A battle is brewing for the boring 5th district in East Long Beach

We are getting so excited about the 2018 elections we can hardly keep food down.

It’s not the big races. We just automatically go with Democrats all the way down the ticket. We could be one of those fake-thoughtful people and declare that we don’t vote for the party, we vote for the person, but the result would still be the same.

No, we’re excited, as we are every four years, about the brewing race in Long Beach’s amazingly unexciting and homogenous (if you catch our drift) 5th District.

We can make fun of the 5th, in Long Beach’s Far East, because we live in it. We have no concrete complaints other than it’s somewhat bland with a slightly sinister edge to it. When we lived in the hyper-energetic Belmont Heights, our evening walks would take us through elegant neighborhoods, or to the Belmont Pier, or to Second Street.

We recall our inaugural evening stroll after we bought a home in the laconic triangle formed by Wardlow Road, Los Coyotes Diagonal, and Studebaker Road. One local guy slowly followed us in his car, until we went up and told him we’d just bought the house around the corner. We came home and told our wife, “I think there’s a lot of guns in this neighborhood.”

Still, the trees are trimmed, the sidewalks are walkable, the streets get repaired pretty often. There are, naturally, complaints about all this, but they must be from people who haven’t lived in most of the rest of the city.

To be a satisfactory council representative of the 5th, all you really have to do is keep the metaphorical trains running in a Mussoliniesque manner.

That’s the reason we mockingly announced our intention to run for the 5th District seat back in 2014. We had no such intention, of course, because even though running the 5th is easier than buttering pancakes, we don’t think we could sit on the council with people who sit on the council, never mind listen to the ceaseless Tuesday night public comment.

Still, yes, we’re excited, because there’s a battle simmering between the 5th’s incumbent, Stacy Mungo, and the quizzically popular (within the district, at least) Gerrie Schipske, who termed out in 2014 and came in a distant fourth place in her run for mayor, finishing behind Bonnie Lowenthal, who didn’t even campaign as aggressively as we did.

Lately, Schipske’s been checking out the Fightin’ 5th’s residents on NextDoor and Facebook, asking, in effect, “How do you like me now?” She has built a Facebook page, called Write In Gerrie Schipske For 5th Council District and she has been taking the opportunity to settle into the position of handling ex-constituent’s questions and problems on NextDoor.


Meanwhile, Mungo hasn’t helped her own chances, allowing green bollards for cyclists along Studebaker Road to the inordinate horror of nearby residents who blame the things for everything but certain rare forms of cancer. And for the love of God, at an NCAA Super Regional game between the Long Beach State Dirtbags and the Cal State Fullerton Titans, Mungo, a Fullerton alum, wore a Titan jacket, putting college against Country.

There’s still half a year to register to run for council in the odd-numbered districts. If no inspirational candidate steps up it could be whatever the opposite is of a Battle Royale in the 5th. And that’s what passes for excitement where we live.

Contact Tim Grobaty at 562-714-2116, tgrobaty@scng.com, @grobaty on Twitter.

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