March 5, 2007

March 6, 2007 city council election: 4 more years of "stay the course"

Incumbents Mayor Larry Van Nostran, Councilman Joseph Esquivel beat challengers Marty Schuster and John R. Nelson Jr. Schuster is a real estate agent in Lakewood who ran unsuccessfully in 2004. Nelson is a Long Beach Unified School District electrician.

A number of articles appeared in the local news papers about the incumbents. Quite frankly all 4 were really not that much different on paper. None have any vision and its just more of the same drivel: We love the Sheriffs, we like sports teams and their fireworks money. God forbid someone says anything bad about fireworks (you could be branded a heretic). Don't look for any fresh ideas with these candidates. The Press Telegram endorsed the incumbents. Quite frankly after three terms on the council its really time for a change. Just like in Washington. The problem is why vote in "fresh faces" when they don't have any fresh ideas? LAAG did not endorse any of the candidates.

Why the lack of good candidates? Well many reasons but surely the most likely reason (and as is typical of the city) is that there was no announcement about the deadline to apply as a candidate on the city website or in their email newsletter (I assume to discourage people from running). This is typical of the city failing to implement its own "e government" initiative. We announced it here on the LAAG website at least a month before the filing deadline.

The Press Telegram article appearing on 3/6/07 entitled "Few surprises, 1 upset in elections" noted as follows:

"In Lakewood, Mayor Larry Van Nostran and Councilman Joe Esquivel breezed past real estate business owner Marty Schuster and electrical manager John R. Nelson Jr. for another four years in office.

Van Nostran, who will commence his ninth term, [that is 36 years by LAAG's count] garnered the most votes with 3,169 while Esquivel earned the second spot with 3,102 votes. Schuster received 1,890 votes and Nelson lagged with 912.

"I didn't care as long as I got one vote more than the third place person," said Van Nostran. "I think it's a real stamp of approval ... (Residents) know we're really working for the good of this city."

What really scares LAAG is that Van Nostran has been in so long he thinks that 3,000 votes out of 42,000 registered voters in the city (and 80,000 residents) is a "mandate". He is as delusional as some other politicians we know in Washington. I would not call it a mandate but rather utter disgust and a failure by most residents to even care. I suspect that 70% of the people that voted for this dynamic duo were the same ones that have been voting the pair in for the last 20 years.

The only good thing about this election is that Esquivel said he would step down after this 4 year term. He was mayor when the Dunrobin explosion occurred. That is sort of like having the distinction of being the Captain of the Titanic. Lets just hope he is not grooming a successor. As for Van Nostran who knows. He is already the longest reining city councilman in the state and quite franking that is the only distinguishing factor of his reign. It only took him 20 years to fix the motorhome parking mess and that was only after two councilmen forced it onto the backs of the voters. Now lets see if he can handle the results of the election. Had the problem been fixed earlier by real leadership we would not have “grandfathered” in all these eyesores now looking for a parking spot from Southern CA Edison.