One day after participating in the first forum where each candidate running in the 4th District City Council special election answered questions on policy, Herlinda Chico announced that she has been endorsed by the Long Beach Fire Fighters Association (LBFFA).
The announcement was made on Chico’s Facebook page, which has become a growing rolodex of sorts of both City and State elected officials offering up their support for the candidate. The endorsement from the LBFFA makes it a clean sweep for Chico as far as public safety unions go, with the Long Beach Police Officers Association (LBPOA) giving their endorsement in late January. The addition of the LBFFA brings Chico's endorsement total to over 10 with just eight weeks left until election night, with her list including over half of the current council members and Senator Ricardo Lara and Congresswoman Janice Hahn.
“Public Safety is one of the cornerstones of my campaign and I am very proud to say that I am the only candidate to receive the support of every public safety organization in Long Beach,” Chico said in a statement.
Sergio Carrillo, the chief strategist for Chico’s campaign team said that the growing list of endorsements serves as validation for her commitment to public safety.
“Herlinda has a vision of making Long Beach the safest big city in America,” Carrillo said. “I think that when the POA and the firefighters interviewed all candidates, they felt like could sign on to her vision. They felt like hers was the vision they wanted to be a part of.”
LBFFA President Rex Pritchard echoed that sentiment in his endorsement comments.
"Long Beach Firefighters are proud to support Herlinda Chico for City Council,” Pritchard said. “Herlinda will be an advocate for the safety of the community and the people who protect it. She will put public safety first and fight to give our local firefighters the tools they need to protect citizens' lives and property."
Chico’s union endorsements were the subject of some jabbing by Richard Lindemann at yesterday’s forum, ones that Chico took as an insinuation that she would serve as a “rubber stamp” for those pledging their support for her. She quickly dismissed that idea and pointed out that all of the candidates interviewed for both the POA and LBFFA endorsements, both of which ultimately chose Chico.
The announcement today came as a bit of a surprise given that Daryl Supernaw’s father served as a firefighter in the city from 1947-1976. Supernaw said that he has yet to receive an explanation for the decision for the LBFFA to select Chico, but that it may have had something to do with his unwillingness to increase the utility users tax (UUT), a topic that came up during his interview for the endorsement.
Supernaw said that when the interview turned focus to the sources of funding, he presented the same suggestions he's made to city staff to utilize corporate sponsorships and naming rights to fund the department. Pritchard said the new revenue streams would be “inadequate”, according to Supernaw, and said the city would have to increase the UUT.
“I responded by stating that the 4th council district is economically diverse, and it did not sit well with me to increase taxes on our low income residents and fixed income seniors,” Supernaw said in an email. “I don't recall exactly how I worded it, but I attempted to explain that the UUT was a "regressive" tax. I also indicated I would like the opportunity to use my business skills to scrutinize the city budget prior to anyone deciding that taxes needed to be raised.”
Supernaw’s statement reiterates what he expressed at the forum yesterday, a view all three candidates shared when faced with the same question; that they wouldn’t support any raising of taxes, including the utility users tax.
“I am not in favor of raising taxes,” Chico said. “Unfortunately there are some tough conversations that we’re going to have to have. We really need to identify where we can be more efficient in city government and look at making sure we stretch the dollar as much as we can. But of course we’re going to be have those conversations and it’s something that I do not support. It should be a last resort.”