Let’s see, she defalults on her mortages in three different cities, she doesn’t pay her car repair bills, she uses a taxpayer funded vehicle for personal use, and now it’s discovered that she flaked on promise to send school aged contest winners to Washington, DC?
Yep…. she’s qualified to be in Congress!
Read this story from the Longbeach Press Telegram:
Rep.’s kids finally get trip
councilman honor Richardson’s promise to send winners on a trip to D.C.
Paul Eakins, Staff Writer
LONG BEACH – From 2004 to 2007, then-Long
Beach City Councilwoman Laura Richardson made a promise that 10 young contest
winners would get a trip to Washington, D.C.
While Richardson got her
own trip to the nation’s capital, winning a seat in Congress last August, the
students stayed grounded in Long Beach, according to staff members of the sixth
District council office and one of the students.
The unrealized trips
are just a few of the unresolved commitments left behind by the Long Beach
Democrat during the year she ascended from council to state Assembly to
Congress’s 37th District.
Recent published reports have detailed
Richardson’s financial troubles, including multiple defaults on her three homes,
the foreclosure of her Sacramento house and bills owed to local businesses left
unpaid for years.
Now, some of the winners of the Martin Luther King Jr.
Unity Parade and Celebration contest will finally get a chance to fly to
Washington, or one of dozens of other destinations, thanks to JetBlue Airways
and Councilman Dee Andrews, Richardson’s successor in the 6th District. Working
with Andrews, JetBlue is donating airline tickets to all of the winners.
William Marshall, a spokesman for Richardson, said Thursday that the
D.C. trips had taken place every year of the contest except in 2007, when
Richardson left the council.
“Not all of the kids may have gone, but
those trips did take place,” Marshall said.
But that isn’t what Andrews’
staff members and one of the contest winners believe.
On Thursday, staff
members gave a ticket to winner Midori Sanchez, 16, in Andrews’ office at City
Hall. Her mother, Donna Cottrell, also received a ticket because she was
supposed to have been a chaperone in the original trip.
When Sanchez was
in eighth grade in 2005, she was one of four contest winners. The contest asked
children from kindergarten through 12th grade to capture the theme of the annual
Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in one of four categories: art/drawing, poem/
speech, essay, or sculpture/multi-media work.
Sanchez, who won the essay
category, said Thursday she felt like she finally had some closure to the
disappointment of never getting the trip.
“I’ve waited for a long time,
and I was really excited at the time,” said Sanchez, who on Thursday completed
the 11th grade at Poly High School.
Cottrell said that she had given up
on her daughter ever going, and she felt like Richardson had lied to her. But
Richardson received publicity through the years for the contest, Cottrell said.
“I’ve sort of had this simmering anger the whole time, because she comes
out looking so great,” Cottrell said this week. “Nobody knows that it never
The contest had been held for several years as part of the
parade, then Richardson began offering the Washington trip, which included
airfare and hotel, in 2002.
By all accounts, the contest winners in 2002
and 2003 went to Washington. But the two winners in each subsequent year – four
winners were named in 2005 – never went.
JetBlue, which has provided the
tickets now being given out, had donated tickets for the earlier trips that did
In addition to the unfulfilled trips, Richardson also left an
almost $5,000 debt from the last parade that her office planned in 2007. John
Edmond, Andrews’ chief of staff, said the councilman has begun paying the money
back to parade sponsor Partners of Parks with outside donations.
the five months between Richardson’s departure from the council and Andrews
taking office in May 2007, Mayor Bob Foster represented the sixth District and
attempted to arrange a trip for the 10 winners, but that didn’t come together,
Since 2007, Tonya Martin, an Andrews staff member who also
worked for Richardson, has been trying to locate all of the winners who are owed
a trip, she said. So far, she has reached eight of them and given out a handful
of tickets, though two have been difficult to contact.
The problem, she
said, is that so much time has passed, some of the winners have moved or left
Marshall said Richardson hasn’t abandoned her promise to
“She has been in contact with Dee Andrews and has been
wanting to discuss that last trip with him,” Marshall said of the reward for the
2007 winners. “She’s very concerned and wanted to be a part of whatever took
place with the kids.”
Edmond said Andrews and Richardson had “talked in
passing” about the matter in recent weeks, but nothing else. On Wednesday,
Andrews’ office received an e-mail from Richardson offering her assistance in
planning the trips, but everything is almost resolved now, Edmond said.
Sanchez was emotional Thursday as she expressed her gratitude.
“I just really appreciate a lot that Dee Andrews, even though it wasn’t
his problem, made a great effort to ensure that everything that was wrong was
right,” she said.
Edmond said Andrews wanted the winners to get what
“We took on this responsibility because it’s the right
thing to do,” Edmond said.