LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Everybody in Long Beach is talking about it — a banner of the city council appearing in their birthday suits.
Political message or an example of exhibitionism? Or both?
The surprising political message wasn’t the city council’s idea. It’s a campaign poster, with doctored photos, created by businessman Steve Mozena who is running for mayor.
CBS2’s Art Barron spoke to Mozena, one of the council members who appears on the banner and residents.
Said one Long Beach resident, “I think that it’s pretty representative of what is going on here.”
The man added, “It’s a billboard, it’s city council. It’s hilarious.”
The banner has the seven men and two women council members appearing in next to nothing.
Mozena doesn’t think the billboard is at all demeaning or obscene.
“Absolutely not,” Mozena said, “you could see these council people anytime on the Long Beach in their bathing suits just like this.”
Mozena owns AristoText, a medical supply and college textbook business located at East Anaheim Street and Termino Avenue.
The banner, on the side of his office building, says “Get buck naked” in an attempt to ask the council member to account for how they spend taxpayer money.
“It’s was a play on words,” Mozena explains.”We are accountable to the government in so many ways, whether it’s the IRS, and now with our healthcare. I’m just asking them to bend over now and show us their finances.”
No obscenity laws are being broken but officials told Barron the banner is too large. It’s 60-square feet, the limit is 16-square feet.
Mozena says he will file for an variance to keep it the same size.
Barron spoke to Long Beach City Council member Suja Lowenthal who was not amused by the banner or her semi-naked depiction.
“When you’re asking someone to vote for you and these are the messages that you put out,” said Lowenthal, “I think that we are going in the wrong direction.”
She thinks the banner is also in poor taste.
“It’s really a mockery of the democratic process and the institution of civic engagement and city government,” said Lowenthal.
Barron says Mozena might be thinking locally but he also is seeing the larger picture.
“If I could also put Governor Brown or Governor Christie up there, that would be fine as well,” said Mozena.
It is Mozena’s first fun for elected office. Barron says he has a lot of competition — there are ten other mayoral candidates in town.