Republican-endorsed candidates running for three open seats on the Long Beach
City Council, all newcomers, highlighted their work experience and proclaimed a
lack of ties to past administrations in their opening statements at the
Candidates Forum, held at the Long Beach Library on Oct. 17.
Long Beach Patch on Facebook.
Candidates Damian Walsh, Janna Jachniewicz and Michael Franceschini, who have promoted themselves as “clean slate” independents, addressed a crowd of residents that filled the second-floor auditorium at the library, which co-sponsored the forum with the Long Beach League of Women Voters. Walsh, a fifth-grade schoolteacher in Far Rockaway and owner of Ribeye Cheesestakes in Island Park, told them he was seeking a seat on the council, in which Democrats hold a 4-1 majority, because he is unhappy with the direction the city is going.
time to time I’m asked why are you running for city council, why do you want to
run for such a corrupt city,” Walsh said. “That’s the opinion out there right
now. I’m not saying it’s corrupt, but that opinion needs to change.”
who said he is a registered Independence Party member, continued, saying that
he and his running mates have no connection to past administrations.
administrations, both Republican and Democratic parties, have had issues in
this town,” he added. “Everybody in here knows it. It’s time for a change. We
need to go in a different direction.”
A 12-year resident of Long Beach, Walsh and his wife have a one-year-old daughter and are expecting another child. They were displaced from their Pennsylvania Avenue home, which was heavily damaged during Hurricane Sandy, but remain in Long Beach on West Broadway.
For the past five years, Walsh noted, he has served as a treasurer for the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and once held the same position with the West End Neighbors Civic Association, and has served as a secretary for Long Beach’s youth football league.
of Walsh’s running mates, Michael Franceschini, during the two minutes allotted
to each candidate for opening statements, told residents that he has “no
political party affiliation. I’m considered a blank. But I always liked that
term. I’m fine with it since I’ve always voted for the person, not the party.”
Franceschini, who said he holds a bachelors degree in accounting from Fordham and is a nationally certified anti-money laundering specialist, also noted that he is not affiliated with the city as a previous employee, nor has be performed any contract work with the city.
he works as a forensic accountant for a private firm, which he left unnamed,
after he retired last year serving as a special agent for 25 years with the
U.S. Department of Treasury, where he investigated public corruption and
financial fraud, and other crimes.
Franceschini has lived in Long Beach since 1991 and, with his wife, raised two daughters, now college-aged students.
Jachniewicz, an attorney with a master’s degree in finance, said she runs a
contract department for a major financial institution, performing budgeting,
auditing and compliance functions for the North America region of the firm,
which she left unnamed. She said she performed similar work as an assistant
comptroller for a heavy equipment dealership, also left unnamed.
Jachniewicz decided to run for City Council because she was tired of the politics in Long Beach, she said.
was tired of seeing my taxes going up and not knowing where the money was
going,” she continued. “Last year my taxes went up 16 percent and my water and
sewer bill went up an additional 25 percent. On top of that, I watched the city
borrow close to $25 million prior to Sandy hitting us.”
Walsh, Franceschini and Jachniewicz will face three Democratic candidates, Scott Mandel, the council president, fellow incumbent Eileen Goggin, and newcomer Anthony Eramo, in the at-large election Nov. 5.