In October, the Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) presented the first of two parts of a Q&A session with Long Beach Second Council District (CD2) candidates Cindy Allen and Robert Fox.
In advance of election day on November 3, DLBA is releasing the second part of the Q&A, which covers matters of importance to Downtown and CD2 residents.
The candidates’ biographies and responses are presented in alphabetical order — first Cindy Allen, then Robert Fox — and were not edited by DLBA. Questions are presented in two formats: written responses (70-word limit) and “fill in the X” responses.
The election for the Second District takes place in conjunction with state and national elections on November 3. 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
Q&A with the Candidates
Outside of COVID-19, what is the number one concern facing business today?
ALLEN: As our economy continues to evolve, many of the local businesses have had to look outside of Long Beach to hire new employees. This will only been intensified due to over 11,000 Long Beach residents leaving the labor force since January. I would implement workforce development programs that would bring our workforce into the 21st century and ensure businesses can hire locally.
FOX: Having a city hall which dictates to businesses and treats them like sources of revenue to exploit rather than the engine of our local economy. Most residents are daily commuters out of town because we have driven away so much enterprise, even auto dealerships and big box stores. The city will spend millions on an unwanted road diet, redesignating the street to residential, like the businesses aren’t even there.
COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color. How should the City address this issue while considering the inequities behind it?
ALLEN: The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color has been caused by many underlying policies. This is why I look at all policies through a social equity lens. We must address housing policies that have led to overcrowded housing, economic disparity that has led to marginalized populations working in riskier essential jobs, and healthcare disparities that have kept many from being able to get the care they need.
FOX: This is a long-term issue of the systemic racism built into the structure of our society. The highest percentage minority populations in the city correspond to the old redlining maps, which limited them to the least desirable land. They are sandwiched against major industry, with tremendous diesel pollution, and are the most park poor. We will only overcome this by providing opportunities for all residents to succeed, especially as entrepreneurs.
What major changes do you envision for the Waterfront and Convention Center areas of Planning District 6 (PD-6)?
ALLEN: I envision development that brings community benefit for the residents of Long Beach, especially those directly impacted on Ocean Blvd. I look forward to seeing proposals from private industry, but would oppose anything similar to the previous discussion of a stadium.
FOX: We have to prepare for sea level rise and preserving what we have before considering new major developments such as a baseball stadium or the next idea that comes along. We also have to be extremely cognizant that this is not just a commercial zone, it is quite literally a neighborhood with thousands living in the Ocean Blvd. towers. I would incorporate residents and ORCA into all planning processes.
The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles combined are the number one point of entry for goods from Asia but are facing increasing competition from ports on both coasts. What investments should the Port of Long Beach prioritize to protect its market share and the local jobs its operations support?
ALLEN: As climate change continues to be a bigger issue with every passing day, the Port of Long Beach should being investing in technology and infrastructure that will decrease the environmental impact. This will ensure we are ahead of the curve and protect the market share. The port must also hire locally and invest in the community to ensure long-term sustainability.
FOX: The Port of Long Beach quite literally just had its busiest month ever last July and is so overwhelmed its having to store excess shipping containers at the old Boeing site near the airport. While the widened Panama Canal is an issue, we have rebuilt our bridge at half a billion dollars over budget and done much to sustain Port traffic. More Chinese language services could be helpful.
What is the best utilization of the 40 acres around the Queen Mary?
ALLEN: The Queen Mary is a major tourist attraction that is not being used to its full potential. We need responsible, competent, and visionary developers to better use the land around the Queen Mary to make it a sustainable destination for generations to come.
FOX: Although it has a lot of potential this is a very difficult area, so most importantly we need to be realistic and actually vet any new developer to replace Urban Commons. We brought them in with a lot of fast talk on their part, but little proof of concept or qualifications, because city hall wanted to buy into a dream not a reality. How about an outdoor amphitheater concept?
What is your plan to lead in the fight against global warming at the local level?
ALLEN: Introduce a plan to transition the city from fossil fuels to clean energy, including a fully electric fleet of city vehicles. Use technology to increase awareness of the city’s carbon footprint. Strengthen and enforce environmental protection laws at the port. Implement programs to encourage use of public transportation. Support increasing the oil extraction tax and allocate the new resources to health equity.
FOX: While I support the city’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, there’s a lot more we could be doing locally, from pushing harder for full electrification of the port, to doing a major tree planting program (with sustained maintenance) in the city, to dealing with the parking crisis in impacted areas like the 2nd District. Why parking? Consider the needless greenhouse emissions from all those cars endlessly circling for a spot.