Photo by Brian Addison.
Mayor-elect Robert Garcia held a press conference today at the Liberal Arts Campus of Long Beach City College (LBCC) to announce that he has assembled a team of Long Beach locals to help him transition into his mayorship.
Garcia noted that the transition committee—whose company included those involved in everything from the nonprofit sector to education, the public sector to the private—will help assemble “only the best and the brightest” for his upcoming mayoral staff and team.
The team will be chaired by Garcia’s former mayoral opponent Doug Otto, who currently acts as a trustee for LBCC.
“We have a terrific team of people who agreed to participate,” Otto said. “We will have a series of meetings—I just got the call last night so to say we are far along would be false. But it’s a great opportunity for Long Beach to move forward and I look forward to Robert’s leadership.”
In addition to Otto, the team consists of:
- Human Relations Commissioner and LGBTQ Center Boardmember Raúl Añorve
- Real Estate Professional Becky Blair
- Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association Director Blair Cohn
- Bicycling/sustainability advocate April Economides
- LBUSD Board President John McGinnis
- LAANE’s Long Beach Hospitality Director and union labor advocate Jeannine Pearce
- Union Pacific Railroad’s Director of Port Affairs Andy Perez
- Centro CHA’s Jessica Quintana
- Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership’s Executive Director Judy Ross
- CSULB Professor Dr. Sabrina Sanders
- Business Manager for Laborers Local 1309 and boardmember for the Pacific Gateway Workforce Peter Santillan
- Community Action Partnership Executive Director Darick Simpson
- Khmer American Civic Engagement Committee Chairman Charles Song
- Pasifica Financial Corp’s CEO and West Long Beach advocate John Taeleifi
- City Fabrick and new urbanist Brian Ulaszewski
- Disabled Professionals Association Executive Director and Ms. Wheelchair California Mary Zendejas
The team will ultimately help Garcia decide who to appoint to commissions, who to bring on his staff, and how to smoothly take over the reigns of outgoing Mayor Bob Foster once Garcia is sworn in on July 15. Additionally, the team will help Garcia deal with the budget, which will be presented by City Manager Pat West on July 1 for approval.
“I want to let everyone know that we are moving the city forward,” Garcia said in closing. “I had a great conversation with [my opponent] Damon Dunn… As you know, Damon and I were engaged in a very competitive and tough race but we’ve had some good discussion about the future of the city… Him and I have made a commitment to sit down over the course of the next few days to discuss how we can work together and move the city forward in a way that benefits everyone.”
The team is expected to remain active, consulting Garcia beyond his installation as mayor, though a specific timeframe as to how long their tenure will last for is unknown.