Published on April 7th, 2016 | by Reporters Desk0
New Faces Vie For Council Seats In April 12 Elections
Long Beach voters in even-numbered districts will have to choose from a plethora of candidates this year. Long Beach City Council facing off in the April 12 election.
District 4 Councilman Daryl Supernaw, who was elected in 2015 after Patrick O’Donnell became an assemblyman, was not opposed this year. However, 10 candidates are campaigning for Districts 2, 6 and 8.
What’s at stake is the leadership and representation of distinct city areas, from downtown Long Beach, where much of the city’s dollars are focused, to culturally diverse areas such north Long Beach and Cambodia Town, which have issues concerning quality of life and public safety.
Some candidates are newcomers vying for a seat on an equal, yet influential, playing field. Others are fiercely challenging incumbents.
There has been recent outrage surrounding a controversial mailer sent out by the Long Beach Citizens for Good Government, a PAC that has contributed to the campaigns of both Wesley Turnbow and Joen Garnica. Both candidates are supported heavily by local businesses in their districts. Incumbents Al Austin and Dee Andrews both face the challenge of reestablishing their platforms against newcomers, while gaining support from state senators and Mayor Robert Garcia.
When Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal announced she would not seek a third term as a write-in candidate for District 2, three candidates stepped up to represent a district that includes the Port of Long Beach, the East Village Arts District and coastal neighborhoods as far east as Redondo Avenue. They are Joen Garnica, Eric Gray and Jeannine Pearce.
Name: Joen Garnica
Experience: President of East Village Association, vice president of Promenade Area Residents Association, director of Downtown Residential Council, president of Garnica Interiors Inc.
Issues: Building community, protecting quality of life and growing local economy
Background: Garnica has worked in District 2 for more than 12 years as president of Garnica Int- eriors Inc., an interior design firm on The Promenade in Downtown Long Beach. Her endorsements include the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee.
“I am running because I’ve been committed to my community for years. That commitment to community is what drives me to serve,” said Garnica in a candidate statement for PADNETtv.
Name: Eric Gray
Experience: President of Downtown Long Beach Residential Council, president of ITO Solutions
Issues: Economic development, quality of life, public safety, mobility, arts and culture, historic preservation, homelessness, LGBTQ community, music and entertainment, parking improvement and senior citizens
Background: Gray helped revamp the Pine Avenue business district as co-founder of the Historic Old Pine Avenue Business Association. Former Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster has endorsed him. He currently is President of ITO Solutions, a software and hardware company.
“I believe that a candidate like myself needs to balance business, labor and community, and I believe I am the best candidate to do so,” said Gray in a candidate statement to PADNETtv.
Name: Jeannine Pearce
Experience: Director of Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, former director of Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community
Issues: Building a healthy community, protecting the environment, promoting a thriving local economy and strengthening local democracy.
Background: Pearce has held multiple positions as a community leader in outreach programs. She has worked with Mayor Robert Garcia as a member of his transition team. She was recently endorsed by Rep. Janice Hahn.
“I’ve worked to make sure that working families can put food on their tables, to make sure that the youth have healthy neighborhoods and ensure that our economy is growing and thriving,” Pearce said in a candidate statement for PADNETtv.
The Sixth District encompasses neighborhoods in the central part of Long Beach, including the area around Long Beach Polytechnic High School, parts of the Cambodia Town and Wrigley areas.
Councilman Dee Andrews is seeking a third term as a write-in candidate. His challengers are Robert Harmon, Erik Miller and Josephine A. Villaseñor.
Name: Dee Andrews
Experience: District 6 Councilman
Issues: Employment opportunities, unemployment, youth tutoring and youth mentoring and improvements in public safety and infrastructure
Background: Andrews’ key endorsements include the Long Beach Police Officers Association, Long Beach Firefighters Association and the Teachers Association of Long Beach. He was elected in 2008 and in 2012.
“Sometimes they overlook the central area and this is why I ran for the Sixth District council position to make sure that they do the same share they do for the City of Long Beach…and this is what makes me so proud to be a part of that situation,” said Andrews in a candidate statement for PADNETtv.
Name: Robert Harmon
Experience: Surgical technologist for Kaiser Permanente, project co-manager of Cambodia Town Square and International Marketplace Project
Issues: Public safety, promoting cultural heritage, leadership, economic justice and dignity, opportunity and job creation, and community improvement
Background: Harmon’s career includes work as a surgical technologist, engineer and president and CEO of his non-profit organization, Top Gun Supercarrier. He also has a military background and pursued bringing the USS Ranger aircraft carrier to Long Beach.
“I’m running because, for me, it is a call of duty,” said Harmon in a candidate statement for PADNETtv.
Name: Erik Miller
Experience: Director of Operation Jump Start and former Long Beach Gang Reduction Intervention and Prevention, GRIP, Taskforce Chairman.
Issues: Community outreach, youth development and mentoring
Background: Miller is a community leader and gang intervention specialist. He said he wants to provide safer neighborhoods through more police and gang reduction.
“I’m tired of seeing crime ridden, violent streets in the Sixth District. It’s time for a change and I’m here to tell you I can be that change,” said Miller in a candidate statement for PADNETtv.
Name: Josephine A. Villaseñor
Experience: Member of Long Beach CERT
Issues: Connect police department and fire department with community, public safety, gang intervention, and homelessness
Background: Villaseñor started the Wrigley Community Watch and continues to be active in numerous neigh- borhood organizations.
“Our district has been left in the dark, and I want to bring light back to our district,” said Villaseñor in a candidate statement for PADNETtv.
Councilman Al Austin is seeking a second term. Laurie C. Angel and Wesley Turnbow are his challengers.
The Eighth District includes the Bixby Knolls and Rancho Los Cerritos areas, as well as part of North Long Beach
Name: Al Austin
Experience: Councilman for 8th District, staff representative for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, AFSCME, AFL-CIO.
Issues: Public safety, infrastructure improvement, community building, economic and job development, and leadership
Background: Austin was elected in 2012 to Long Beach City Council. Since taking office, he has promoted public safety and the commercial corridors revitalization in his district. Mayor Robert Garcia, the Long Beach Police Officers Association, and the Long Beach Firefighters Association have endorsed him.
“This election is about progress and we have the opportunity—[by] re-electing me—to continue the great progress we’ve had in the Eighth District,” said Austin in a candidate statement for PADNETtv.
Name: Laurie C. Angel
Experience: Business manager for Academic Technology Services at Cal State University Long Beach, former senior financial analyst for the Orange County Transportation Authority
Issues: Finance and business, quality of life, and public safety
Background: Angel has worked for the Orange County Transportation Authority, as well as for California State University, Long Beach.
“I’m an active community member and I have every intention of ensuring that our residents have the best quality of life possible and that they’re well represented,” said Angel in a candidate statement for PADNETtv.
Name: Wesley Turnbow
Experience: Chief executive of EME, Inc. Issues: Business and finances, leadership, police and education
Background: Turnbow has been president of metal and finishing shops. He received support from local businesses.
“I want to reconnect our communities with the city hall,” said Turnbow in a candidate statement for PADNETtv.