John Allen takes lead in bid for reelection to Water Replenishment District

Incumbent John Allen is leading two challengers in his quest for a third term representing Long Beach on the Water Replenishment District Board of Directors.

As of Tuesday night, Allen had 50% of the vote, while challengers Mike Murchison had 26% and Gerrie Schipske had 24% in the race for the Area 3 board seat.

The Area 3 seat represents 800,000 residents in seven cities: Long Beach, Signal Hill, San Pedro, Lakewood, Hawaiian Gardens, Artesia and Cerritos.

Allen, who was first elected to the WRD board in 2014, is a former Long Beach Water Commissioner and is running on his “wealth of water policy experience.” Murchison is a lobbyist who runs Murchison Consulting and often lobbies Long Beach officials. Schipske is a former Long Beach city councilmember who run unsuccessfully in three other local races this year, including City Attorney, which she lost in the Primary to deputy City Attorney Dawn McIntosh by nearly 10 percentage points.

Allen won endorsements from a wide range of local and state officials, including Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn, state Senator Lena Gonzalez and state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. His campaign raised about $63,000 this year, and spent just under $20,000.

Murchison, who said during the campaign that the WRD needs to do more to address droughts and increase water resources in Southern California, was endorsed by Long Beach City Councilmember Stacy Mungo and former councilmembers Dee Andrews, Gary DeLong and Steve Neal, among others, raised and spent the most money in the race. His campaign brought in more than $115,000 during the race, and spent over $90,000.

Shipske, who ran as a “water ratepayer advocate,” never set up a campaign committee.

The WRD is extremely important to a city like Long Beach, which draws about 60% of its drinking water from underground sources. The district treats wastewater to the point that it is drinkable and also injects water back into the aquifers to prevent saltwater contamination. To keep groundwater sources stable, the Water Replenishment District also sets limits on how much a city can pump groundwater.

For up-to-date election results, visit lbpost.com/elections.

Editor’s note: This story was updated Wednesday, Nov. 9 with up-to-date vote tallies.

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Anthony Pignataro is an investigative reporter and editor for the Long Beach Post. He has close to three decades of experience in journalism leading numerous investigations and long-form journalism projects for the OC Weekly and other publications. He joined the Post in May 2021.
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