As the election inched closer to a conclusion, many Long Beach residents were jubilant Tuesday night. Along Broadway Avenue, several downtown restaurants hosted election-results parties. Supporters of Measure ‘N’ shared pizza and beer at Pizza Pi restaurant, where people of all voting ages spilled out onto the sidewalk congratulating one another. Shouts of support were heard from passing cars.
The restaurant stayed open an hour longer than normal business hours so that patrons could watch President Obama’s second-term acceptance speech.
Over 68 percent of people in Long Beach precincts voted Democrat in the presidential race. While 107,000 people in Long Beach voted, still represent less than 50 percent of the registered voters in the city. Almost 60 percent of those voters were from District 5 on the Eastside.
At the hyper-local level, many Long-Beachers were ecstatic about the election results, and the help that hotel workers will see with the passage of Measure N. At the state level, Californians voted in a strange spread, once again reinforcing our status as a swing state with an unpredictable initiative system.
The most contentious measure in Long Beach by far was Measure N— a living wage ordinance aimed at local hotel-workers and backed by union group local HIRE 11, and the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE). The ordinance, which was met with resistance by the Downtown Long Beach Association and the Long Beach Press Telegram, passed (63 percent to 36 percent).
Supporters of the measure, who were knocking door-to-door all the way up to crunch time at 7pm, rejoiced at its success. Opponents of the measure say that the higher wage requirements will reduce the ability of Long Beach’s hospitality industry to compete with other regions and bring tourism dollars to the city.
At the state level, voters approved prop 30, which eliminates $6 billion dollars in cuts to schools by creating a temporary state sales-tax increase as well as income-tax increases for California residents who earn more than $250,000 year.
Beyond the prevention of this years trigger cuts however, 30 does not guarantee more long term funding to schools.
Jene Mijarez and Seng Sok discussed the effects 30 could have on education last night, when it was still undetermined whether or not the measure would pass.
Union members throughout the state opposed 32, because of the detrimental effect it would have on state unions’ lobbying ability in Sacramento. Prop 32 would have prevented the unauthorized contribution of union dues to political campaigns. This would have effectively cut the ability of unions to lobby against wealthy corporations in Sacramento.
When early results showed 32 was being defeated, the crowd inside the pizza parlor cheered fervently. Roberto Uranga, a union supporter and member of the Long Beach City College board of trustees praised the work of politicians like his wife, retired City Councilperson Tonia Reyes Uranga in acknowledging the labor agenda in Long Beach.
This local ordinance was supposed to raise voter turnout for municipal elections, by moving them to the same day as state and general elections starting in 2014.
J.B. Berks, a Long Beach resident in the second district said, “I think it’s important to consolidate the elections, because in the long run it would save the city money.” Ninth district council member Steven Neal and Vice Mayor Robert Garcia agreed, and held out optimistically for ‘O’s success Tuesday night. In the end however, the measure failed (55 percent to 44 percent).