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Long Beach Candidates’ Forum Features Five City Council Candidates

February 18, 2010

Media Contact:
Nick Sifuentes (310) 866-1692

Long Beach Candidates’ Forum Features Five City Council Candidates

Incumbents and Challengers Answer Community Questions on Good Jobs, Development, Governmental Accountability

LONG BEACH – In anticipation of the Long Beach City Council elections on April 13, the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community sponsored a candidates’ forum on February 18th. That forum brought community and candidates together so that constituents could hear from each hopeful where he or she stood on a series of issues. The candidates also submitted written responses to questions posed by community groups in Long Beach and their responses were made available to residents at the forum. The forum sponsors also asked the candidates to sign a community pledge indicating their support for a set of policy initiatives aimed at creating good jobs for working families in Long Beach and creating healthy communities.

Of the candidates in attendance, those who signed the pledge were Tonia Reyes Uranga, Tom Marchese and Steve Neal. Reyes Uranga, after signing the pledge, stated, “I don’t think there’s anyone who can disagree with the points in the pledge. It’s a real common-sense, realistic approach to making this a better community.” Tom Marchese said after signing, “I believe signing the pledge is the right thing to do. I believe in equity and fairness for all, and I believe that Long Beach should be a community where everyone has opportunity and a living wage and the ability to try and grow and prosper.”

The Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community also released results from a community survey of over three hundred Long Beach residents, conducted from December 2009 through February of this year. According to those survey results, 92% of residents considered “Access to affordable, quality health care” very important to them; 87% reported “Access to living wage jobs” very important and 82% considered “Better air quality” very important. “Very important” was the highest importance ranking in that survey. Sixty percent of residents described their financial situation as either “Struggling to make ends meet” or “Facing serious financial difficulties,” underscoring the challenges posed to Long Beach families by the lack of quality jobs in the city.

The forum was co-sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement, Housing Long Beach, the Women’s Democratic Study Club, the Immigrant Rights Coalition, the Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization and Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. All candidates running for City Council offices were invited to attend; those that attended the forum were: Jana Shields, Dist. 1; Tom Marchese, Dist. 3; James Johnson and Tonia Reyes Uranga, Dist. 7; and Steve Neal, Dist. 9.

The Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community is a community organization which advocates for a fair and sustainable economy that works for every Long Beach family. For more information, contact Nick Sifuentes at (310) 866-1692.