Home > News and Politics > TOM MARCHESE RESPONDS TO ‘UNPOSED QUESTIONS’ FROM MONDAY’S 3RD DISTRICT DEBATE

TOM MARCHESE RESPONDS TO ‘UNPOSED QUESTIONS’ FROM MONDAY’S 3RD DISTRICT DEBATE

 [NOTE: A lot of questions from the audiences of Monday night’s Third District debate sponsored by the Long Beach Press Club—people who gathered at the Gaslamp restaurant and those who watched the live Webcast on InstantPresenter—couldn’t be asked before time ran out. After publishing those questions Tuesday morning, I e-mailed them to candidates Gary DeLong, Terry Jensen and Tom Marchese. Marchese responded about 11 p.m. on Wednesday night with these answers.]

How will you overcome the fact that Long Beach residents demand [underlined on index card] improvement to the city and its development, but resist every attempt to develop any part of land in Long Beach ?  

Development is good, smart growth and redevelopment is good, but it needs to be within zoning codes and within state environmental laws. We need city planners who understand those codes and environmental laws. We have wasted millions of dollars allowing bad proposals to move along the review process, to ultimately fail, spectacularly. Large variances have caused a lot of problems in this town.

Understanding that the large majority of fire department calls are for paramedics, do you think there might be areas that could be cut there?  

Having studied this problem to some extent, and having spoken to some firefighters, there may be further efficiencies to explore involving training, recruiting and staffing levels, or overhead in some departments.  Negotiations in good faith may be the key to further savings given these austere times. 
  
To Tom Marchese: You claim to be an attorney but the California Bar has no record of you. Are you an attorney?

I am a lawyer by education who has generally retained, or worked with attorneys of various specialties over the years.  I never told the source of this story, Paul Eakins, or anybody else that I was a practicing attorney. After he wrote that in the Press Telegram, I called him immediately to explain the below again. He is an excellent writer and said; ” I know, I know, but I was just trying to paint a picture with words”.  I said that I do not want to mislead anybody. 
 Heather Mahood, the assistant city attorney, and I met about my ballot designation awhile back and she told me that I was free to use the term lawyer in my sample ballot. This was her suggestion, I was not planning to do this. She and I understand the official Black’s Law dictionary difference between the technical definitions of a lawyer, versus an attorney. And she is one sharp attorney. Regardless, I chose not to do so.  
When I graduated from Western State University’s College of Law in 1983, they told us, “Today you become a lawyer for life, and nobody can ever take that away from you. It is your decision whether or not you want to become a practicing attorney.’’ 
My dad’s senior partners were attorneys and MBA’s who made hundreds of millions never practicing law. They would point to their shingle and state, “We have never had to solicit a client.’’ 
They urged me to be smart, study towards my MBA, and do in-house legal work and business. They would continue, “The goal is to stay out of court, write tight leases and contracts, invest and develop, redevelop, negotiate smart deals and never get sued. And if you ever do, do all of the preparation, build a great case( which I enjoy), hire the very best in the business to litigate your work, and prevail.’’  At times we have retained or worked with several firms of various specialties. So as I always say, I am a lawyer by education, with retained council if that is relevant to the issue. I have stayed as current as possible over the years and have worked countless hours on matters that were important to me, like coastal preservation. 
My dad also encouraged us to do charitable work and give back to our community. So over the years I have studied the Coastal Act, CEQA, conservation and entitlement law and cases with a passion for preservation and restoration. I first testified before the Coastal Commission as a teen(on an LB dock dispute matter for my dad). 
Finally, my dad had huge respect for conservation and natural resources. So in the private sector we never touched anything in the coastal zone or built upon one square foot of habitat area. 

How will you work toward developing the 4,000 additional units of housing [underlined on index card] for very low-income residents that are required by the Housing Element that the city submitted to the state last year?

Shift a percentage of our resources to projects that would increase the number of affordable units.    

Will you help restore the library’s budget for materials to the $1.5 million it was two years ago?

I would first want to survey the library’s needs. There’s been a dramatic shift in materials used by the public (Internet, etc.) vs. published materials.  But of course, we must fully fund our libraries and try to reopen them on both closed days.  

Gary DeLong, why have you not pushed to fill the seat on the Belmont Shore Parking Commission that is reserved for a representative of the residents? The Belmont Shore Residents Association recommended that its vice-president, Terry Enderson, be appointed—but the seat has remained vacant for about a year and there have been meetings in which business could not be conducted due to lack of a quorum. Can you explain?  
  
I fully support interlocking directorates, i.e., a member from the opposing board sitting on your board. I have known Terry Enderson for some time, he is a fine man with exemplary qualifications. There is no reason why he should not be seated on the BSBA immediately. He has my full endorsement, faith and confidence. 
  
Do you support or oppose plans by Orange County and CalTrans to widen the 405 Freeway by two-to-four additional lanes from the LA/OC line to John Wayne Airport ? What impact do you think this freeway widening would have on Long Beach ?  

The OCTA is not doing enough to mitigate the impacts on the city. Staff should return to the table and force the agency to be more realistic about the mitigation measures.   

Please explain your position on councilpersons using Facebook, surfing the net, texting, etc. during council meetings.  

It’s insulting to the public. If the elected official is bored with the community concerns, that official should simply resign. There should be stiff fines slapped on any violations. To me this is an inexcusable violation of each declarants procedural due process rights.

Do you support Home Depot-style development along Studebaker Road east and north of the Los Cerritos Wetlands? Is development of retail or commercial space adjacent to the wetlands consistent with protection of that open space?  

I oppose big box retail anywhere in the SEADIP area. Such uses are wholly incompatible. This was the finding of the Los Cerritos Wetlands Study Group SEADIP review panel that I helped put together, and worked on. I would enact this award winning work, if elected.  
This was my promise to close friend and Study Group Chairman Ric Trent when he appointed me his successor before the last hearing. He had me read his statement, and asked Suzanne Frick and Jerry Miller to work with me, and my friends, to do our best to implement it. Time after time, I have cited this work while testifying. 

DeLong, pick a side!  
  
Do the names or special interests Tom Dean, Mike Murchinson, Sean Hitchcock, 2nd and PCH , ‘Gang of Five’ or the BSBA ring a bell ? The cornerstone of our effort is to advance “YOUR interests, NOT special interests.”  
  
I understand you will not raise taxes, but support of an increase in gas rates amounts to a tax. Do you think we should have an increase just “because you can?”  
  
I have criticized these increases.  I also want to roll back the business license fee and create a tax holiday for new small businesses willing to relocate or start up here. 
  
What grade do you give to Redevelopment Agency projects over the last 10 years?

C- grade, considering the poor work at the Pike and for allowing a few council members to often pressure them to waste limited city resources for projects that largely benefit special interests.  They do a lot of good work too, but big losers are hard to ignore. 

Can you cite a city that would be a good example of where Long Beach should go?  

Huntington Beach: It has protected its natural resources; it has enhanced it [sic] tourism; it provides professional emergency services; and the quality and quantity of housing are good. The planners have a good approach on many things, including a strong stance on coastal preservation, smart growth and a sensible business friendly atmosphere. 
I also surf there, wishing that Long Beach had not ruined its once excellent surf breaks.  
I remember the old oil fields there, and the contaminated pits along the cliffs. If they could clean that entire place up, so can we.

Seventy percent of the city’s budget goes for police and fire department services. Is this really necessary? Or are council and candidates afraid of police and fire department unions?  

Yes, these are essential core services. However there are areas that might be improved. For example, administrative costs or increased efficiencies should be reviewed. My preference is to increase frontline staffing as soon as possible.  
I believe that councilpersons should not fear these unions and should be willing to work co-operatively with them toward our common good. Some might seek to gain political points by badgering police and fire union leaders, but we must remember that they represent people who do an outstanding job providing our safety net.

Marchese seems well rehearsed.

I have spent much of my life trying to be well prepared before I testify or submit a document for the record. 

You all realize we live in a city? That there will be traffic?  

We cannot lower the quality of life simply to accommodate a few developers who do not live in the city. I will let the testimony that I have offered, and the documents that I have filed over many years speak to these serious concerns. 

A year or so ago Councilmember DeLong advocated for the ousting of then-Belmont Shore Residents Association president Mike Ruehle, even showing up at the group’s election to pass out write-in stickers for his preferred slate of replacement candidates. Gary, if you could do it over again, would you? Tom and Terry, how would you have behaved if you were on the council at the time?  

Ruehle had a long list of concerns that were brought to his attention by the association members. I would have asked my staff to work with him and with the bar owners who reportedly were linked by the residents to the problems they faced. I offered advice and suggestions to the BSRA president and others during this period of time and began attending their meetings because I felt that many residents were being denied their rights. Given the long list of concerns I would have remained personally involved, along with my staff, to work with both sides rather than build a wall.

Talk jobs!!  

Education is central to providing job skills to all segments of our community. I would make an effort to halt cutbacks on vocational courses, and I would attempt to set up satellite classrooms. I would also like coordinators to be hired to help new trainees transition into the job market.  
  
Gary DeLong, we do not feel represented when you are not present at city council meetings, or when you leave early.

I hear this all of the time while going door to door. Imagine the wasted staff time trying to review testimony that was missed when the incumbent leaves early?  
Many times I and others have waited to review very important non-agenized matters at the end of a council session when they have open mike time. I have never seen my councilman there to listen. Not once.

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  1. Larry P
    March 25, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Mr. Marchese,

    Thank you for answering the questions. Many of us appreciate your directness
    and ability to really get to the heart of what the 3rd district residents
    expect in their Councilmember.
    I managed to attend both debates and I thought you outshone both of your competitors. Delong, always on the defensive and Jensen speaking in generalties.
    The proof however, is not only what one says but what one has done. Your record
    of helping to preserve what we have, speaks for itself.

  2. Mary
    March 25, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Several of the questions were referenced to Gary Delong but Tom Marchese was able to answer them intelligently and to the point.

  3. J. Lohman
    March 25, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    I liked your answers Tom, especially about Huntington Beach. Right on.
    Of the 3 you know the 3rd district best. You’ve got my vote.

  4. March 26, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Thank you Mr. Marchese.

    I actually have a follow up question, if you please.

    In one of your responses above, you mention that you “fully support interlocking directorates, i.e., a member from the opposing board sitting on your board.” The example you provided was having a BSRA board member sit on the BSBA (Belmont Shore Business Association) board.

    Is it fair to say that you are similarly supportive of having a BSBA board member sit on the BSRA board?

    Thank you.

  5. Gordana
    March 26, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Mr. Marchese uses pretty strong language about council members and their multi-tasking moments during city council meetings. Just wondering if Mr. Marchese would offer an explanation for voters in the 3rd District about his own remarkably similiar behavior (reading email, playing with his phone) observed during board meetings for the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust.

  6. RW Crum
    March 26, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    Wow. The answer as whether he’s an attorney or a lawyer is filled with nothing but doublespeak. If you’re not on the State bar wesbite, you didn’t pass the bar, therefore you’re neither an attorney or a lawyer. Merely graduating from Western in 1983 means you’ve got a J.D. from an unaccredited law school. That’s it. The rest of your answer is mumbo jumbo bullsh!t. I want Delong out too, but not to replace him with that kind of nonsense.

    • RW Crum
      March 26, 2010 at 11:43 pm

      I am king of the typos.

    • rwcrum
      March 26, 2010 at 11:44 pm

      I am king of the typos.

  7. Theresa
    March 27, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Hey Gordana,
    Don’t sling arrows when your demeanor on both the Los Cerritos Land Trust and the BHCA boards is legendary for bad behavior and alienating others.
    (angrily stomping out of meetings) Everybody knows.

    • Gordana
      March 27, 2010 at 2:04 pm

      Theresa Who? Tom’s the guy running public office, not me. His public statement belies behavior that most folks haven’t had a chance to observe. Maybe he can’t explain it, or won’t, but your attack on me is pretty goofy.

  8. LarryP
    March 27, 2010 at 9:48 am

    To Mr. Crum
    I too,am a graduate of Western State University College of Law. Many of us in the 3rd district are.
    The college if fully accredited by the American Bar Association. You may contact them at 312-988-5000. Apologies?
    I,too did not take the bar exam, (over 50% of graduates don’t) but found my studies at law school to be most helpful in my business endeavors.
    Thank you.

  9. wrongbeachjohn
    March 28, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Tom learned from one of the finest public servants Long Beach ever had-his Father. It would be fantastic if Tom could carry on the proud tradition. Enough with the shameful “good-buddy” actions of delong.

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