While the new Long Beach City Council map is still weeks from being formally implemented, the adopted political boundaries are already causing fallout in the city’s 5th District, where there are currently no eligible candidates declared for the 2022 election cycle.
For the past 30 years, Long Beach’s 5th District has historically been bounded by Lakewood to the north, the border with Orange County on the east, the 405 Freeway to the south, and the airport on the west.
The new district cuts off the portion of the district that included El Dorado Park and the surrounding homes and pushes the district west across the airport to include the Cal Heights, Bixby Knolls, and Los Cerritos neighborhoods. The district now stretches across the city, touching both the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers.
The geographic shift displaced all declared candidates from the district. The map is expected to take effect Dec. 18 unless it’s blocked by a legal challenge.
Over the weekend Michelle Dobson, who declared her candidacy for the 5th District in May, announced on Facebook that she was bowing out of the race. Dobson, like every candidate declared for the race, was drawn out of the district in the final map approved by the Long Beach Independent Redistricting Commission last week.
“I am grateful to the voters of the 5th for supporting my campaign and it was a pleasure meeting you as I walked the district,” Dobson wrote. “I will not move my family to a new home to continue to run in the 5th District so as I wrap my campaign, I am thankful for the opportunity to throw my hat in the ring and looking forward to my next adventure.”
Former Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, who served the district from 2006-2014, was seeking a third term, something that was made possible through the passage of Measure BBB, but was also drawn out of the new 5th District.
The 2018 charter amendment installed a third term for city politicians who were previously limited to two terms but could run as write-in candidates indefinitely. Schipske would still be eligible to run for a citywide office like mayor or city attorney but would have to relocate to run for City Council in 2022.
Schipske has been critical of the process, calling into question the process the commission used in drawing the new maps, labeling it “GerrieMandering at Its Finest” on her campaign website.
Schipske could not be reached for comment Monday.
As for incumbent Councilwoman Stacy Mungo Flanigan, who has represented the district since 2014, she had not declared a run for her third term but it was widely believed that she would do so before the March 2022 deadline.
Mungo Flanigan has told constituents in previous weeks that she owns a property in the new 5th District but hasn’t committed to moving from her current home to run for a final term as a member of the City Council. Mungo Flanigan would have to establish residency by Feb. 9 to be eligible to run for the June 2022 primary election.
The deadline to declare candidacy for any Long Beach race is March 11.