Garcia Will Present Keys to the City at Council Meeting Dec. 8
2015-12-03 · By Editor
In his first presentation of keys to the city, Mayor Robert Garcia will honor former California Governor George Deukmejian, his wife, the philanthropist Gloria Deukmejian, and Long Beach civil rights icon Bobbie Smith in a special ceremony at the start of the City Council meeting on December 8.
“These long time members of the Long Beach community have made outstanding contributions to our city and our state,” said Garcia. “They deserve the highest recognition we can bestow, and I’m extremely proud to be able to honor them with keys to the city.”
George Deukmejian was born in New York but moved to Long Beach to open his legal practice after graduating from law school and serving in the Army. he soon entered politics and was elected to the State Assembly in 1962 and then the State Senate in 1966, becoming Majority Leader in 1969. In 1978 he won election as Attorney General, serving from 1979 to 1983, when he was elected Governor.
As Governor from 1983-1991, Mr. Deukmejian provided strong leadership in support of increased public safety and balanced budgets, increasing the general fund by 98% without raising general taxes, and became very popular. His reelection still holds the California record for largest victory margin. After leaving public office, Mr. Deukmejian continued to serve the public on several public committees, including one dedicated to charter reform in Long Beach. In 2008 he was given an honorary doctorate by California State University, Long Beach for his service to the state and the city.
Gloria Deukmejian is a native of Long Beach. While raising her three children, Mrs. Deukmejian volunteered with numerous community programs, especially those serving children, including the PTA, Girl Scouts, Campfire, Jonathan Jaques Children Cancer Center, St. Mary Hospital, and Assistance League in Long Beach and Sacramento. During her husband’s tenure as Governor, Mrs. Deukmejian organized a statewide award for Volunteer Centers of California. She remains active in community service, including at the Cal State Long Beach Disabled Student Services program, the Long Beach Day Nursery “Stepping Stones to Success” program, the St. Mary Hospital Board of Trustees and the Rancho Los Alamitos Foundation Board.
Bobbie Smith was the first African-American to serve on the Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education, elected in 1988. She went on to serve four terms as President of the Board. Mrs. Smith was also a Long Beach City College librarian for more than 20 years. Last year, to honor her accomplishments and pioneering service, the LBUSD Board renamed Burnett Elementary School after her. It is now known as Bobbie Smith Elementary School. Mrs. Smith has remained active serving the community and advocating for civil rights and equality.
The keys will be presented by Mayor Garcia during a presentation at the beginning of the City Council meeting on Tuesday, December 8 at 5 pm in Council Chamber at City Hall.