I have attended, spoken and written about the continued need to improve traffic safety in Long Beach. I have stayed out of the political arena with this agenda, as I feel very strongly that it should not be a platform for either party, but instead bring together everyone to save lives.
Traffic safety is improving, but it has a long way to go because many residents still choose not to take personal responsibility for their actions, whether motorists, pedestrians and/or bicyclists.
Therefore, not as an advocate for traffic safety, but as a concerned resident of Long Beach, I'm writing about the City Council meeting on Nov. 1.
Nov. 8 is Election Day, and that was the agenda last Tuesday night for the council meeting, or at least for Council President Thomas Sofield Jr., Vice President Mona Goodman, Councilman John McLaughlin and City Manager Charles Theofan. Many city residents that attended this meeting will agree with this statement, and others will pat themselves on the back for what they felt was a job well done.
That job was to support the Sofield, Goodman, and Marvin Weiss Republican-Coalition team of candidates toward an election victory on Nov. 8. It was definitely well planned, since the majority of the residents who spoke at the Good and Welfare session spoke about the problems they had with the Republican Coalition majority and the recently disclosed issues and other ongoing problems they have with them.
City attorney Corey Klein was strategically placed that evening as counsel to answer questions that would not put Theofan, Sofield or Goodman in compromised positions. Theofan even jumped in and answered a question directed at Mrs. Goodman to protect her from further scrutiny. Obviously her unacceptable behavior at the end of the League of Women Voter’s debate at the Long Beach Library gave her enough bad press.
In between these concerns, a resident or two would pose questions that would attempt to highlight the ideas that the Republican Councilman McLaughlin had for the city regarding the boardwalk’s repair, whereas the plans of Democratic Councilman Len Torres were questioned since they were not yet solidified. Those questions raised a red flag for me.
The red flags kept coming when another resident verbally attacked Democratic Councilman Michael Fagen, hoping to diffuse the scrutiny of the city manager regarding the Taylor Law. But then another resident softened this attack by thanking the council for their support of the coming holiday lights in the West End.
However, the spirits of the upcoming holidays were short-lived because of the remarks of the last resident. He also chose to attack the ethical behavior of Fagen. Fagen isn’t even up for re-election. This was clearly this resident’s way of discouraging undecided voters support of candidates for City Council who “honestly” represent the Democrat Party, specifically candidates Torres, Fran Adelson and Scott Mandel. I write “honestly” because, though Sofield is a registered Democrat, he is only a registered Democrat for political gain and has no Democratic Party convictions. Does Sofield have Republican Party convictions? I would like to know this. Wouldn’t you?
Some residents in the audience unsuccessfully tried to prevent the same speaker from personal accusations against Fagen, but Sofield, said “Let him speak,” clearly thinking his comments were appropriate. Was that his last desperate attempt to get himself and his team elected to office in November? How many residents were stacked in the council meeting to attempt to sway any undecided voters that evening?
I ask these questions because transparency was the theme of the evening.
Whether a Democrat, Republican or Independent, we all want to feel safe, secure and at peace in the city we proudly call our home. We are entitled to know the truth about our city. It is unfortunate that instead this council meeting brought truth to the words “dirty politics.”