The first (and potentially only) forum where all three candidates vying for the open 4th District City Council seat will discuss issues with the public will be hosted at the Long Beach Playhouse Tuesday February 24, where organizers are expecting a standing room only audience in a district that is deeply involved in neighborhood politics.
The event, which is being hosted by the East Anaheim Street Business Alliance (EASBA) and moderated by 5th District Councilwoman Stacy Mungo, will provide Daryl Supernaw, Herlinda Chico and Richard Lindemann a public forum to introduce themselves to the community, and also to field questions from those in attendance during the question and answer portion of the meeting.
Each candidate will have a window to introduce themselves and the topics that they see being important for the district. The questions will be submitted the day of the event and each candidate will have an opportunity to rebut any comments made on the topics discussed if they choose to. Rod Wilson, president of the EASBA, said that their normal meetings usually yield about 60 attendees, and despite the 12PM start time during the middle of the week, they’re expecting a packed house for next week’s forum. For those not able to attend, Wilson said there are plans to record the meeting and to upload it to the EASBA’s website.
“Our monthly meetings are at 12 noon on the 4th tuesday and after talking to all of the business owners we chose to keep it at the same time and location,” Wilson said. “We’ve had at least, what i’ve seen, 40 new emails and calls from people who don’t normally come every month, because they are working, will make it a point to be here Tuesday.”
Wilson added that the seat vacated by Patrick O’Donnell when he was elected to the State Assembly last year—prompting a special election to be held, costing taxpayers an estimated $175,000—has caused a stir in the community, calling him a "great advocate" for the district.
“There is a lot discussion and concern about the next council member in our district because council member O’Donnell was a great advocate and a big part of it,” Wilson said. “There’s always concern when you have a strong friend leaving office, with the new person coming in being able to continue.”
Having an opportunity to meet and engage the people that will eventually decide who takes over the vacant spot is important to all of the candidates, especially Richard Lindemann, perhaps the least-known of the field. Lindemann, who is planning on walking the neighborhood this weekend and putting out his campaign signs that have "finally come in," said that sharing the stage with Chico and Supernaw and putting a face to his name will be invaluable to his run.
“I’m known over in my little area, but for most of the district I’m not,” Lindemann said. “Where Herlinda has made a name for herself when she started to run the first time and then dropped out and of course Daryl has the most name recognition because he did go through with the campaign last time. I know I'm definitely the dark horse so to be able to get my name out to the rest of the community is really sort of a big thing to me.”
Lindemann and Supernaw have both run relatively quiet campaigns up to this point, compared to Chico’s aggressive use of social media to announce the growing number of endorsements she's received. Supernaw, however, is no stranger to this type of event, having participated in a similar forum during the 2012 race which ended with O’Donnell being reelected.
“Having been through it before, I have a very strong comfort level,” Supernaw said. “What I’m looking forward to is that first opportunity for the public to see all three candidates side by side and hopefully be able to hear us respond to questions. Secondly, it’s always nice for me to present to a business association because my background is business.”
Chico has not yet responded to attempts to reach her regarding this article, but her online presence and work put in during a previous attempt to run for the 4th District seat will make her no stranger to the people attending the meeting Tuesday. She told the Post last month that being accessible is something she prides herself on.
“My campaign is a combination of both the general relationships that I have and supplementing them with the social media campaign,” Chico said. “I think that it’s a nice balance because I’m very accessible. That’s how I would like to represent the 4th district. Patrick O’Donnell was very accessible and I’d like to continue that.”
The EASBA is a community development organization that operates inside the 4th District to help grow businesses and their relationships with surrounding business owners. Whoever is elected to the council will undoubtedly have an effect on area businesses, which makes the forum all the more important, outside of it being the only scheduled public debate as of yet for the three candidates. Wilson said that when there’s an important issue on the table, this district turns out in large numbers to have their voices heard.
“The fourth district is a very tight-knit community. It’s a special blend between the residents and the businesses and the business owners,” Wilson said. “There’s a real old school, old town community feel where people know each other, they work together to support local businesses and provide tremendous support. It’s a district where people are active, involved and truly care about the neighborhood.”