The Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) is dedicated to providing timely information to its stakeholders regarding issues of importance to them, including local elections. In both the October and November editions of Downtown Scene, DLBA is including a two-part Q&A with Long Beach Second Council District Candidates Cindy Allen and Robert Fox, along with their biographies. Each edition will present questions in two formats: written responses and “fill in the X” responses to indicate positions on matters pertaining to Downtown, District 2, and the City as a whole.
The candidates’ biographies and responses are presented in alphabetical order — first Cindy Allen, then Robert Fox — and were not edited by DLBA.
We also encourage you to watch a live debate between the candidates on October 5. Held by the Long Beach Post, Long Beach Business Journal, Press-Telegram, and Grunion Gazette, the event will be livestreamed at 6 p.m. from the Long Beach Post website and all participating publications’ social media channels
The election date for the Second District takes place in conjunction with state and national elections on November 3. Check your voter registration status at LAVote.net, and click here to learn more about your options to vote in person or by mail this election. Read on to learn more about the candidates for the Second District and where they stand on issues related to Downtown Long Beach and the City as a whole.
I was raised on the westside of Long Beach by a single mother who depended on assistance to support our family. I graduated from Long Beach Poly, before putting myself through Long Beach City College working as a waitress and maid.
I served as a Long Beach Police Officer at a time when there were few women on the force. I then pursued my education earning a Bachelors in Business Management and a Masters in Public Administration from Cal State Long Beach. Afterward, I owned and operated several small businesses in Downtown Long Beach, while serving on several community boards.
I’ve been involved with our local neighborhood activism for over 35 years. A former executive chef, I came to Long Beach and started a cleaning company. I used what I earned to become a housing provider, and I work in the real estate industry as a broker and property manager. As co-founder of all but one neighborhood organization in the 2nd District, current volunteer executive director of the Council of Neighborhood Organizations, former chair of two police advisory committees, and the first openly gay chairman of the Council of Business Organizations, I’m running to reform city hall and restore residents’ voices.
Positions on Key Issues
Candidates Cindy Allen and Robert Fox were asked to respond to the following questions by marking an “X” in the column that identifies their current stance on key issues in the City of Long Beach and Downtown. Below are there responses.
Q&A with the Candidates
The Second District Council Candidates were asked the same questions pertaining to matters of importance for Second District residents and the Citywide community. Below are their responses.
What do you view as the top three priorities for the Second Council District, and what is your plan to address them?
ALLEN: My top three priorities in office would be housing, COVID and the economic recovery, and the environment. I will implement inclusionary housing policies and increase affordable housing, reinforce our city public health department to stop the spread of COVID, offer assistance to businesses to bring our downtown economy back quickly, work to convert our city fleet to fully-electric, and consider the environmental impact of all policies.
FOX: Parking. Housing security/homelessness. Public safety. The runner ups are the Broadway road diet (we have to go back to the drawing board and redesign it ASAP) and greenspace maintenance and beautification. They all require institutional knowledge, combined with energy, creativity, and more investment. My web site includes details of my parking proposal, including a Parking Master Plan, Parking Manager, and development requirements, as well as my other issue proposals.
What is one question you would ask your opponent?
ALLEN: Given the allegations by your former volunteer about your campaign’s tactics to deceive the voters and your threats of lawsuits against those who cover the story, how can the voters trust you to be truthful and open to civil discussion with constituents who disagree with you?
FOX: Whether she believes that the backing of the city machine insulates her from scrutiny, including her failure to explain why she pretended to sell her city contracts business to a fake media company with stock images for “executives” and her failure to provide even basic proof that she has been living in the 1-bedroom Airbnb unit where she registered to vote rather than her 5-bedroom family home in Fountain Valley.
What policy changes would you advocate to address quality of life issues in Long Beach?
ALLEN: I will implement policies to address air quality issues, especially around the port and along asthma alley. I will work with businesses to bring more good paying jobs with benefits to Long Beach. I will work to make it more affordable to live in Long Beach. I will implement policies to increase mental health and related services for the unhoused populations.
FOX: First of all, now more than ever we need a tip to toe review of our fiscal situation—ranked near the bottom by the State Auditor—by an outside firm, as we did in 2012. The money we save from addressing special interest waste, fraud, and abuse should go toward rebuilding our retail economy, addressing parking, air quality, park space, beautification, and a reformed, community policing-based approach to public safety.
What measures should be taken to make Long Beach more business-friendly?
ALLEN: It is very difficult and costly to start a business in Long Beach. I would work to bring down the fees and make the process easier for new business owners. As we recover from COVID, we must ensure we keep our locally owned businesses that make Long Beach the city we love.
FOX: We need seriously to cut red tape, fees, and retail taxes to get competitive. Measure A has been devastating to small businesses, especially restaurants, even before the complete devastation of coping with the pandemic. We need to extend the business license late fee moratorium indefinitely and actually support businesses adapting to the new reality. I have also proposed a small business ombudsman to attract and groom new entrepreneurs to town.
Do you feel additional economic assistance is needed for Long Beach residents, business owners and property owners struggling due to the pandemic? What more should the City Council do?
ALLEN: Many people and businesses are struggling through no fault of their own. We need to help now instead of kick the can down the road. The city should implement protections and increase assistance to ensure residents can stay in their homes. The city should also work with businesses to limit their fees and implement creative solutions to help businesses thrive (like the parklets and open streets have done for restaurants).
FOX: Absolutely! Why are we back-filling budget deficits produced by inflated top city salaries rather than supporting our dying small businesses with our federal Covid funds? The city taxes small business to death, then protects itself while they burn and get looted. Then it leaves them to the wolves during the pandemic, opening and closing them down with no guidelines or strategy and minimal to no support for moving outdoors.
What do you see as the housing needs of the City of Long Beach? How would you address these needs as a Council Member both in the Second District and from a citywide perspective?
ALLEN: The cost of housing is out of control. We need to implement inclusionary housing policies that increase affordable housing across the whole city. These policies must also be written to increase affordable units that are for sale to increase our home ownership rate, especially among black and brown communities.
FOX: I’m a believer in appropriately zoned grant and tax-incentive based affordable housing. Designed right, these complexes can be beautiful and help reinvigorate depressed communities. I believe strongly in preserving the relationship between housing provider and tenant for mutual benefit, particularly to keep rents affordable. If we do not support our rental housing industry soon, it will collapse, which would be a social and economic disaster. I oppose gentrification development.
Do you feel the Long Beach Police Department needs to undergo changes, and if so, what changes would you support? If not, why?
ALLEN: I have been speaking of the need for improvement at LBPD for years. We must reimagine our police force and reallocate funds to other agencies that are better able to handle social and mental health issues. Many calls should not have a response from an armed police officer. We must change the culture and policies to ensure police are held to a higher standard and bad cops are taken off the street.
FOX: I support Reallocate & Reform, rather than absolute defunding. That means we go back to the community oriented policing model pioneered in the 1990s by Chief Batts. We need major retraining, resources to make it possible for officers actually to walk the blocks they patrol and get to know everyone personally, to reopen our substations to the public, and we need major CPCC and accountability reforms—basically, a new police commission.