Tag Archives: election fever

Thank You For Not Telling Me to Vote For You (@tangney)

Just yesterday I was griping about how irritating politicians harassing me at the Long Beach train station were.  My commute is hellish enough, I don’t need someone handing me a piece of paper I don’t care about.

This being election day, I have to note something amazing happened though.  Walking towards the LB LIRR station today, I noticed a few people handing out stuff so I  got ready a  snarky zing that I was going to hit them with to voice my disapproval of their antics.

Instead as I approached, this polite dude tried to hand me a bagel and said, “please remember to vote.”  I noticed a Darlene Tangney sign behind him.  I don’t think he even had a campaign pin on him.

Wow is all I can say.  The first person involved with this election that I’ve come into contact with that didn’t tell me what to think or who to vote for.  Very classy.

Note: To be clear, this is in no way an endorsement, just an observation.  Like I said yesterday, you can make up your own mind.

Election 2011 (LB Politics: Business As Usual)

With the 2011 Long Beach election upon us, we cap off what appears to have been a particularly venomous season, but the more I’ve read about it, the more it turns out this is par for the course in Long Beach.

When thinking about what sort of shenanigans have gone on during this cycle, the way the debates were handled, the City Council meetings,  the behind the scenes games these politicos have been playing, the horrendous signs and fliers across town; I couldn’t help but think of this 2003 New York Times article, “New Year in Long Beach Is Truly Special”

I’ll give you the lead paragraph:

 

THEY use words like ”liberation” to describe the fall of a government dominated by one man who governed through intimidation and fear, doling out patronage jobs and contracts for insiders and retaliating against anyone who dared to challenge the system.

The article goes on to highlight the tyranny of a former Long Beach regime who was vilified – rightly so – for all sorts of obvious violations, and how an up-and-coming group of politicians were going to come in and clean up the City.  It goes on to highlight lawsuits facing the City, financial challenges, development issues, and how the new team promised to “open up” City workings.

My point?  It’s 7 years later, the City has swapped the majority party a few times, yet LB still faces all the same challenges – and then some – and it’s election time yet again.  You can read all over the interwebs about “who” you’re supposed to vote for.  You’ve gotten ads stuck to your windshield, politicians standing at the train station (I particularly enjoy this at 6:30AM), and signs across town trying to convince you who is better for Long Beach.

The last thing I’m going to tell you is who to vote for, instead all I say is to make up your own mind and vote.  Long Beach is decided by single votes.  In the 2009 election a candidate lost by 12 votes – clearly, you can actually make a difference and have your vote count in a way it never will in state-wide or national election.

So while I won’t tell you who to vote for – beside’s Anthony’s Transparency Party of course – why not chime in below and discuss your impressions of Election 2011, who you’re voting for, and what you think about the candidates.  I for one am thrilled Election Fever may soon break.

 

 

 

 

 

 

or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the LB City Beat

(Image courtesy City of Long Beach)

At the beginning of every month, I’m like a little kid on Christmas anticipating the arrival of the LB City Beat. While anxiously waiting since the last edition I wondered if anyone at City Hall read SBC’s series of reactions to the October issue.

Update: Anthony pointed out that LB City Beat prints on an irregular schedule and doesn’t traditionally come out monthly.

In October, I took umbrage with the fact that something was written, printed, and mailed at tax payer expense, amounted to little more than a taxpayer-funded campaign newsletter. I talked about some of the articles while Anthony crunched the numbers.

I hoped, this issue would at least make an attempt and pretend to include all members of the City Council, or just ignore the urge to identify particular council members and take the high road, using the pronoun “the City did ….”.  Again, this newsletter is supposed to list accomplishments of the City as a whole, not particular members of it.

And then I was greeted with November’s issue.  Realistically, all I could do was shake my head and laugh.  They seemingly took my every criticism, and somehow ratcheted up the volume even more.

Instead of highlighting how the articles read like advertisements for how much Mr. Sofield Junior and Ms. Goodman have singularly done for the residents of Long Beach, I’m going to instead focus on another tactic on display here: construction.

The tried and true technique incumbent politicians have used through eons to drum up support before an election is get the the trucks and the work crews out, and have them build or fix something. Whether the official has been in power a year, two years, four years, or a decade, right before the election, they get the workmen to come out and start making all sorts of superficial (and sometimes substantial) improvements across the tow: Filling potholes, curb repair, light posts, planting trees, etc.  These are the sorts of projects that every resident of any municipality will see and acknowledge, so when a voter goes to the booth they say, “wow, they’re really doing so much for us!”

In our case, they’ve done an exemplary job picking the perfect projects to maximize visibility: the boardwalk and parking lots. The boardwalk is self explanatory. Often called the “jewel” of Long Beach, besides those little violent crimes that we’ve all forgotten about, the crews have been out full force over the last two weeks ripping it up and putting it back together. They appear to be doing a bang-up job too. Curious that they’ve decided to begin the overhaul of the boardwalk nearly dead center – at Riverside Ave, as opposed to, say, one end and working towards the other. But then, that wouldn’t get quite the same visibility.

And then there are the parking lots. Park Ave is literally the main drag of Long Beach. Conservatively guessing, I’d say two thirds of all vehicle traffic leaving Long Beach exit via Long Beach Road or the Loop. Every person driving in and out through that route see the construction.  The parking lots east of Long Beach road have been decrepit for a decade. I’m thrilled they are finally getting the overhaul they need. Shockingly, (with cameras ready) the crews showed up and started working weeks before the election, and there’s a big sign. Don’t worry, the symbolic beginning of the project was captured for future generations by a City photographer, and immortalized in the November issue of LB City Beat.

Great: Two new infrastructure improvement projects in the middle of town just started. These are all welcome additions to the City and have sorely been needed.

Picking mid-October to start though? Were these planned to begin earlier but bumped because of Irene or perhaps the Quiksilver Pro? Interesting timing with the winter bearing down on us – especially in light of this year’s early snow. Have major boardwalk rebuild projects traditionally started this close to the winter – or more often during early spring, before the peak summer months?

If all this wasn’t so glaringly a campaign gimmick – without a doubt one that will still benefit the city – I would really have to laugh. The implicit story presented in this “campaign” flier is that the current majority is solely responsible for these projects (and a laundry list more that’s included in the City Beat), and that without the current majority, this frantic construction would somehow not happen.  It’s blatant in the choice of “quotes” and photos used to convey these stories.

This month’s LB City Beat has done a great job of highlighting how much this City has been able to do in just a few weeks.  Now why doesn’t the City operate at this pace of improvement for the other 22 or so months when the City is not afflicted with election fever?

Rant: Outbreak Long Beach (Election Fever in Full Swing)

If politics in Long Beach weren’t divisive enough with the “us” against “them” dynamic that has been emblematic of much of its recent history, every two years, an especially virulent plague comes and wreaks havoc.

That’s right, election fever. If residents didn’t already have enough to argue about, the odd-year election cycle adds politically-charged rhetoric, obnoxious signs, irritating “endorsements,” and enough misinformation to put Washington, D.C. to shame. Last night’s City Council Good and Welfare session put this on display for all to see, and really highlighted how bad its gotten (though looking over news clippings for the last few decades, it might have always been this bad). Politicians screaming at one another. Residents screaming at politicians. Politicians arguing with residents. Accusations, threats, hyperbole, rumors, lies, and innuendo all over. And to top it off, nothing got done and I doubt anyone’s opinions were changed.

As one resident explained they left the meeting early, “because the tension became exhausting and honestly the state of the Long Beach government became too upsetting.”

I couldn’t agree more. It seems everything has become so divisive, so polarized, so hostile, that little gets done and more are left sickened by the atmosphere that hangs over Long Beach. Gone are the care-free days of summer. The splits in the City Council are echoed through the City, dividing residents even more. thus limiting the possibility of compromise and agreement that much more.  And I’m left not knowing what the “answer” to all this would even look like.

I for one am looking forward to the signs coming down and the election rancor to ratchet down. We’ll have more of a play-by-play on the City Council meeting later, but for now I’m going to go hide in my bunker until the outbreak passes.