My coverage of the 2017 Long Beach City Council election continues. I just want to say that I feel really lucky to be able to bring you these Meet the Candidate posts. The feedback has been through the roof! Here we have Christopher Jones, Republican Candidate for City Council. Enjoy!
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a life long citizen who loves Long Beach. It has been a busy year of closing on our house in the canals last August, married in December, and now campaigning. I started working for the city as a 14 year old in 1996 cleaning the beaches, then lifeguarded here from 1998-2013. I try to volunteer as often as I can with many of the wonderful charities and non-profit organizations around. I feel that organizations such as the Waterfront Warriors and Surf For All really show what our community is about and that God really does work through people. I’m a local 28 sheet metal worker now, who comes home after a tough day of climbing ladders and swinging hammers to go directly to our beautiful boardwalk for a bike ride and a run. I’ll be on that boardwalk everyday… unless there’s waves; then I’m in the ocean! Did I mention I love Long Beach!?
Why are you running for city council?
I’m a concerned citizen who wants a better quality of life. Yes, we face some challenges moving forward, but I’m up for the task. I can’t do it alone, but with the right people in office, if we work together and put the people first as opposed to our own personal agendas we will chip away at the issues facing the city and make Long Beach (once again) the best place to live. I relate to our citizens and will hear them out, but won’t be a doormat by outside influence such as (insert party here) county leaders.
All candidates like to present glowing visions of the communities they are running in to have some impact, what is your realistic vision for what you would like to see LB become over the next 5 to 10 years?
There seems to be certain areas of the city which are neglected. The city will be beautiful under my leadership. Also, I’m for smart development…. that’s smart development, not to be confused with overdevelopment! The empty lots and vacant store fronts are an eyesore. Long Beach should be thriving. Also, from speaking to our residents for the past few months, they make it abundantly clear how corrupt our current administration is (iStar speaks volumes). I feel it’s imperative to revamp and actually use an ethics committee. This would be a step forward to more (and better) transparency; Something which has plagued us for years now. That would be something I’d look into my first few days in office.
What would you say are the most important challenges that our city must address that are presently being ignored?
Holding the line on taxes, stopping overdevelopment, and putting an end to politics as usual. Along with that, we have to address the lawsuits against us, the loopholes which our zoning board seems to find so often, and the infrastructure concerns.
What are the specific criteria that you will apply in the search for our next City Manager?
As a council we will do our due diligence. Read resumes, do interviews and really vet a potential City Manager. He or she can be from near or far, but Long Beach and its’ citizens must be their top priority.
Our zoning laws were legislated with specific intentions with respect to overcrowding, maintaining neighborhood character, and ensuring quality of life. Yet, we have seen increasing petitions for variances, iStars being just one, that seem to negate the very purpose of the laws and are driven by big money investors with deep pockets and therefore outsized influence.
As I said before, our zoning board has to stop allowing these loopholes for overdevelopment! My running mates and I are not afraid of how big the pockets of these developers are. If you want proof, our three names are on a lawsuit against iStar. I’m a union construction worker who isn’t being supported by my own union nor the Long Island Fed because the first thing I told them is “I’m against the proposed super block project”. My ethics and morals outweigh my greed.
If elected, would you serve your full term?
Absolutely! I’m a “tin knocker,” not a politician. Besides, Albany is brutal in the winter. My running is for Long Beach, not Chris Jones.
Any additional comments you might like to add.
Thanks for reaching out Anthony!