Talks with Tim is a weekly Q&A by Tim Grobaty, who has been a columnist in Long Beach for nearly 50 years. If you’d like to suggest an interesting or influential person in Long Beach for this (unconventional) interview, reach him at [email protected]. Subscribe here.
Daryl Supernaw has represented the 4th District on the Long Beach City Council since 2015. A lifelong resident of the district, he attended Long Beach City College and received his bachelor and master’s degrees from California State University, Long Beach.
Tim Grobaty: What did you think about my solidarity with you in offering to resign from the Long Beach City College Hall of Fame in protest of the hall’s foundation dropping you with the weak excuse of 2024 being an election year, while inducting Cindy Allen who is also running for city council at the same time you are?
Daryl Supernaw: You and I are basically the same person. I’m three or four years older. I graduated from Wilson in 1970. I’m the oldest member of the City Council.
Q: I’m the oldest member of the Long Beach Post.
A: But the real brotherhood may be the fact that I was actually told I would receive the award on June 20 so we were both in the hall for about a month before they rescinded my award in late July.
Q: It’s outrageous. I don’t know how they explain it. It’s the exact same set of circumstances for both you and Cindy Allen, and you’re thrown out.
A: It’s the epitome of a double standard. It’s hard to comment on it because it’s so bizarre. Cindy and I were both inducted at same time, and typically I wouldn’t say this, but I was so stunned. I said “Is Cindy out too?” and they said “no.” It was never explained. [Post reporter] Jason Ruiz couldn’t get a straight answer about whether it was a “rule-rule.” We don’t use that language in the City Council. I can’t really make an issue of it because the last thing in the world is you never want to appear petty. You’re old enough to remember Watergate. They used the term “dirty tricks” back then. I don’t know if that’s still used.
Q: I think these days it’s called ratf—cking. But let’s talk about other things. You were born in Long Beach?
A: I was born at the Harriman Jones clinic on Broadway and grew up in the Artcraft Manor neighborhood near the Traffic Circle. I’m a lifelong 4th District resident. Since 1979 I’ve lived northeast of Cal State near Atherton and Palo Verde. My dad was a Long Beach firefighter. He worked at station 17 for 20 years. My grandfather Arthur Supernaw was the facility manager at Long Beach City College in charge of all the buildings, and my mom and dad and I all attended LBCC. So that’s three generations of involvement at the college.
Q: You haven’t had a lot of problems running for office. You won unopposed in both the 2016 and 2020 elections, and now you’re running against Herlinda Chico who opposed you in the 2015 special election.
A: She got all the endorsements in that election—Mayor Garcia, Alan Lowenthal, Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, Janice Hahn, seven of the eight councilmembers, and I won with 52% of the vote.
Q: So much for Long Beach’s all-powerful Big Machine. What are the most complaints you get from people in your district?
A: The most complaints are regarding homelessness. It occupies most of our time as well as PD and the fire department, not to mention the health department.
Q: Is it mostly people wanting the homeless off their property?
A: It’s more about public safety and mental health. Callers are fearful about the person.
Q: So you get more complaints about that than potholes and trees?
A: They’re close because I inherited so much land with the last redistricting. I gained Park Estates, El Dorado Park Estates, the Ranchos, Bixby Hill, all of El Dorado Park. We put so much of our own money into Public Works.
Q: What kind of music do you listen to?
A: I think the greatest rock performance ever was Ten Years After at Woodstock. But I think the best collaboration of all time was Count Basie playing Quincy Jones arrangements with Frank Sinatra on vocals.
Q: Do you have time to read any books?
A: Gosh, I wish I had that kind of free time. I don’t think the average person knows what it’s like to read an agenda, not to mention correspondence from residents, sending and reading emails, dealing with social media.
Q: So, I’m guessing no TV.
A: Just a little. Mostly Sunday morning news interview shows, and even then I’m probably handling emails while watching. Multi-tasking.
Q: If you’re watching news interview shows you’re probably seeing a lot of Robert Garcia. He’s all over the place these days all of a sudden. It’s weird.
A: He’s quite the media darling. I didn’t see that coming. He’s a lot more vocal now.
Q: Your Friday newsletter is fantastic. It’s way better than anyone else’s.
A: My bachelor’s degree from Cal State Long Beach is in radio/TV and my master’s is in instructional media. It all begins with the written word. I’ve always believed that. Everything I write is in a certain cadence that makes it flow and is easy to read. This Friday’s is my 438th one.
Q: Are you nervous about your upcoming election now that you have an opponent?
A: I think you have to be nervous. The only thing that can beat you is complacency. I think I’ll probably get more endorsements this time. I’m leaving in a minute to be interviewed by the police union. Even though running on endorsements isn’t my brand, if people want to interview me I’m all for it.