Strength in numbers

Last month, the Long Beach City Council unanimously voted at its joint meeting on Aug. 7, as council and the Charter Amendment Committee, for Measure BBB– a charter amendment– to be on the Nov. 6 ballot. The measure would create a three-term limit for mayor and councilmember positions. The infographic shown above highlights key points of the measure, including what a “yes” or “no” vote would do, who supports or opposes it and the reasons each side has for or against the measure.

Long Beach residents will have to decide on the outcome of many measures come Nov. 6– and one of those decisions will be to determine the length of time individuals can hold a city-council seat or mayoral position, also known as Measure BBB.
As previously reported in the Signal Tribune last month, the Long Beach City Council unanimously voted at its joint meeting on Aug. 7, as council and the Charter Amendment Committee, for a proposed charter amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot that would create a three-term limit for said positions.
Although Mayor Robert Garcia, City Auditor Laura Doud and other current and former city officials all stand in support of a “yes” vote on Measure BBB, according to the city clerk’s website, some community organizations aim to sway residents to vote “no” on the measure.
The Long Beach Reform Coalition (LBRC) is a conglomerate of grassroots organizations that announced its formation via a press release late last month.
The LBRC will operate in a board-of-directors type manner, according to Ian Patton, LBRC executive director and political consultant.
“We are going to be out there for the ‘little guy,’ in a sense,” Patton said. “The average citizen who does not have an organized special-interest group representing them at city hall, that does not have a political-action committee– at least before now– representing their interests and funding issues and campaigns, such as our current campaign that we are launching to defeat the term-limits extension.”
The LBRC announced in a press release on Aug. 26 that its first objective will be to campaign against the three-term limit measure.
“Our first project will be the launch of a unity coalition-based ‘No on Measure BBB’ campaign to defeat the deceptive amendment to expand term limits recently put on the ballot by the Long Beach City Council,” the press release reads.
During a phone interview with the Signal Tribune last week, Patton said LBRC members will participate in putting up yard signs, organizing mailpieces for residents, going door-to-door and reaching out to the media as part of the campaign to downvote Measure BBB.
Between all the organizations involved with the coalition, Patton also said that the group has a “tremendous” network of individuals who have track records of working in the community and in neighborhood-advocacy groups. The LBRC also plans on combining resources for fundraising to aid in relaying its message out publicly.
Patton said he believes the campaign against Measure BBB will prove to be successful.
“It’s a great way for us to get started,” he said, “because we have absolutely universal consensus from anybody and everybody who has anything to do with the leadership of these organizations that are in our coalition, and I would say probably all or almost all the members of these organizations. They are all unified in opposition to extending term limits.”
According to the argument in favor of three-term limits on the city clerk’s website, which Garcia led in writing, Measure BBB will limit the number of terms for a mayor and a councilmember to three terms or a total of 12 years.
“It will create a strong limit of 12 years, and no more, which aligns with established term limits for the California State Legislature, the County of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles,” the website reads.
The argument also states that Long Beach is the only major city in the nation that allows officials to run for unlimited terms as write-in candidates, who then go on to appear on the general-election ballot if they garner enough votes.
The city attorney’s impartial analysis confirms the aforementioned claims, and it also shows that the Charter currently provides no limit on the number of times a candidate may run as a write-in.
Measure BBB will prohibit mayors and councilmembers who have served three full terms from running multiple and consecutive terms, according to the argument found on the city clerk’s website.
“Three terms is enough,” the argument reads. “Measure BBB is a good government measure that will give Long Beach City government stability and align with term-limit laws in the state and the county. It’s simple and eliminates the confusing write-in process.”
According to the city clerk’s impartial analysis, the proposed measure would provide that, during his or her lifetime, a person may serve no more than three terms as mayor or councilmember.
Juan Ovalle, outreach director for the People of Long Beach, led an argument against Measure BBB that states the Charter amendment does not limit, but, instead, increases term limits. It extends the current limit of two terms, equivalent to eight years, to three terms, according to the statement.
Patton said he sides with the arguments against the measure.
“The City is falsely claiming, and the mayor is falsely claiming, that this is a strengthening of term limits, and that is a really bogus, sort of disingenuous thing to say,” he said. “This is extending two terms to three terms, period.”
With the main goal to negate the passing of Measure BBB set in its sights, the LBRC is also planning on “leveling the political playing field” by helping individuals campaign for council in the next election cycle, Patton said.
“We 100 percent intend to be very involved in that,” he said.
During election season, Patton said the LBRC is hosting weekly meetings, but they will be closed off to the public because its members want to keep their strategies private.
“We make our decisions in private, but we regularly will be updating the public with press releases,” Patton said.
As of press time, the Long Beach Reform Coalition was set to host a townhall meeting about Measure BBB on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 6, at the Long Beach Petroleum Club, 3636 Linden Ave.

  1. I had long believed that Laura Doud was the most honest Long Beach City official I knew of. I can’t understand, and am most disappointed, that she would back these four Measures (AAA, BBB, CCC, and DDD) which will do much harm to Long Beach government. Especially upsetting is her supporting of Measure AAA which will rob her office of most of its power.

  2. Thank you for covering this group. The people of Long Beach needed representation. Something our city administration isn’t up to. Self interest and hiding social media commenting by the city’s leaders has forced groups to coalesce and bring their own representatives to the table. Why are we paying them, if we have to fight for our 1st Amendment Rghts to be heard, then form a group to make our wishes heard? Thank you!

  3. Disingenuous is far too kind. Garcia and company are flat out lying. This is all about Garcia keeping his annual $148,000 salary and $40,000 annual benefits for another 4 years while waiting for his next political opportunity. If successful, would not be surprised if he pulled a Patrick O’Donnell and bolted early.

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