The curse of Garcia, the king-breaker: Who’s next?

The Backroom is a column by the staff of the Long Beach Post with notes and analysis, along with bloops and blunders, from the city’s political scene. It runs every Thursday. To contact us, email [email protected]. For questions or concerns, please contact Managing Editor Melissa Evans: [email protected] or 562-437-5814. 

Despite the mayor’s impressive local success rate with candidates and measures going on to victory following his endorsements, his backing of candidates at the national level has been the kiss of death.

To recap, he enthusiastically endorsed and campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016. He stanned hard for Sen. Kamala Harris until she dropped out in early December. He then pivoted to former Vice President Joe Biden, who got whaled on in this week’s Iowa Caucus debacle, garnering zero delegates by the latest count as he heads to New Hampshire.

Once is chance, twice is a coincidence but thrice, as they say, is a pattern.

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Word inside the Beltway (the only place The Backroom truly feels at home) has it that Biden is offering Garcia a “large amount” of money, “for the love of God,”  to switch his allegiance to Sen. Elizabeth Warren. This story is developing until Garcia winnows the field down to one.

We do it for you 

You might have read—and Lord knows where you might have read it—that the owners of the Long Beach Post have purchased the Long Beach Business Journal. And, for the sake of total transparency, The Backroom’s writers were thrown in as part of the Post’s purchase in June 2018 by Pacific6, a corporation that includes John Molina. And to some of Long Beach’s more Alex Jonesian citizens, the acquisition now of the Business Journal marks the end of Long Beach’s impressively enduring experiment with freedom and democracy thanks to one company now owning not one, not three or four, but two of the city’s news publications.

If that warrants an apology, consider this that, though our heart isn’t really in it.

Among the accusations that have sullied our generally unassailable reputation for fairness and objectivity are that we are controlled by, or in the pocket of, or are the lapdog for, in no particular order, hizzoner the mayor, 2nd District council candidate Cindy Allen, and our beloved leader John Molina, and that our sole motivation as we move forward is to relentlessly push forward on one or the other’s (or the entire triumvirate’s) social and political agenda(s).

OK, now we’re going to ask you to make what could be, depending on how firmly you stand in an Alex Jonesian camp, a giant leap of faith. Believe us when we tell you that, despite our unrelenting march to control all media within Hollywood’s Ten-Mile Zone, we are in no one’s pocket but our own. That’s right. We are squarely in our own cozy pocket.

Think about it. If we were really in Mayor Garcia’s pocket would we be poking our nose into his uncomfortable love affair with then-presidential candidate Kamala Harris? Would we have ever given that subject a rest?

If we were pushing Cindy Allen’s candidacy, would we be wallpapering her with PRAs and tailing her ceaselessly around town at night and surveilling her office surreptitiously?

And if we were pawns of John Molina, would we be out helping him paint his house this weekend?

We rest our case. Trust us. Everything the Backroom does, we do for you.

Save Community Hospital! 

Measure A is a marquee item on the March 3 ballot and it concerns extending the “temporary” 10-year 1% sales tax increase that voters approved in 2016. It worked out great for Long Beach’s budget and you can hardly blame the city for wanting to make the 10-year fling into a permanent arrangement.

As part of the campaign for Yes on Measure A, mailers are going straight for our heartstrings, or at least our heart, by couching the measure as a way to reopen our beloved Community Hospital.

Now, we’re as anxious as anyone (here’s another transparency break: John Molina is one of the partners involved with reopening the hospital. The Backroom isn’t in his pocket though; we’re just the house painters ) except maybe John Molina for the resurgence of Community as the Official Hospital of The Backroom, but it’s a bit of a stretch for the people behind the mailer (paid for by Yes on A&B, Mayor Garcia’s Committee to Protect Police & Fire and Repair Infrastructure in Long Beach) to make it sound like an affirmative vote on Measure A will prevent Long Beach bodies from piling up on the roadside.

The deal inked with the new operators requires the city to pay up to $25 million for renovations (and, given the current state of the hospital, it will be $25 million), spread over 15 years. To put that in context, the general fund (the taxpayer portion of city spending) is roughly $554 million; all it would take to get $1 million, or even $2 million, covered without Measure A is a quick accounting trick. It’s basically a couple of orders of avocado toast and a Starbucks venti latte.

Mailers aside, one of the more common selling points of the tax extension is that if it fails, the city will be paying the same sales tax due to the county’s Measure H, which would push the city over the 10.5% sales tax cap. So we’re essentially wetting our beak in the treasuries of other cities in the county who are paying into the pot to help stem the homlessness crisis.

If the extension fails next month, Long Beach will be paying its share, “So don’t you want that money to stay local?” proponents, including the mayor, say.

We’re fairly sure the county—and other cities—are not pleased that its second-largest city may be skipping out for the foreseeable future. Whether the county is angry enough to enlist the help of its lawyers remains to be seen.

Tune in tonight

Forget Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime—the best thing on the screen tonight is the Long Beach Post’s 6th District candidate forum.

All six candidates will be there, along with your mad dog moderators Melissa Evans and Stephanie Rivera. The action gets underway at 6 p.m. on the Post’s website and social media channels.

Next Thursday: We turn to the 8th District’s three contenders.

Support our journalism.

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