Incumbent: Stacy Mungo
Councilwoman Stacy Mungo was elected to District 5 in 2014. She is a strong supporter of retaining the “neighborhood character” of low-density areas by strategically planning the construction and locations of apartment buildings and neighborhoods.
Mungo stated that one of the biggest hurdles when she was first elected was the amount of bureaucracy that she found. Since then, Mungo said she has worked to make the local government easier and more accessible for Long Beach residents. Her goal is to clear bureaucratic red tape so “people can rely on and have clear expectations of their local government.”
- Rent control
Mungo said that while she has sympathy for families trying to make ends meet, she believes that rent control is detrimental to housing stock. The candidate points to San Francisco and Santa Monica as examples of how rent control can hurt housing stock, leading to housing shortages.
Instead the candidate supports the use of the Section 8 housing program, which helps renters become homeowners. Mungo believes that helping renters become homeowners will lead them to become more invested in the community. She said that the city should work with residents on savings plans and other programs that help them save for down payments on houses.
Mungo said that 14.3 million dollars have been accrued through grants for outreach and housing. Mungo stated that these funds will be used to “continue to find homes for the community, clean up the homeless encampments and ensure the resources [for] finding jobs and changing into a homed life are available.”
- Law enforcement
The incumbent describes herself as a “strong supporter” of body cameras for officers. She believes that law enforcement is changing overall and standards should reflect that, stating that officers who work in the community will have to deal with social work such as domestic abuse, mental illness and homelessness. Mungo believes the recruiting and training process should reflect this, stating that the department needs to hire officers with “maturity and compassion,” on top of the traditional physical requirements.
- Marijuana dispensaries
Mungo stands by the city’s decision to allow marijuana dispensaries to operate in the city. However, she is not a fan of many of the locations since they are located too close to schools and neighborhoods. Mungo stated that she was more supportive of a home delivery service that would allow patients to receive medical marijuana.
Challenger: Corliss Lee
Corliss Lee describes herself as a community advocate who aims to foster a more transparent relationship between the city council and its constituents. She also plans to address increasing taxes and changes to building density.
- Public engagement
Lee believes that information on pertinent community topics such as the Land Use Element plan have not been actively and openly presented to residents. To remedy this, she would like to create a council within the district 5 that is composed of neighborhood association leaders who would communicate with her.
“I would like to see the heads of the neighborhood get together every couple of months, and I would share with them what’s going on the agenda and what’s going on at city hall,” Lee said. “And they could share with me what their chief concerns are.”
The candidate stated that she would not want this group to be an open forum. Instead, she would prefer that residents visit their neighborhood associations to stay informed. She claimed that open forums would lead to tasks not being completed.
- Rent control and taxes
Lee is opposed to rent control and expressed sympathy for people wanting their rent stabilized. She said that rent control ultimately shrinks the amount of affordable housing because developers take over the properties which landlords sell in order to retain a profit.
“[I like the idea] that we give renters a break on their taxes. That puts more money in their pocket, and that allows them to save that money to put it down on something or have money in their pocket in case there is a rent increase,” Lee said.
- Addressing homelessness
The candidate stated that when it comes to addressing homelessness, specific actions to be taken should be determined by “the professionals,” which she described as social workers and committees dedicated to housing.
“I would support hearing out what their plans are and doing what we can to help them,” Lee said.
Beyond this, Lee did not specify plans which she had.
- Recreational marijuana
At a March 8 candidate forum, Lee expressed that she believes the city should follow state law and allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use. However, she did state that the substance should be protected by locks and require identification for purchase, similar to how alcohol and medical drugs are sold.
Challenger: Rich Dines
Rich Dines is a former Long Beach Harbor Commissioner. He believes that his clean energy initiatives and ideas on port operations will benefit all parts of the city.
- The Port
To save city dollars, Dines plans to transform Long Beach into a greener city by moving to a zero-emissions port through implementing clean cargo-handling equipment He believes the port could generate $500 million a year in gross revenue.
The former harbor commissioner aims to do this with his Energy Island initiative, which would convert the Southeast Resource Recovery Facility into a clean energy power plant.
“[This] would allow the port to operate for about a week without being tied to the [Southern California Edison] grid,” Dines said. “It would provide enough additional green power to power critical city infrastructure like police, fire, city hall, hospitals and such.”
Dines also hopes to thin the herd of heavy freight trucks that crowd the 710 freeway by moving cargo from the port to on-dock rails. He hopes to put 2 million trucks through this process. He believes this would increase productivity while lessening traffic congestion on the freeway.
- Police and fire
While Dines maintains the 5th District has always seemed to be the safest part of the city, he noted that a recent spike in crimes may threaten that notion. If elected, Dines claims to allocate “dedicated” revenue from the general fund toward fire and police departments. He says both departments are spread thin and are dispersed into areas which are more violent and crime-ridden. According to the Long Beach Police Department, there were over 3,100 violent crimes reported throughout the city last year. Dines said that petty and property theft are more prevalent in the district and receive less attention than violent crime elsewhere in the city.
Although he does not support rent control as proposed today, Dines believes the city should shift to affordable housing overall instead of low-income housing.
“We really need to find a way to create more affordable housing units to help drive down… costs of rent throughout the city,” Dines said.
He said that the majority of 5th District residents don’t want to increase density by adding five-story buildings in the suburban area.
- Community input
Dines advocates for transparency between government officials and city residents, including who councilmembers are meeting with and what they’re working on. He firmly holds that community outreach should be done before decisions are made.
“No backdoor deals,” Dines stated. “Everything [is done] in front of the public.”