The Sad Betrayal of Our Beloved Mayor Beverly O’Neill

By: 
Robert Fox

This is a story of intimidation, deceit, manipulation, and abuse perpetrated by the mayor and his City Hall machine to get Cindy Allen elected to the 2nd District council seat.

They coerced former mayor Beverly O’Neill to endorse Cindy Allen.

To bear down upon a woman of 90 years to get what you want, although she protests repeatedly, is the precise definition of elder abuse according to FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Elder abuse is "a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person."

Last Saturday, in an attempt to understand what happened, a colleague of mine called O’Neill to ask her what her reasons were for endorsing Cindy Allen.

During the conversation it was reported that O’Neill said she had never met Cindy Allen and knew nothing about her. When pressed she said she was called by Mayor Robert Garcia, and one other man she did not recognize, who forcefully influenced her to endorse with such statements as “Cindy’s opponent is an evil, horrible man who will destroy the city.”

Robert Garcia never mentioned my name, so the former mayor had no idea who this “evil man” was nor had any concept of what he had done that warranted such disdain. My friend reports that, at first, she refused citing her personal policy not to endorse anyone, deciding to stay out of politics in her elder years. Garcia kept pressuring her until she finally just gave up and said "okay."

Hearing of this abuse, I made a call to O’Neill last Sunday. She immediately recognized me and was quite cordial. I did not start with my concern regarding her endorsement of Cindy Allen as I wanted to get an impression of her current regard for me.

We talked about me being on her campaign for mayor and my participation in Alan Lowenthal’s campaign when it was run by Sharon Cotrell. I passed on the sad news that Sharon had just passed away. She gave her condolences to Sharon’s family.

Then I told her why I was calling. I wanted to know what had persuaded her to endorse Cindy Allen for the 2nd District council race. She said, she had no idea I was running against Cindy Allen. I piped up and said, What? Didn’t anyone tell you who the candidates were in the 2nd District council race?

Her answer was “no” and that she had never met Cindy Allen and did not know anything about her. "Why then did you endorse her?" I asked. She immediately apologized and said she was so sorry and that she had broken her pledge to herself that she would not make any more endorsements. She explained that Robert Garcia and one other man she did not recognize had called her and said what was stated above. She stated she had no idea that they were referring to me, as she knew me and liked me. She knew of my participation in Long Beach for the past 36 years. Again, she apologized. She said that Cindy had called her on the phone and she sounded like a very nice person. She stated again, she had never met Cindy.

We reminisced about my founding of the Alamitos Beach Neighborhood Association in 1992, my co-founding of almost all the neighborhood associations in the 2nd District and my chairing the Just Five Organization that worked with her developing the concept for our economic recovery in 1994 – trade, tourism and technology. She again said she was so ashamed and heart-broken and didn’t know what to do.

We talked about me being the first openly gay chairman of the Council of Business Organizations, chairman of the Council of Neighborhood Organizations and how I had even served as president of the Business License Fee Review Committee and president of two Police Advisory Committees.

We talked about me being in City Council often speaking on various issues for over 30 years. She was very upset and kept apologizing. “Oh, I am just so ashamed.”

I reminded her that she had even been to my home for dinner. “The little house next to the gas station on Broadway and Temple” and how she and her husband, so enjoyed the dinner. She was even more upset and shaken. She said “Oh, my goodness.”

I mentioned that I had been a longtime supporter of her mother’s foundation, The Flossie Lewis House, how the foundation had helped one of my dear friends, and she really started to sigh. It was getting to be too much, so I stopped my litany of things we had done together to ease her pain.

Beverly was distraught and ashamed and very upset that she had been so manipulated. She understood that once she had given her endorsement, it would be all over the papers and print, and that withdrawing it would serve hardly any practical purpose. She asked me what she could do to repair the damage. My response was, “When I find myself in trouble and in question of what to do with my own mistakes, I give it all to God, and then go into silent prayer,” and that perhaps that would assist her in her search for a path forward. She agreed.

She again said she was so ashamed and apologized profusely. She told me she would reach out to “her people” in the 3rd, where she lives, and the 2nd districts to try to undo the damage done. She restated that she certainly from now on will never endorse anyone or anything.

In the end she was hurt and dismayed that she had been so misled. I didn’t want to bring anymore pain to her, so we stopped our conversation with words of kindness and friendship. She had been pushed into endorsing things she did not really understand nor have any interest in, and that this was the end of her involvement in city politics. It is sad to see such grief and sorrow in this marvelously gentle woman, who led our city out of a deep recession. She led with civility, grace, kindness, and love. She is the best mayor the city has ever had.

My friends, we have come so low in our local politics that the City Hall machine is willing to abuse a 90-year-old woman of great soul, to force endorsements from everyone else on false pretenses and pervert any semblance of honor and integrity in our system.

We have a choice to make: Either we stay silent and allow this brutal, unethical cadre of political opportunists to hold sway over our city, or we speak up and denounce the politics of cruelty, dishonor, lies and cover ups, which is the very essence of the City Hall political machine.

No one would be worthy to take a seat that they had to lie, steal or cheat to get, and the people would not deserve to be represented by such a person. There is still a place in Long Beach for honor, justice, truth and integrity. Now is your chance to vote for or against such high ideals.

 

Category:

Add new comment

Beachcomber

Copyright 2020 Beeler & Associates.

All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced or transmitted – by any means – without publisher's written permission.