Facebook thread suggests Emdee backs Obagi recall

An August 2021 screenshot from a thread on the private Facebook Page “North Redondo Neighbors Current Events and Local Politics.”

by Garth Meyer

Is Emdee involved?

The website Rescue Our Waterfront has posted screenshots from a North Redondo business and politics Facebook page suggesting District Five city councilmember Laura Emdee is part of the effort to recall District Four councilman Zein Obagi, Jr.

Emdee has long denied involvement, saying it is “not my circus.”

The thread shows her participating in an August 2021 discussion begun by Peter Aziz, about his idea to recall Obagi. Emdee asks how many volunteers he has. 

Aziz responded that he had “about 10 ready to go.”

“Great!” wrote Emdee. “Let’s chat. Tomorrow?”

Obagi was elected four months before the posts.

“We chatted,” Emdee said Tuesday. “How do you run a recall? I told (Aziz) who to talk to, but that was it. I’m not involved. This was way back when they were first talking about a recall.”

Later in the thread, Emdee posted a comment to a question of who would replace Obagi.

“Pete Aziz would be good,” she wrote. “Life long RB resident, educated and passionate about RB.”

Aziz filed a petition to recall Obagi in February.

The name of the private Facebook page is “North Redondo Neighbors Current Events and Local Politics.”

Restore Our Waterfront also points to a phone call Emdee made to Elliot Lewis, at the start of the year, after he had started to target Obagi – and after the city council’s unanimous vote to deny Lewis’ proposed ordinance for retail marijuana in the city.

Lewis is CEO of Catalyst Cannabis Company, based in Long Beach. 

“The reason I reached out to Elliot was because it was a 5-0 vote to not accept his ordinance. Why is he going after Obagi? I wondered. Are they going to start recalling everyone else?” Emdee said Tuesday. “What’s his endgame? Who are you? It just didn’t sound right. Where’d you go to school? … Just to get to know each other.” 

Elliot characterized the call as two hours. Emdee estimated 40 minutes.

“The only reason I called was to see if he was going to go after all of us. I wanted to be ready,” Emdee said.

At last week’s city council meeting, Obagi pointed to a May 7 Emdee newsletter he said “attacked and disparaged” him.

At the top of the newsletter, underlined and in bold, Emdee stated that she is “not involved in this issue,” regarding the recall, saying that “many of you wrote to me upset or confused about an email sent by a South Redondo Beach organization to voters with my picture in it.”

This refers to Rescue Our Waterfront, which sent a emails to voters dated May 5, stating that “an out of town drug dealer has aligned with those in the picture (Emdee and Councilmember Christian Horvath) to bankroll a recall election in Redondo Beach.”

“I wasn’t going to say anything but (ROW) started attacking me,” Emdee said. “I didn’t want to touch (the Obagi recall) issue with a 10-foot pole. I didn’t want to get involved. It’s not District Five-related. Up until that point I had not said a single word about the recall.”

She was referring to the actual recall, not the Facebook thread last summer.

“I’m just shaking my head. I’m not involved. Have I been seen walking the neighborhood? No. Have I been donating? No. And it’s really disrespectful to the District Four residents working the recall.”

Lewis insisted, “She definitely has no involvement.” 

“All that circumstantial evidence to build a case against me that just isn’t true,” Emdee said. 

Rescue Our Waterfront began in 2015 as an effort to revitalize the harbor with a focus on recreational use.  

Craig’s postings on Rescue Our Waterfront also state that Councilmember Christian Horvath is involved in the recall, byway of being an administrator of  the “North Redondo Neighbors Current Events and Local Politics” page. 

“I don’t administer that page,” Horvath said. “I have nothing to do with that page. It’s clearly a tag of my name. Anybody who uses Facebook can understand it’s a tag. All these posts on Rescue Our Waterfront are usually 90 percent false.” ER


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