Editor’s Note: Responses provided by District 3 candidates to a Press-Telegram poll are also available. Click on a contestant’s name to see the complete poll responses: Kailee Caruso, Deborah Castro, Kristina Duggan, Mark Guillen, Greg Magnuson and Nima Novin.
The race for Long Beach Third District City Council is wide open, with six candidates trying to succeed Councilwoman Suzie Price after she opted to forfeit re-election in favor of running for mayor.
The Third District includes Belmont Shore, Bixby Village, Naples, Alamitos Heights, and Recreation Park.
Part of the field is Kristina Duggan, a former Price employee who left the counselor’s office in 2014 and now runs a full-service psychological health care business with her husband, Matt Duggan.
Deborah Castro, president and CEO of ad agency Creative Productions, and Nima Novin, senior executive at investment firm Ernst & Young, are also District 3 hopefuls. Kailee Caruso, careless services worker -shelter at Safe Place For Youth non-profit; Greg Magnuson, educational consultant and business owner; and Mark Guillen, Director of Public Affairs for Crown Castle Technology/Software, round out the crowded District 3 ballot.
No candidate from District 3 has been elected to public office before.
All candidates responded to a Press-Telegram survey identifying Long Beach’s homeless crisis as a key issue in District 3. According to the city’s latest homeless count data, more than 2,000 People in Long Beach were homeless in 2020. The pandemic canceled the 2021 survey, and the city has yet to release the results of this year’s count.
Caruso, who has worked in homeless services for years, said she understands the complexity of the issues – and how to assess and implement programs that will help people return to permanent housing.
“We need to create systems for the long-term prevention of homelessness,” Caruso said. “For example, creating a Department of Mental Health in Long Beach would provide funding, resources, jobs, improve mental health outcomes for generations, and have a significant public safety impact for all. “
Guillen agreed that long-term solutions are the way forward for Long Beach. The city should provide more robust services and transitional housing for people in need, he said. But Guillen also said he wants anti-camping laws to be more strictly enforced.
A landmark 2018 federal court decision in Martin v. Boise ruled that cities cannot legally enforce anti-camping ordinances, which prohibit camping in public spaces, without first providing shelter to their homeless populations — citing the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment guarantee of protection against cruelty and unusual punishment.
“One of the biggest complications is that, by law, to evict a homeless person, you have to have a bed available for them to go,” Guillen said. “These beds play a vital role in helping to break the vicious cycle of homelessness.”
Novin seemed to agree, saying Long Beach should “work toward recovery while enforcing our laws and maintaining the quality of life our residents deserve.”
Novin said he would work with other agencies to find innovative solutions for the homeless.
“I will work with regional and state leaders to coordinate new approaches that leverage shelters and services to connect individuals to the services they need,” Novin said, “getting homeless people off the streets and put in shelters, and release our first responders to address other public safety concerns.
Magnuson — who previously served as superintendent of the Buena Park Elementary School District and is currently chairman of the Casa Youth Shelter board — said he would call for an immediate review of Long Beach’s homeless strategy and services. he was elected.
“Because homelessness is largely a symptom of one or more underlying conditions, simply moving homeless people to shelter or temporary housing is not a sustainable solution for the city – or the individual,” Magnuson said. “Getting the homeless off the streets is just the first step, ongoing support is needed to break the cycle of homelessness.”
Long Beach’s homelessness, Castro said, is “not just a human tragedy, but a public safety issue,” and added that “mental health and addictions are factors that compound the problem.”
Castro said Long Beach should increase city staff to conduct outreach to homeless people and expand homeless services already in place. Castro also said she would offer a “homeless helpline,” which would serve as a 24/7 resource center for people in need.
Duggan, for her part, said she would also like to expand existing city programs to serve the homeless. Duggan echoed Castro, saying the One Stop Center in Long Beach – which provides resources for homeless people – should have a 24/7 helpline.
But Duggan also said there was a segment of the homeless population that “causes the most harm, homeless people who are criminals”, and that they should be taken off the streets by law enforcement. order.
Election day is June 7. Los Angeles County began mailing mail-in ballots to registered voters on May 9, and in-person voting centers will open starting May 31. Find more information about voting at lavote.gov.