The sounds of friendly chatter could not be avoided throughout the Long Beach Dairy and Creamery on 167 E. South St., as citizens and candidates met over brunch in a casual mingling event that resembled a party.
Held during every election cycle and referred to as “The 2018 Congressional, State, County and City of LB Candidate Brunch” in an email by organizer Dan Pressburg, the informal event took place Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Attendees would enter and leave as they pleased, as the event was open to the public.
“This [event] gives me a chance to meet the candidates one on one in a more relaxed atmosphere,” said Shirin Senegal, president of V.I.P. Records.
Pressburg said that a unique quality of the event, which he hosts every election cycle, as compared to other “meet and greet” style gatherings, is its informal nature. People could be seen dressed casually, sitting and moving throughout Pressburg’s home as they talked about local politics.
In an email sent out by Pressburg, candidates listed as invited and attending included those running for the governor, congressional districts, state assembly districts and city council positions in Long Beach.
“I like the variety of the candidates who have been here,” Long Beach resident Keith Oddie said. “I get to learn about other elected officials from different levels of government, [both] local and federal.”
Though many were invited, not all of them ended up attending.
“If they come, then they come,” Pressburg said. “If they say they’re coming and they don’t come, then they don’t come. I don’t lose any sleep over it.”
Candidates present at the event included third district representative Suzie Price, fifth district candidate Corliss Lee, seventh district candidate Jared Milrad and ninth district representative Rex Richardson. All are vying for seats on the Long Beach City Council, with the primary nominating election taking place Apr. 10.
James Henry Conn, who is running against Mayor Robert Garcia for his current position, was also present at the event.
Though Conn was not listed in an email announcing the invited and attending candidates, he could be seen chatting with people seated on a couch throughout the day. Event organizer Dan Pressburg said that Conn was invited to attend.
“Someone is opposing the mayor and I have a platform,” Conn said. “I’m not here to cast malevolent canards averse to the personal reputation of Dr. Robert Garcia.”
Meeting the candidates is a draw for attendees of the event, but some believe that there are also others there worth talking to.
“You want to find out who the assistants and the chief of staff are in case you need something done,” said Long Beach resident Tim Gilmore.