By Nick Diamantides
While voters in most parts of the United States rejected many Democrats in office, politicians in that party fared much better in California in the November 2 election, and three local Democrat incumbents were reelected. Those returning to office include US Rep. Laura Richardson (California’s 37th District), 54th District California Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, and 55th District California Assemblyman Warren Furutani.
As of press time, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters, local election results were as follows:
• Richardson garnered 69,411 votes or 69.2 percent of the votes cast. Her Republican opponent Star Parker received 22, 841 votes or 22.7 percent, and Independent candidate Nicholas Dibs received 8,164 votes or 8.1 percent.
• Lowenthal got 57,975 votes or 56.6 percent, while her Republican opponent Martha Flores-Gibson received 44,487 votes or 43.4 percent.
• Furutani garnered 50,420 votes or 71 percent, while his Republican opponent Christopher Salabaj got 20,680 votes or 29 percent.
In the non-partisan election for Division 3 of the Water Replenishment District, incumbent Board Member Lillian Kawasaki was reelected with 70,797 votes or 64.25 percent. Her opponent John Ballard received 39,394 votes or 35.75 percent.
In addition to selecting candidates, Long Beach voters passed three of the four measures on their ballots. Measure GG received 38, 903 “No” votes and 33,325 “Yes” votes. The measure would have transferred certain powers of the Civil Service Commission to the city manager. Measure B passed with 57,886 “Yes” votes and 22,161 “No” votes, but its passage was moot. The measure would have imposed a 15-percent city tax on recreational marijuana, but the tax would only have gone into effect if State Proposition 19– legalizing marijuana in California– had passed. Proposition 19 did not pass.
Long Beach’s Measure C also passed. It received 51,189 “Yes” votes and 23,813 “No” votes. The measure increases the number of credits given to veterans applying for jobs with the City of Long Beach.
Measure D, a charter amendment relating to the Harbor Department and oil properties, also passed. It received 39,135 “Yes” votes and 31,492 “No” votes. The measure changes the formula for transferring money from the Harbor Department revenues to the Tidelands Fund from 10 percent of the Harbor department’s net income to five percent of its gross operating revenues.
On election night, Richardson and several other Democrat candidates and their supporters gathered in Bixby Knolls to watch the election results. When it became obvious that she would win, Richardson said, “I’m excited about the voters. The voters saw the truth and showed what the 37th District is all about.” The next day, Richardson did not immediately return a voicemail message left for her by the Signal Tribune.
Parker conceded early Wednesday and said she planned to remain active in efforts to improve the quality of life in the area. “I have and will always be committed to the people of California’s 37th District. The residents of CA-37 have made their decision in a democracy that I respect,” she said. “I will continue to actively fight for the residents of this district so that together we can build a brighter tomorrow.”
Parker added that she will continue to try to persuade people that dependency on the government weakens families and society. “My message of freedom and individual responsibility is timeless and needs to be heard in Long Beach, Carson, Compton, Signal Hill and across the country more than ever before,” she said. “I will continue to deliver that message.”
Dibs said, in an email, that it was a shame that only 36 percent of the registered voters in the 37th District bothered to vote. “How high will the unemployment rate go before for the 64 percent ‘wake up’ and realize that who is elected to Congress and what Congress does directly effects whether the economy/jobs will improve or continue to decline?” he asked. “Our nation is in crisis, the rich/elite with millions/billions control who gets elected from the ‘two-party box’ because political party loyalty appears to be more important to most voters than electing to Congress a sincere underdog Independent who will stand up for the best interests of the American people.”
Lowenthal said she wanted to thank everyone who worked on her campaign and she felt honored to be entrusted with the responsibility of representing the people of the 54th Assembly District for another two years. “Last year, I used my position as chair of the Transportation Committee to move a project forward that’s bringing 18,000 jobs. This year, I’ll remain focused on transportation,” she said. “Earlier today, I was at the California Transportation Commission to support their approval of a bridge project in Long Beach that will bring 4,000 jobs a year for five years.”
Lowenthal added that, in the next two years, she will focus on the development of a high-speed rail in California and will continue working on government reform, education, mental-health issues and public safety.
Flores-Gibson’s campaign manager John Goya, said, “We are happy with what the voters have decided, but we want to make sure everyone’s vote is counted before we make a statement.”
Kawasaki said she was proud and honored to have been reelected to the Water Replenishment District. “I look forward to continuing to ensure that we have a clean, safe, reliable and affordable supply of water,” she added.
Furutani said he was pleased and excited about being reelected. “We really have an opportunity to get some good things done in the legislature,” he said, noting that he wants to start working on balancing the state budget immediately. “I am committed to making the state government effective and to making sure we use tax payer dollars efficiently.”
The Signal Tribune was unable to reach Salabaj or Ballard for comments.