In the most recent Sunday edition of the Press-Telegram, the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce PAC purchased a large ad showcasing its endorsed candidates who are vying for positions in tomorrow’s election. At the top, in bold letters, is the Chamber’s endorsement for Damon Dunn for mayor while below, a list of other candidates.

PT adHowever, the ad has made Supervisor Don Knabe, in his own words, “absolutely livid” and feel “utterly disrespected.”

In the ad, Knabe is listed among the supporters of the endorsed candidates, in this case appearing at the bottom in support for 5th District candidate Stacy Mungo (who faces off with Carl Kemp). But with the bold, headlining words supporting Dunn at the top, Knabe not only finds the advertisement misleading—he has endorsed Vice Mayor Robert Garcia—but disrespectful after previous requests Knabe had set with the Chamber when it comes to using his image and words.

“I’m a big boy—I’ve been in this game a long time,” Knabe said. “I endorsed Mungo but the problem is the way it reads with Dunn being at the top. It is extremely misleading and is typical of the way PACs advertise—especially last minute when there is nothing you can do: it’s been bought, it’s been printed. It’s too late to do anything about it and I am really ticked.”

Knabe’s other concern is the fact that he has already been at odds with the Chamber beforehand. Knabe alleges that the use of his image and words were used when the Chamber erroneoulsy attached his likeness to a piece a few years ago involving current 8th District Councilmember Al Austin. According to Austin, “the controversy was a negative piece against me that had his image along with [former Long Beach mayor] Beverly O’Neill on the opposite side.  Knabe and O’Neill were both upset to be associated with the chamber piece attacking me.”

“I feel utterly disrespected,” Knabe said. “I explicitly told the Chamber to never—under any circumstance—use my name, words, or image without my permission. The saddest part is that I’ve been a good partner with the Chamber; I’ve put a lotta money into their coffers and, frankly put, I expected to be treated better. We can disagree on candidates; we can’t disagree that individuals deserve respect.”

Knabe went even further, alleging that the Chamber is “playing a game” with things beyond the election—specifically the annual State of the County address, an event sponsored by the Chamber where Knabe addresses the concerns, hopes, and advances made within his district.

“People keep asking me when the State of the County will be this year and I have to tell them that I don’t know,” Knabe said. “The Chamber hasn’t offered me the chance because they are playing this game that does nothing but downsize the people we’re supposed to be informing—the citizens of our county.”

Neither Randy Gordon, CEO and President of the Chamber nor Damon Dunn returned request for comment for this story.

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