L.A. Now

Long Beach mayoral candidate's brochure features wrong city skyline

A campaign mailer that arrived in thousands of Long Beach homes Tuesday had all the trappings of a political blockbuster — the face and endorsement of Gov. Jerry Brown on one side, a quote from a local business owner, and a photo of a glittering waterfront skyline on the other, with the words "Getting things done for Long Beach."

There was just one problem for Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, a 40-year Long Beach resident who is running for mayor.

The skyline photo is of San Diego, featuring the distinctive One America Plaza overlooking the harbor and a Navy vessel hugging the shoreline.

Lowenthal said she originally approved a nighttime photo of the Long Beach skyline for her campaign brochure and was "shocked" when she received the campaign piece in the mail.

"Everyone," she said, "makes mistakes."

Lowenthal, who served on the local school board and City Council before moving to the state Assembly, is considered a front-runner in a crowded field to replace outgoing Mayor Bob Foster.

The mailer came just one day after the governor announced his endorsement of Lowenthal, and a week before voters are expected to receive absentee ballots for the start of early voting.

The Lowenthal name has long been a giant in Long Beach politics — Alan Lowenthal, her ex-husband, has been a representative on the City Council, state Assembly and now, Congress. Their former daughter-in-law, Suja Lowenthal, sits on the Long Beach City Council and abandoned her race for mayor to run for Bonnie Lowenthal's open Assembly seat instead.

Mike Shimpock, Lowenthal's campaign manager, took full responsibility for the error and attributed it to a mix-up with the printer.

Shimpock said he mistakenly flagged the photo, one of many stock images his firm had purchased for mailers throughout Southern California.

The error was caught, and Lowenthal approved a mailer featuring a photo of the Long Beach harbor at night, Shimpock said, but the wrong file was later sent to the printer.

Jeffrey Adler, a Signal Hill-based political consultant and observer of Long Beach politics, said while the mix-up is understandable, it could do some damage to the campaign.

"Whether it was a mistake or not, it plays into the perception that she's left Long Beach for Sacramento, and is perhaps not giving this her full attention," Adler said.

Shimpock disagrees.

"Voters are worried about potholes being filled and police on their streets," he said.

"I'm more worried about improving my proofreading skills."

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