Long Beach vice-mayor gets inducted into Alumni Hall of Fame

Story and Photos by Iman Palm

LBCC alumni and 2018 Hall of Fame inductee councilman Dee Andrews at Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

From an All-American athlete to District six councilman, a former LBCC student is now being inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame.

With the usual standard being eight years, Dee Andrews has been a councilman for 11 years.

“I started in 2007 and went through the eight years. Two years ago I did a write in and it was the first time ever a person won as a write-in without having a runoff,” Andrews said. “Usually as a write-in you gotta get 50.1% of the votes and I am the only one that has ever done that so far.”

 Long Beach has a total of nine districts and Andrews is the council member for District six which covers central Long Beach and parts of Rigely.

Long Beach residents vote for mayor but district council members vote for who should be vice mayor.

The vice-mayor candidates are the current district council members and by his peers, Andrews was elected.

“The vice-mayor means that you do what the mayor doesn’t want to do,” said Andrews. “If something happened to the mayor I would automatically become mayor. Everywhere the mayor doesn’t go I have to pick up the slack.”

Being a politician is not something Andrews initially wanted to be but decided to get involved later on in his life.

“I saw such a need. That was back in the time when black wasn’t culture,” said Andrews. “After the sixties, it got really really tough with Angela Davis, Black Power and all of that and never did I get involved with that.”

A statue of Martin Luther King Jr. at a park that was named after him in Long Beach. “What really inspired me about more than anything was Dr. Martin Luther King,” said Andrews. “Everything he did had to be political because he was talking about justice. That’s what I looked at when I got into politics. Justice for one should be justice for all.”

As vice-mayor, Andrews has gotten involved with mental help organizations, particularly dealing with children with autism.

“I deal with the autistic kids and the mental health and all of it,” Andrews said. “Going over there every morning and looking at my little kids we just love each other. I don’t care how bad my night or day was when I see them it gives me all that spirit and hope that God has been so good to me.”

Another issue he focuses on is homelessness. He puts on an event around Thanksgiving called, “Eating with the Thankful Heart” and gives free meals out to those in need.

“Thousands of people I feed. It’s been going on for seven years and all the big time hotels like The Maya, Hilton, The Westin all of them they furnish all the food. I don’t turn nobody away. They give you 5-star like you will be eating at their hotel,” said Andrews.

Born in a small town in East Texas, Andrews has lived in Long Beach for the majority of his life with his parents’ motivation for moving was to give their children a better life than what they had.  

Now at the age of 77, Andrews has built his life in this city. He was considered an All-American athlete at Long Beach Polytechnic High School and continued his studies at LBCC, CSULB, and UCLA.

Andrews majored in social studies which lead him into the teaching field.

He graduated from Long Beach Poly in 1959, LBCC in 1961, and graduated from CSULB in 1964.

Andrews loves this city, considering it home after living here for 75 years.

“I like the diversity because where I lived it was mostly blacks and whites. In Long Beach, you really have an opportunity. It’s a big small city,” said Andrews.

His staff expressed how dedicated and passionate Andrews is about his work.

Former campaign treasurer and now special advisor, Lou Baglietto was a student at Wilson High School when Andrews was a teacher there.

“He is enthusiastic and dedicated to the district,” Baglietto said. “Vice-mayor is a new role for him but he is enjoying his time and carrying out his love for Long Beach.”

His chief of staff Isabel Arvea, also expressed how dedicated Andrews is to the city. She has worked with Andrews for three years.

“He (Andrews) is passionate,” Avera said. “When he was elected vice mayor he told me hey just remember this is a title. I still represent the 6th district.”

This year Andrews along with other notable LBCC alumni are being inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame on Oct. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at The Grand Long Beach Events Center.