Annual brunch at historic dairy affords residents rare opportunity to meet candidates face-to-face

Neena Strichart/Signal Tribune<br><strong> Community activist Diana Lejins, 8th district candidate Lillian Kawasaki and event host Dan Pressburg at the candidate brunch last Saturday</strong>
Gibson, who is running for the 70th State Assembly District seat. Incumbent city councilmembers Suja Lowenthal (2nd district), Patrick O’Donnell (4th), Dee Andrews (6th), and Rae Gablich (8th) did not attend the brunch. Incumbent Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal also did not attend.
Ballantyne said it was the first candidate brunch she had ever attended and she was fascinated to meet people with expertise in various fields. “I am walking away with a wealth of knowledge that I did not have before coming here,” she noted.
“This is the most unique candidates gathering in Long Beach,” Watkins said. “I am really enjoying all of the friendly discussions.”
Supernaw agreed. “This is a good way for the candidates to get their message out and a good way for the voters to see the real differences between the candidates,” he added.
Austin was also glad to attend the event. “I really commend Dan and Holly for their commitment to civic participation and for opening up their home to candidates and people who are interested in the election process,” he said.
Kawasaki noted that residents from all over Long Beach had come to the brunch for the chance to meet the candidates face-to-face. “There really have been some very interesting discussions and sharing of ideas here today,” she said.
“We need to have more events like this,” Rivera added. “Meeting the candidates in an informal setting can really help citizens to get involved in the politics of the city.”
Flores-Gibson agreed. “The candidates and the voters should have more opportunities like this to look each other in the eye and have honest, open conversations,” she explained.
Former Long Beach Vice Mayor Val Lerch also attended the event. “I love these brunches because they give the people to discuss issues with the candidates on a personal level,” he said.
Former 8th District Councilmember Jeff Kellogg, who now serves on the Long Beach Community College Board of Trustees, praised Pressburg for his involvement in the democratic process. “He is a good friend, and he contributes very positively to the community,” Kellogg said. “I will always support his efforts.”
Jack Smith, who unsuccessfully ran for the 7th district council seat two years ago, said he wishes there were more events like the candidate brunches. “It’s the only time during the campaign that normal people can buttonhole candidates and talk to them face-to-face,” he said. “That is key to knowing what is really going on in the city.”
Local resident Dan Halverson agreed. “At the brunch you get the opportunity to meet with candidates that normally you would not meet,” he said.
“I don’t know of a better way to understand the perspectives of the candidates,” added Michael James Brown, another local resident.
Longtime Long Beach activist Diana Lejins agreed. “This is a wonderful opportunity to approach the candidates with questions that are not allowed in candidates forums,” she said. “This is a great way to get the information you need to make an intelligent decision on how you want to vote.”
The candidate brunch was also sponsored by the North Long Beach Community Action Group and the South Street Community Watch.
<strong>Martha Flores-Gibson (candidate for 70th district state assembly) and Janet Ballantyne (2nd district candidate) get acquainted at the Pressburg residence. </strong>


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