Winner Takes All

By Joseph Serna, Staff Writer
He wasn’t endorsed by Mayor Bob Foster or former Mayor Beverly O’Neill. Laura Richardson, who previously held the seat, endorsed one of his opponents, and a slew of unions and municipal associations were throwing their support behind the top three favorites. Even local media only mentioned his chances of victory in a cursory way.
But in the end, Dee Andrews had the one endorsement that counted – the residents of the 6th District in Long Beach.
Andrews, the self-proclaimed “son of the 6th District” scored a major upset Tuesday night when he earned the title of 6th District Councilmember, beating out political insider Al Austin, business and property owner Ahmed Carl Saafir and District-lifer Lillian Parker, with 555 votes or 27 percent.
It was Andrews’ third bid for the seat. He lost to Richardson in 2004 and in the 2000 General Municipal election, where he fell eight votes short of winning.
Richardson vacated the seat in November when she was elected to the State Assembly’s 55th District.
Andrews, who has lived in the District for 60 years, ran on a platform of working with youth to create jobs and educational opportunities–a key to gang prevention, he said.
The District’s voter turnout for the winner-take-all election Tuesday was the lowest it’s been in at least two elections, with slightly more than 12 percent, or 2,050 of 16,595 registered voters making it to the polls. Of those, 814 voted absentee.
Austin, who carried endorsements from Foster, Richardson, the Long Beach Police Officer’s Association and had the best financed campaign, came in second with 506 votes. Saafir, who also had a well-financed campaign and was endorsed by homeowner and business associations as well as the Long Beach Press-Telegram, came in third with 357 votes. Long Beach teacher Ed Acevedo was not far behind with 341 votes, Parker trailed with 226 votes.
Rounding out the bottom was Lee Davis, who received 46 votes and J.A. Caruthers, who had dropped out of the race by April.
Altogether, nearly 11 percent of Long Beach voters cast a ballot for the Tuesday election, where six of eight City Charter amendments were passed.
The mayor was awarded greater veto power, new candidacy and residency requirements were established, park space was given greater protection from being sold and the city’s oil production tax was increased to help fund the city’s police and fire departments.
Residents chose not to create new city commissions for redistricting, setting Council member salaries or extending term limits for several elected offices.
Of the city’s 211,975 registered voters, 22,817 voted Tuesday, with votes split nearly even between precinct and absentee ballots.