Last night, over 100 residents attended a mayoral candidates forum focused on livability, active transportation, and public health at the ART Theatre in Long Beach. Video from the event will be available on Streetsblog’s YouTube channel later this week and a review of the forum written will be on LongBeachize a little later as well.
But for now, some heartfelt thanks.
First and foremost, thanks to everyone who attended the forum, posed questions on social media, watched on Streetsblog TV or will watch/read our “after the event coverage.”
Thanks to our five participating candidates: Richard Camp, Robert Garcia, Bonnie Lowenthal, Doug Otto and Gerrie Schipske. We selected which of the ten candidates would join us by looking at the top five fundraisers. We needed an objective metric because we believed that 10 candidates would be too large to be an effective forum. After Damon Dunn bowed out, citing a scheduling conflict, Camp doggedly pursued us to take his spot. Given that he was one of two candidates that biked to the event, we feel confident we made the right decision.
Now allow me to thank the people and groups that made the event possible.
First, LongBeachize editor Brian Addison, who hosted the event, and advisory board member Baktaash Sorkhabi worked tirelessly to turn this low-budget forum into something special. They put countless hours into the preparation, graphics, social media, questions and everything else.
Bikeable Communities executive director Alan Crawford was also an integral part of the team. Crawford moderated the event, hosted our volunteer meetings where we created the question list and was the point of contact for the candidates. Bikeable communities also provided free bike valet.
Pedal Love director Melissa Balmer worked hard on promotion. Local bike guru Charlie Gandy worked with the organizing team and was the timekeeper last night.
Building Healthy Communities Long Beach provided Spanish translation.
The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Long Beach Post, and Pocrass and De Los Reyes Attorneys at Law provided help getting out the word.
And of course, Lola’s hosted events for people to interact with the candidates before and after the forum.
Last, but certainly not least, a huge thanks to the Art Theatre who donated space, time, electricity and everything else one could ask for.
I don’t know how many cities could host a mayoral forum focused around Livable Streets and get the turnout both in numbers and candidates that Long Beach did last night. The reaction to the forum shows how strong the movement for a complete and healthy transportation network is growing both nationally and locally.