By Joseph Serna, Staff Writer
The Long Beach Special Municipal Election is only five days away, and many candidates with a stake in the race are making their final push to get residents to go out and vote.
There are approximately 210,000 to 220,000 registered voters in Long Beach, with an average voter turnout of around 25 percent, City Clerk Larry Herrera said.
Meaning about 60,000 people on average are going to decide the fate of seven possible changes to the city’s constitution, and one proposition taxing the oil industries for the police and fire departments’ benefit.
This special election costs approximately $850,000, Herrera said. Council approved including the City Charter amendments to the ballot late last year.
The propositions would grant the mayor more veto power, extend term limits for Council members, create a commission to set Council salaries and redistrict the city every 10 years. Stipulations to protect park space and set residency requirements for municipal candidates are also among the eight propositions.
Residents of Long Beach’s 6th District carry even more weight for one portion of the election. In the 2004 election Laura Richardson won the seat with 1,257 votes, her closest challenger had only half that. In that election, 13,001 people were registered to vote, with only 16 percent going to the polls.
The 6th District candidates in alphabetical order are: Ed Acevedo, Dee Andrews, Al Austin, Lee Davis, Lillian Parker and Ahmed Carl Saafir.
Acevedo is a teacher in Long Beach, Andrews is a 60-year-resident of the District, and is running for the third time. Austin is ahead with funding for this election, having collected numerous endorsements and about $50,000 for his campaign.
Davis is a new resident to the District. Following bankruptcy and eviction from her home, she is running on a platform of curbing predatory lending, something she says she fell victim to.
Parker, born and raised in the 6th District, is also a longtime community activist and a civilian employee of the Police Department.
Saafir, a business and property owner in Long Beach, has also garnered endorsements from Long Beach notables and is second to Austin in campaign finance with nearly $40,000.
However, on Tuesday, May 1, the money and endorsements won’t count, only the ballots residents mark at the polls.
During each forum the 6th District candidates attended, they always concluded with “And I ask for your vote on May 1,” this year that vote might make the difference.