Having been empty since November following the ousting of former President Thomas Fields, the search to fill the Harbor Commission's remaining vacant seat may soon be complete: Lou Anne Bynum, Executive Vice President of College Advancement & Economic Development at Long Beach City College, has been nominated by Mayor Bob Foster and will face the City Council for confirmation at their May 20 meeting.
Bynum’s vast business experience—both in the public and private sectors—made her a prime but unexpected choice.
“I personally wasn’t expecting it all,” Bynum told the Post. “This isn’t to say I hadn’t expressed interest—I was very much interested but I hadn’t applied. Then I got a call.”
That call—a 90-minute conversation which would become an unexpected interview for the position—was from none other than Mayor Bob Foster, the man leading the charge on filling the seat, along with current Harbor Commissioners and eventually the City Council next week for confirmation. Foster apparently told Bynum that he felt positive and would be in contact with her while possibly considering other candidates.
Shortly after, Foster offered Bynum the nomination for the seat, something she is both humbled by and exuberant at tackling.
“Being such an integral part of the Port of Long Beach is an awesome responsibility,” Bynum said. “The Port is a massive economic development driver in our community. With the vast array of capital projects—the Middle Harbor, Pier J, Gerald Desmond Bridge—I know that we can remain competitive.”
When discussing the recent report from LA 2020 that suggested the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach merge into a super port complex, Bynum—much like her predecessors in the late '90s responded to the same idea—felt that was a stifling idea. Even more, she drives home that the Port is an integral part of the community and embedded in its culture.
“The Port doesn’t operate in a vacuum and is intimately tied to the community,” Bynum said. “And my commitment is to the Port of Long Beach and that port alone. My sole job it make sure it does very, very well. Efficiently and effectively. Of course, I am sure the Port will and does look at opportunities for growth but I believe there is something healthy about having the competition between the ports remain. It keeps us on our toes.”