the most shocking outcome was Measure A. Mayor Robert Garcia raised over $700,000 for his committee called “Yes on A & B, Mayor Garcia Committee to Protect Police & Fire and Repair Infrastructure in Long Beach” in order to pass Measures A and B, primarily the city sales tax extension (ad infinitum) Measure A. Opposing it were all members of the Long Beach Reform Coalition, including both our Reform Ticket candidates.

Together we organized a campaign which spent less than $1,000 (and was therefore exempt from forming a formal committee) for No on A yard signs. We also, with lead writer Corliss Lee on Measure A, co-wrote the sample ballot arguments against both A and B, pointing out the dishonest nature of each proposal.

As things stand, our less than $1,000 campaign beat the mayor’s over $700,000 campaign. Furthermore, both our council candidates have proven the highly limited appeal of machine backed candidates, who currently are limited to less than 30% of the vote in the 2nd District (Cindy Allen) and less than 40% of the vote in the 8th District (Al Austin). In other words, a rejection of the establishment status quo in each race amounting to 60% to 70% of the vote.

Given these results, truly the local reform movement in Long Beach, just a year and a half after the formation of the Long Beach Reform Coalition, has made an historic, stunning, potentially decisive impact on the politics of our city for the better. And our support is only growing day by day, as more and more residents become informed of Long Beach’s machine-driven system of politics of late. We have only just begun.

 

 

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