Robert Fox

Robert Fox, 68, is a self-employed small business owner who has lived in the district for 35 years. He is a registered Democrat.

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Endorsements

We have not sought endorsements from elected officials. Endorsements received from most of the neighborhood associations in the district (list to be released).

Why are you running for the 2nd District?

I am running first and foremost to restore truth-telling, whether or not inconvenient, to the way City Hall is run.  When we stopped telling residents the truth about everything from parking to crime stats to the lack of planning and outreach for the Broadway “road diet” to the homeless count (which is done in a highly questionable way) to the impacts of development and land use, we denied them their most basic right in a democracy. The People cannot be their own masters if they can’t make informed democratic decisions.

So my goal is to arm residents with information and to restore them to their proper place on City Hall’s priorities list.  The order should be residents first, small businesses and nonprofits next, then major employers and other stakeholders, and pure special interests (who use money to corrupt politics) last.  Too often, both our City Hall politicians, and bureaucrats in their service, put their own aspiring political careers, and those who funnel money into their campaigns, first–and residents last.  This is why we’ve ended up with an unsustainable budget, with special interests crowding out core services like basic maintenance of roads and facilities, beautification of parks and protecting trees, sufficient public safety, and small and large business recruitment and development.  We have the funds to do these things, and to address the homelessness crisis and the parking crisis in the 2nd District, if we do an outside audit and get our fiscal priorities straight.

What do you see as the biggest problem facing the 2nd District, and how do you propose solving it?

Parking and homelessness are the two biggest issues, but parking is probably a close number one when it comes to impacting the daily lives of residents.  And parking is a great example of how this City in recent years does things exactly the wrong way.  First, we created the issue with over-development, beginning with crackerboxes in the early ’90s and exacerbated by the lowering of parking requirements for new downtown development in recent years.  

Yet, despite it being a growing crisis for decades, we still have NO master Parking Plan and literally no one on our massive city payroll whose primarily in charge of coordinating the parking issue.  I have met with experts and advocates, including the activist group Long Beach TAPS (Transportation and Parking Solutions), and spoken with thousands of residents knocking on doors. We need permit parking zones.  

We need a parking expert to design a master parking plan.  We need dedicated city staff to implement that plan and manage it day-to-day.  We need to lower tickets and stop penalizing residents for poor planning. And instead we need to embrace a cluster of solutions ranging from technological (including app-based) to building more parking to maximizing existing parking (loan incentives to add parking, umbrella insurance policies for those with unused lots) and facilitating use to requiring much more parking in new developments to permit zones to integrating greater mass transit and usage of last-mile solutions (like scooters and ride share) to delineation and reserved spaces for unusual size vehicles like motorcycles.

What are your specific plans to address homelessness?

Number one, we will never get anywhere if we waste obscene amounts of money on boondoggle white elephant projects like the North Long Beach proposed shelter which we already blew $12 million on and cannot even use as intended.  

As someone in real estate, the lack of basic due diligence for the city to purchase a property without understanding that it had a preexisting cannabis cultivation lease is mind-blowing.  As the only candidate who’s hired homeless over the years for my businesses and who helped establish the Multi-Service Center, I already had a background on this.  

But I have since had numerous discussions with experts and stakeholders, and the solutions are clear and simple. We need first of all to add beds, but not just beds.  We have also to ramp up investment in social service providers, who can help folks navigate the long path back to reintegration, checking in on a daily basis.  

We also need more transition housing for the next step beyond shelter beds.  And we need greater investment in mental health and drug addiction counseling.  

We must immediately end our city’s go-it-alone approach and work collaboratively with LAHSA, the county homeless agency.  This is not a crisis which aligns with municipal borders, and even if we hadn’t wasted $12 million on the North Long Beach facility, its location was suited to serve Compton and Paramount, at no cost to those cities, as much as it was to serve Long Beach (but it provided politicians a photo-op)—and the idea of building our first city-run facility a ten-mile trip from downtown is beyond irrational.  Lastly, we need major reform of our homeless count—a count based on homeless individuals self-identifying, and with numbers tabulated in-house rather than by an independent third party, neither of which is the practice of other cities, can no longer be tolerated. When the city tells us the homeless numbers are not going up and they clearly are, something is very wrong with our city governance.

Do you believe there is a parking issue in the district? If so, how would you address it?

Parking and homelessness are the two biggest issues, but parking is probably a close number one when it comes to impacting the daily lives of residents.  And parking is a great example of how this City in recent years does things exactly the wrong way.  First, we created the issue with over-development, beginning with crackerboxes in the early ’90s and exacerbated by the lowering of parking requirements for new downtown development in recent years.  

Yet, despite it being a growing crisis for decades, we still have NO master Parking Plan and literally no one on our massive city payroll whose primarily in charge of coordinating the parking issue.  I have met with experts and advocates, including the activist group Long Beach TAPS (Transportation and Parking Solutions), and spoken with thousands of residents knocking on doors. We need permit parking zones.  

We need a parking expert to design a master parking plan.  We need dedicated city staff to implement that plan and manage it day-to-day.  We need to lower tickets and stop penalizing residents for poor planning. And instead we need to embrace a cluster of solutions ranging from technological (including app-based) to building more parking to maximizing existing parking (loan incentives to add parking, umbrella insurance policies for those with unused lots) and facilitating use to requiring much more parking in new developments to permit zones to integrating greater mass transit and usage of last-mile solutions (like scooters and ride share) to delineation and reserved spaces for unusual size vehicles like motorcycles.

What, if anything, is wrong with the Broadway Corridor and how would you fix it?

I have led on the issue of the Broadway Corridor from day one.  I am the president of the Broadway Corridor Association, and I called out the destruction caused by our “road diet” as soon as it was completed.  I am gratified that other candidates are now following my lead on this issue.  This road diet has already destroyed so many small businesses, which will never return, and it appears to have been intentional.  

The City took our business corridor, and summarily re-designated it as residential in order to get funds for the plan.  And it’s a plan very different from what we were initially sold under the visioning process begun during the time of Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal.   It has redirected a lot of traffic away from retailers and what traffic remains is now flowing through the single most dangerous road segment in the city, according to everyone who drives it.  It is neither ADA nor Coastal Act compliant.  

The number of accidents has reached absurd levels, which of course our police department tries to minimize.  But even the reported numbers are terrible. Quite literally everyone in the area, except for a few anti-car extremists, hates the Broadway “road diet”, and I will ensure that it does not stand.  I will take the design of Broadway back to the drawing board and open it up to the community. Together we will redesign a Broadway that works for all stakeholders–residents, businesses, motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists and scooter riders alike.