Beverly O'Neill interviewed by Taylor Dipoto, November 10, 2015, Long Beach, California, Oral History # 5764, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
An oral history with Beverly O’Neill, former mayor of Long Beach, California. This interview was conducted for the Women, Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage Project, and for Dr. Natalie Fousekis’ oral history course. The purpose of this interview is to gather information about O’Neill’s time in office, and the way her status as a woman affected her political career. Specifically, this interview covers O’Neill’s early life, including growing up in Long Beach, her college experiences at Long Beach City College and CSU Long Beach, and her marriage to college classmate, Bill; her initial leadership experiences in student government, including one that culminated in her becoming college president; decision to run for Long Beach mayor in 1994, and her three terms in office; discusses an unprecedented write-in campaign to circumvent the rule against candidates appearing on the ballot more than twice; her involvement in the redevelopment and revitalization of downtown Long Beach, after the loss of naval patronage; her service with the US Council of Mayors and their dealings with Hurricane Katrina; and finally, reflections on her political legacy, and the ways in which women can make a difference in politics.
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