THE FIGHT FOR THE 5TH: We were at our field office in a coffee shop near Millikan High School Tuesday morning with one of our chief aides, preparing the next phase in our relentless quest to become your next 5th District City Councilman, replacing the utterly termed-out current councilperson, Gerrie Schipske.

Our main competition in the councilmaniacal race so far is Joseph D. Luyben, of Luyben Family Mortuary fame. So, he's got the name-recognition thing going for him, even though it comes with grim and sorrowful connotations.

Joseph D. Luyben is now chief executive officer of JDL Packaging Systems Inc., a packaging, janitorial and office supplies distributor. Last time we checked, JDL is the abbreviation of the Jewish Defense League. What a St. Anthony High School kid is doing selling janitorial supplies for a militant Jewish organization will, we guess, become more apparent as the campaign progresses.

While running the 5th District is as easy as pulling a wagon around, the process of running for the office is ludicrously time-consuming and annoying. The city's tip sheet on running for public office (you can find it at www.longbeach.gov/elections) has mired our campaign with busy work. By this point in the campaign, we're to have appointed a treasurer, but it says we can appoint ourselves, so check that off the list as done and done.

Next, we're to file Form 501 before receiving contributions, then open a bank account for contributions, then fill out Form 410 within 10 days of receiving $1,000 in contributions, then a Form 460 or Form 470 depending on this or that.

This is getting complicated. We're thinking we might have to hire one of those kids who dresses like Uncle Sam or the Statue of Liberty and dances on street corners while twirling arrow-shaped signs that say "INCOME TAX" on them.

OK, so we hire the sign-spinning guy. Next, we need to start building our platform, with today's plank being: Kowtowing to the unions.

We have to confess that we love unions. We specifically love, in no particular order, the police union, the firefighters union, the teachers union, the city employees union and, if we still need more votes, the United Auto Workers, the Screen Actors Guild and The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.

Firefighters respond to our breathtakingly varied emergencies and cook hot dogs; the teachers build our future scientists, engineers and, mostly, more teachers; our wife is a city employee, so big thumbs-up there (when we do this live, she'll be up on stage with us, along with our several children representing every ethnic demographic in the 5th, which is Caucasian); the UAW builds the best damn cars in the world other than the Austrians, the Germans, the Japanese and the Swedes; and SAG amuses us, but not as much as The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine does when its members put on fezzes and drive around in tiny cars.

One of our first acts as your 5th District Councilperson will be to rename Rosie the Riveter Park to the Firefighters Memorial Park, Snack Shack & Playground. Right now, there's no play equipment at the "park," because it's supposed to be a sort of meditative place. You want to swing on the swings, you go to a park. You want to meditate, go to a koi pond. We've always said that.

Next, we'll change the name of Good Neighbor Park, another green space that is bereft of play equipment but at least has a gazebo, which your current councilperson claims is a popular spot for wedding pictures, because who wouldn't want to get their wedding picture in front of the El Dorado Senior Center? We're thinking Cops & Teachers Unions Park & Koi Pond Meditative Center has a nice ring to it. We were going to make it a playground, but it's so small a tetherball court would drape off the edges. 

Also, whenever anti-union bosses and Giant Faceless Corporations assault our local unions, the former Good Neighbor Park, with its high visibility on Studebaker Road, can be used for peaceful (or violent, should it come to that - are you with us, boys?) demonstrations against those forces allied to squash the dreams and ignore the noble efforts of our policemen, firefighters, educators and minicar-driving clowns.

God bless you, God bless the unions, God bless America and can we count on you for a lawn sign?

tgrobaty@yahoo.com, 562-714-2116 or twitter.com/grobaty