UPDATE Thursday, July 7, 5:29pm | The official map of the redistricting plan approved this week by the City Council is now available. Click here to view it from the city’s website.
UPDATE Wednesday, July 6, 5:15pm | Mike Kowal has released the following statement regarding last night’s action by the City Council approving 7-2 an augmented redistricting plan that would effectively bar Kowal from continuing to run for office in the Eighth District by moving his neighborhood into the Seventh.
Following the Long Beach City Council majority’s appalling conduct on Tuesday, July 5, I have been contacted by many 8th District residents expressing disappointment and outrage at being denied the opportunity to vote for me as their next 8th district Council representative.
I intend to take all necessary steps to ensure that the current Council majority doesn’t deprive 8th district residents of the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice. I plan to take all necessary steps to ensure that I am a legally qualified 8th Council district candidate. I have been an 8th district resident for years and will not let a Council majority exclude me by drawing their district line less than half a block from my current residence.
We cannot let our neighborhoods and businesses be subject to political shenanigans. We must have a principled and unified council if we care about the future of our city.
UPDATE Wednesday, July 6, 11:45am | The Long Beach City Council Tuesday night voted 7-2 to accept an augmented version of Councilman James Johnson’s proposed redistricting plan that keeps Bixby Knolls and its prosperous business corridor in the Eighth District but moves an already declared Eighth District candidate out of the district.
Mike Kowal, a well-known Long Beach real estate broker and community activist, resides in the Los Cerritos neighborhood. He announced that he would be running for office in the Eighth District back in late April after filing all of the appropriate documentation.
His campaign could come to an abrupt stop, however, should the Council approve on July 19 and Aug. 2 the plan selected by the Council Tuesday night. The substitute motion made by Johnson shifts the lines of his original plan so as to move into the Seventh District only the areas south of Bixby Road and west of Atlantic Avenue. Those areas include the Los Cerritos neighborhood, which is widely known to be where Kowal resides.
The Council voted 7-2 to approve the new plan despite it moving more than 1,000 residents over and above the number needed to bring the Seventh District into compliance with the city attorney’s 5 percent recommendation.
A similar plan offered up by Councilwoman Rae Gabelich, who represents the Eighth District, would have moved just more than 100 people over and above the number needed, but it fell to Johnson’s new plan after only Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske backed it.
More to come…
Tuesday, July 5, 8:45pm | The Long Beach City Council Tuesday night voted 7-2 to accept an augmented version of Councilman James Johnson’s proposed redistricting plan that keeps Bixby Knolls and its prosperous business corridor in the Eighth District.
The substitute motion offered by Johnson is similar to his original proposal, though instead of taking half of Atlantic, it includes everything west of Atlantic and everything south of Bixby Road.
The approved plan moves 2,422 Eighth District residents into the Seventh, or just more than 1,000 more people than the 1,413 people needed to equalize the two districts’ populations.
Eighth District Councilwoman Rae Gabelich had also introduced a substitute motion nearly identical to Johnson’s, though it preserved a specific neighborhood of about 900 people whom she said consider themselves a part of a larger Eighth District neighborhood. Those 900 people appear to be on their way to becoming part of the Seventh District, assuming the Council approves the redistricting ordinance that staff is crafting and will bring back to the Council for final approval.