From gauging city candidates’ opinions on fracking and a potential international terminal at the Long Beach Airport to reviewing their answers regarding longstanding hot-button district issues, last night’s Second District candidate’s forum, hosted by the Bluff Park Neighborhood Association, served to review the candidates’ platforms on a host of issues while addressing a few new topics.
Thoughts on fracking and a potential international terminal elicited, for the most part, cautious responses seeking to balance the community’s desire to eliminate practices that harm the environment with a desire to grow Long Beach’s economy.
“We must do all we can to end” fracking, said Jeannine Pearce.
Rival candidate Eric Gray appeared to echo Pearce’s statements, stating that “it’s important to talk about fracking openly” and that he was “against fracking.” He acknowledged oil’s role in bringing jobs to the city and stated such discussions “needs to be done in a pragmatic way.” Both candidates have been endorsed by the Sierra Club, although Pearce was quick to note that she is the only candidate who had not accepted money from “big oil” at the previous citywide debate.
Joen Garnica said she was “always for responsible producers” when it comes to oil, but that being said, there shouldn’t be “bad seeds in the group.”
When it came to the international terminal, Garnica was all for it, no question, while Gray and Pearce expressed support, as long as the current noise ordinance is kept in place.
“I’m supportive of the international terminal, but we should not adjust the noise bucket,” said Gray. “The noise bucket should stay in place.”
Other moments of note included false endorsement references. Garnica claimed she had the support of Retro Row while concluding the meeting, referencing a press release issued in early February, which included statements from a few businesses owners on the street. To be clear, Garnica has not received an endorsement from Retro Row.
This is confirmed by a release issued by the 4th Street Business Association, which is commonly referred to as “Retro Row.”
“Individual business owners who operate within the district may personally endorse candidates for office, but those endorsements do not reflect the views of the 4th Street Business Association as a whole,” stated the release. In fact, the Business Improvement District (BID) is not legally able to endorse a candidate.
Throughout the forum, the candidates also delved into well-tread issues, including parking, homelessness and trash, which kept the candidates talking throughout the night.
It was confirmed all were on board with the “one percent for the arts” initiative, and all had different ideas on how to more efficiently pick up trash.
Pearce suggested the city “empower city employees to pick up trash” while conducting their rounds. Garnica suggested adding additional trash cans to one-way streets.
“On one-way streets, trash receptacles are only on one side,” said Garnica. She said adding receptacles to both sides of the street would be an effective way to curb excess trash, allowing residents a way to conveniently dispose of their waste.
Gray advocated using the “Go Long Beach” app to pick up trash.
In terms of parking, Pearce said the city needs to go into “blitz mode”—something she’d do, if elected, she said. She said her first priority would be studying parking impacts, working with churches and small businesses and pushing for permits for residents around Broadway to ensure they have a place to park. She also advocated ridding the city of the parking “hash marks” in and around Alamitos Beach, as it is not proven they “produce more parking.”
Garnica said she’d push for someone in the city to be responsible for working toward parking solutions, such as a parking engineer.