Long Beach City Councilman Dee Andrews was tasked with defending the status quo on Friday night, Nov. 22, as six candidates who would like to unseat him stated their cases.
The seven people vying to represent Long Beach’s Sixth District in the March 3, 2020, election participated in a forum hosted by the Cambodian-American Civic Engagement Council that touched on topics ranging from homelessness to air quality.
The six challengers running against Andrews who appeared at Friday’s forum are:
Insurance agent Ana Arce;
Entrepreneur Sharifah Hardie;
Business consultant Steve Vibol Meng;
Cal State Los Angeles adjunct professor Suely Saro;
Santa Ana College adjunct professor Craig Ursuy; and
Small business owner Josephine Villaseñor.
Entrepreneur Robert Harmon has also filed to run but did not attend.
Together, the field offered a range of distinct perspectives on how to solve the issues most pressing to residents in District 6, which stretches from 10th Street north to 31st Street and from San Francisco Avenue east to Gardenia Avenue.
One of the questions that most differentiated the candidates came from moderator Alex Norman: “What do you see as the most important, or the most critical, issue in the city?”
Some candidates, like Meng and Hardie, were clear on the issues they thought are of the utmost concern.
“The crime rate,” Meng said. “We need to work with our Police Department and work with all the nonprofit organizations to make sure people can feel safe on the streets. If the streets are not safe, the businesses are going to move out. If the businesses move out, there’s no jobs for our community.”
That last issue hit a nerve with Hardie.
“If we’re able to bring in businesses and jobs with a living wage,” she said, “I think we’ll be able to rectify the crime, the homelessness and the poverty.”