Carl Kemp is a well-known government affairs expert and lobbyist in Long Beach. He's been around city hall a long time, so it's no surprise that when councilwoman Gerrie Schipske (subject of a recent OC Weekly cover story) announced she was vacating her seat earlier this year, Kemp threw his name in the ring.
Although he's not exactly hyping it on his campaign website or Facebook page, Kemp's most recent contribution to Long Beach's civic life was his role as lobbyist for the Long Beach Collective Association (LBCA), whose representatives also included Rick Brizendine and Paul Violas, two lawyers who worked with marijuana collectives (including one that was part of what the feds allege was a multi-county ring of illegal pot shops) that participated in Long Beach's ill-fated experiment with legalizing medical marijuana via a much-criticized lottery process that turned into an epic fiasco.
If all that sounds a bit strange, the only thing missing is the bizarre news unfolding this week concerning a major endorsement Kemp just received. You'll never guess who is newest supporter happens to be.
The person adding his name to the list of Kemp's supporters is none other than Robert Shannon, the outgoing city attorney who drafted the since-overturned ordinance that led to Long Beach's marijuana lottery, a man who seemed incapable of hiding his disdain for the very industry Kemp was representing. After all, none of the clubs that won the lottery ever received a permit to operate, and everyone who invested in the operations–paying expensive fees to apply for permission to set up shop in Long Beach and comply with all the city codes that had to be obeyed–lost everything.
You'd think, therefore that Shannon would be the last person to lend his name to Kemp's ticket. But this is Chinatown, er, Long Beach, Jack, so go figure. In any case, let's give Shannon, who shared his love for Kemp with Everything Long Beach.com, the last word:
In my time in the City Attorney's office, I've worked with 29 City Council members, two Mayors, four City Managers, and six Police Chiefs,” Shannon said. “I know when someone will be a real leader for our city. Carl will be the kind of leader who will drive positive change in this community. He says what he means, not just what he thinks people want to hear. He has always held himself accountable to the citizens of this city, and I know he'll continue to do that on the City Council.
Send your story tips to the author, Nick Schou.