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Council Meeting Reeked of Dirty Politics

Appeared designed to promote the Republican Coalition.

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.”

larry benowitz November 05, 2011 at 12:20 PM
RIDICULOUS. I WAS SITTING IN THE FOURTH ROW AND MR. MANDEL WAS AT LEAST TWO ROWS BEHIND ME. MR HOFFMAN SHOUTED OUT SEVERAL TIMES FROM THE REAR OF THE ROOM AND WASN'T ADMONISHED BY THE CHAIRPERSON. SINCE WE ARE ON THE SUBJECT OF POLITICS AND THE CITY'S FINANCES WHAT ABOUT THE REPUBLICAN PR PIECE PUT OUT UNDER THE GUISE IT WAS THE CITY UPDATE, PICS OF MONA AND TOM JR. NOT ONE OF DR. TORRES WHO WAS PHOTO CHOPPED OUT OF THE PIC OF THE PARKING LOT RECONSTRUCTION. ITS OUR MONEY AND SHOULD BE USED FOR POLITICAL GAIN.
larry benowitz November 05, 2011 at 12:21 PM
CORRECT MY STATEMENT TO SHOULDN'T BE USED FOR POLITICAL GAIN
Candygram for Mongo November 05, 2011 at 01:31 PM
Is this guy Hoffman like an enforcer or something?
Pam Pruyn November 05, 2011 at 02:14 PM
I am reading all the comments here about our city council members. I am not at all concerned with the residents who shouted out comments, or whether they were convicted of crimes. etc. And the council routinely sets up scenarios to get supporters to comment positively about their agenda. This is no surprise. Has happened for years(dems or reps). What concerns me is the underlying thread of poor demeanor on the part of our elected officials, because it is ultimately the residents they need to SERVE(serve being the operative word). This thread of comments going back and forth speaks volumes. VERY interesting. Between these comments and the horrible, horrible campaign literature put out(on BOTH sides I might add) I agree with Publius. BTW....I am not happy with the democratic choices either. I think Long Beach can do much, much better. So sad. Very disappointing.
JohnA November 05, 2011 at 06:23 PM
Who stole from the people of Long Beach? Fagen is alleged to have collected unemployment improperly, which does not come from LB, so I trust that is not what you're talking about. I am interested because I have been watching the City Counsel and the candidates all year with an open mind and have been basing my views on what I see rather than what people allege. Please advise.
concerned November 05, 2011 at 08:57 PM
What relevance does cokemans arrest being only 14 years old not 20 have to do with anything. Obviously there was a disposition in that case, what was it? Now how do we not know if he was high while protecting NYC residents or while sitting on the zoning board? SO WHY DOESN'T COKEMAN CLARIFY THIS MATTER AND TELL US WHAT THE FINAL DISPOSITION OF HIS ARREST WAS? As for Councilman Fagen he is innocent until proven guilty! Remember Dominique Strauss and the rush to judge him well we all know how that turned out don't we.Also how do you think Mr. Hoffman found out about an alleged domestic violence call at Fagens house it had to be somebody who is privy to such info, that by the way is supposed to be confidential by law to protect any victims. Why wasnt he arrested for domestic violence, perhaps there was none! Hey Josh or LB Shawn or who ever get your facts straight.
tommyt November 05, 2011 at 09:57 PM
Apollo people who play in the dirt get dirty. I hope the people we change with use plenty of ivory soap to clean up the dirt. The train is about to arrive and before it does it must change tracks because people are waiting for it to arrive.Just left a west end establishment and the rumors are flying. So pardon me for my interpation of things.
barry greene November 06, 2011 at 01:09 AM
Can we all please stop. It is enough. I have been a critic, but what I am seeing now is just destructive and plain old venom. We all live in this City. We all want a better City. The voters will vote. In the mean time, are we determined to tear down every person that puts their name on here? Isn't this what Jimmy was calling for? "What's your name?" And now people are putting their names to their posts and the common courtesy of agreeing to disagree disintegrates into threats, lies, exaggerations and character destruction? What have we become? This is just disappointing and quite frankly it is useless. If it makes you feel better to dredge up the misery from people's lives in an effort to stifle their opinions, then you are exactly what is wrong with this City. Enough with the vicious attacks. And, BTW, I was busted when I was 16 for possession of a marijuana joint in Howard Beach where I was born. Look it up.
tommyt November 06, 2011 at 01:12 AM
Wait a second La Fong isn't that a firehouse term.
LI Resistance November 06, 2011 at 01:15 AM
Why ........? CHARACTER COUNTS.
barry greene November 06, 2011 at 01:31 AM
Yes character does count. We are all characters. I would bet that if we were all forced to fess up, we would all have some embarrassing things to admit. BUT...we are all in agreement that we want a better City. All that I am reading is destruction here. Not one suggestion for making things better. Every comment has gone negative or defensive. Have we gone that far south that we are spending time defending ourselves or being too scared to use our real names (LI Resistance)? LI Resistance, you are probably a decent person, but you chose not to use your real name. Probably because you didn't want to deal with attacks here. Reasonable. Let's just call it a tie...ok? Let's start tlking about how we can vote and when we vote we tell the candidates to d better. Stop the FOILs, stop the personal destruction stuff. Stop the retaliation and mean spirited behavior. Let's get Quiksilver and concerts and boardalk repairs. Maybe a new roof on the Rec? Let's start being civil again. Stop the lies and the exaggerations and the all the things that do nothing for the city. Please....Karl, Barry, you're smart people. Make positive suggestions. Make apositive difference. Please.
tommyt November 06, 2011 at 01:45 AM
Just curious is Karl a real name or someones screen name. Did not like his personal attack on Apollo. If it is your real name i apolgize. But everyone has a right to comment.
Stuart Banschick November 06, 2011 at 02:49 AM
Bingo Josh, I knew you would awnser
Candygram for Mongo November 06, 2011 at 04:52 AM
Holy macadilly!
LBLover November 06, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Don't vote party lines! Look at each candidate. Look at facts! I am only voting for 2 this year.. Mandel and Weiss the rest are terrible. When you do vote ask yourself should one family have so much power?
Marc Brandt November 06, 2011 at 01:31 PM
To all of you concerned enough about your city to post here , I thank you. As print newspapers becomes more antiquated and expensive to produce, The Patch and other online journalistic on scene reporting are becoming the number one news source for people wanting to know about what is happening in their community. This is not a chat room to insult others and make our citizens look look like a disrepectful lot as a whole. Please treat your appearance here as a guest on a talk show. You would never hear the things some have written here on a network broadcast. We want to govern ourselves is the whole theme of Election Day. Can we please do it here?
Karen Fife Sahn November 06, 2011 at 01:52 PM
It's amazing how some low lifes on here seemed to change the topic of the election on Tuesday! They really must be desperate as they aren't throwing mud anymore, now it's venom, nasty, cruel, hurtful venom. They and their families must be so proud of them. After this election, they still have to live with themselves while the rest of of go back to our better lives. Pretty pathetic. They may even have to go back to their real identities. I wonder if they remember who they are????
tommyt November 06, 2011 at 03:09 PM
Last night someone mentioned who Karl Lafong really was. They mentioned that he maybe a sitting council person. Today on my board i do not see any of his messages from last night. Can someone delete their own posts. I find this very curious or am i wrong.
Jay Gusler November 06, 2011 at 03:17 PM
3rdgeneration, I understand where you're coming from and certainly wouldn't presume to tell you, or anyone, how they should vote, but the approach you advocate is naive and simplistic. Lets say you go and vote for just those two candidates next Tuesday. Let's say they both win. Without either of their running mates also winning, it either restores the status quo to the Council, or saddles one of them with being a voiceless minority eunuch for the next two years. If you're not happy with the way the City is being run (and I gather you are not), then the leadership of the City must change. Voting as you propose will not bring about that change. Rather, you would be leaving it to others to decide the composition of the Council that will run things for the next two years. I urge you to consider voting a line. Vote whatever line you like, but realize that splitting your vote, or not voting for three Council spots, effectively nullifies your vote altogether.
tommyt November 06, 2011 at 03:32 PM
Now if LaFong was defending the alleged arrest of a zoning board member i beleive the stars are starting to align.
Jay Gusler November 06, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Deleted as well are some postings made under the name Barry Fader. I didn't see them personally, but I'm told they were quite unsavory. I don't want to hijack this thread, but does anyone one know who this "Fader" character REALLY is; and what his postings last night consisted of? Supposedly posted around 12:45?
tommyt November 06, 2011 at 04:00 PM
Jay can you delete your own post or does patch have to do it.
Nothing surprises me anymore November 06, 2011 at 04:10 PM
Alot of posts were deleted. There were some cruel, vicious comments being made against a relative of someone who was posting. Nothing constructive just plain meanness and evidence of the bullying mentality of the republican coalition. My vote was undecided, but those comments just decided who will be getting my vote. Tommy/Jimmy - get your puppets in line, they are making the republican coalition look like fools.
Nothing surprises me anymore November 06, 2011 at 04:17 PM
Jay - i was up late and read the comments. I've never been so disgusted. I'm not sure who deleted them, but i hope that it was someone with the patch who was monitoring the conversation. I hope they block the IP addresses of these individuals. I'd love to know who they actually are, i have my suspicions based on comments that were made as well as the writing style matching that of the alleged posters. Obviously the people posting this garbage are "in the know" with the republican coalition and the coalition should be completely embarrassed that their supporters are acting in this way. Your puppets just lost you votes Tommy.
Jay Gusler November 06, 2011 at 04:20 PM
No idea. Might be a question best posed to Joe K.. Listen, when one places them self into these contentious discussions under their own name, they can expect people to come back at them, and come back at them hard. I've posted under my name and am prepared to take my lumps for having done so. As these 'Darth Fader' posts have been described to me, they also attack my family and ascribe to me a drug problem. I would first submit that attacking the family of persons you disagree with is outside the bounds or propriety. It doesn't help the cause of those who proffer these mean-spirited comments in garnering support for their side, it just makes them look petty. Maybe they need to realize that. As for the drug allegations, my guess is that when somebody is pummeling you with verbal 'body blows', you have to try and slow them down somehow. Accordingly, I'll view these slurs on my character as a badge of honor. As an aside, whoever in the GOP camp continues to think bringing up peoples alleged drug problems is a good idea needs to get themselves into a different business. As pointed out elsewhere, people in glass houses . . .
Trying to Make Sense November 06, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Well said and thank you Mr. Brandt. This kind of discourse puts the chill on what could be valuable discussion. People who want to be members of committees or who want to participate in positive community building need to resist the temptation to name call or to "dredge up the misery of people's private lives" (as Mr.Greene posted) even if they are very personally engaged in the campaign or its issues. Two wrongs don't make a right. We get the gov't we deserve. Hopefully these disrespectful/ repulsive posts are not discouraging good people with knowledgable/thoughtful opinions from posting. My sense tells me it would. If I'm right, that means the majority are being silenced and the potential value of a community online forum like Patch is compromised.
tommyt November 06, 2011 at 04:35 PM
3rdGeneration i ask that you reconsider. Lets just say two dems get in the Fagen situation has not been resolved. I really admit to not being familiar with the city charter but you must be aware that the corp council is. Just say the dems get two could you say without a doubt the coalition will not try to upcome up with something before the end of the year to force out fagen and appoint someone to their liking. Also say Fagen has to resign next year where does't it leave the city at a standstill. Also if the coalition is able to do something before the end of the year that leaves us with Mr Theofan. Just saying anything is possible in LB politics. If you want change play it safe vote the line.
tommyt November 06, 2011 at 05:18 PM
Well Apollo one can very easily make those checks this evening if they attend the chamber dinner . You can watch as each one wanders to the tables of the above as receives the almighty blessing from above. Your calculations are correct thats why i asked Mr LaLungs to leave you alone.
LBLover November 06, 2011 at 06:03 PM
Nope will not vote either line.. will vote for the best people. That's what is wrong with LB everyone votes lines instead of who is the best person for the job.
SeanyA November 06, 2011 at 06:40 PM
This whole election is embarrassing. Why not go to a mayoral system and be done with the City Council?

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