The Backroom: Rampant rumors and a cavalcade of candidates

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. 

Everyone wants a piece of The Backroom. It’s cozy in here, plenty of warm light, a few kittens, a bean bag chair, a chilled pitcher of distilled Smoke Bay gin and a carton of Parliament Lights (we’re trying to quit vaping).

Our phone has been buzzing with anonymous sources this week, most of them well-connected, wanting to dish tidbits about the topic du jour: the District 2 council race in March.

Several people said the incumbent, Jeannine Pearce, planned to resign Tuesday night, which would be huge news if true. Clearly it wasn’t; she told us as much in a phone interview on Monday: “My constituents deserve a representative who will fight for them,” she said.


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Late Monday, she wrote in a Facebook post that people “shouldn’t listen to (Fox) news,” a clever play on the name of her most prominent opponent in the race, Robert Fox, the rabble-rouser who is sure to antagonize the powers that be, should he win.

Fox denied being the source of rumors about Pearce’s political future. And for their part, several officials in City Hall said they heard the rumor, said it wasn’t true—and denied being the source of it as well.

Pearce, however, appears to be doing just fine in her campaign: She reported raising just over $40,000 between March and June—though that number could not be independently verified as campaign finance forms are not due to the state until July 31.

More candidates 

The field of candidates for District 2 (waterfront, Alamitos Beach) and District 6 (Central Long Beach) races has swelled over the past week; there are now five candidates in each race.

In addition to Pearce and Fox, the field for District 2 includes Richard Harrison, Jeanette Barrera, along with newcomer Nigel Lifsey, co-founder of the Urban Society Long Beach, which promotes music and entertainment in the city.

Barrera, meanwhile, held a campaign fundraiser in late June, during which she talked about homelessness, parking and everyone’s favorite topic, the Broadway Corridor.

The new candidate in the 6th District is Ana Acre, though we were unable to find any information about her; she did not return a call Wednesday. Others in that race running against incumbent Dee Andrews are Steve Meng, Suely Saro and Craig Ursuy.

We also have another candidate in the race for District 2 of the Board of Education: John Mathews II, who is senior legal counsel at The Justice Collaborative. He will compete in the only district so far with more than one contender, running against former councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga and Erik Miller, director of Operation Jump Start. The incumbent who holds the seat, Felton Williams, is retiring.

And lastly, a development in a race we are guilty of ignoring completely—who cares about Congress, right?—is a Republican challenger to Alan Lowenthal for the Democratic-leaning 47th District.

Amy Phan West, a Westminster resident, describes herself as “unabashedly pro-life, committed to ending California’s shocking SeXXX Ed curriculum … a believer in legal immigration and fervently committed to keeping socialism away from America’s shores.”

We don’t like her chances, but we admit to a bit of curiosity regarding SeXXX Ed.

Special election

But before March … residents in the Downtown area will be asked to select someone to finish the term left vacant by now-state Sen. Lena Gonzalez.

The City Council on Tuesday officially declared the seat vacant for the Nov. 5 election. Candidates will be able to file papers for the race July 15 through Aug. 9, according to the city clerk’s office.

At least one candidate, however, appears to have jumped ahead in line: Ray Morquecho posted a Facebook live video announcing he had “dropped my paperwork at City Hall” for District 1.

Give us a hand

We in The Backroom were not impressed with the city’s feeble effort at discouraging the use of illegal fireworks.

The series of social media videos featured cartoon characters with no hands, which is very misleading in a fireworks safety tutorial. Spend the extra $50K on a consultant who can draw hands, pleeeease.

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