Gordana is an international trade specialist, a self-employed small business entrepreneur and property manager. Born and raised in Southern California, a first generation American, she’s lived and worked in Long Beach for over 30 years. She’s married and lives in Belmont Heights with a couple of cats.
The following defines Gordana’s experience as a resident of Long Beach and the 3rd District.
- The beach and ocean. The Long Beach Breakwater.
Gordana got a call from a friend one day in late 1996. “Come to a meeting tonight, Park Pantry. It’s about the breakwater and bringing waves back to Long Beach.” She showed up and listened, then became a founding member of the Long Beach Chapter of Surfrider Foundation. That idea, over 20 years later, has resulted in a partnership between the City of Long Beach and the United States Army Corps of Engineers to use a scientific “ecosystem approach” to identify potential methods to reconfigure the breakwater, to restore habitat along in the LA River watershed and along our shore, and to bring waves back to our beach. “Long Beach” was aptly named and Surfrider Foundation strives to reclaim that history in our community. Supporting Long Beach’s historic plastic bag-ban, monthly beach clean-ups and improving our ocean water-quality are all core to Surfrider Foundation’s mission of protecting our ocean, waves and beaches. (www.surfrider.org)
- Environmental activism. Los Cerritos Wetlands.
Gordana served on the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust (LCWLT) Board of Directors for many years and gained a vision of restored wetlands as well as the passion to fight for restoration of this critical natural resource. The Los Cerritos wetlands is the single largest unrestored salt marsh in Southern California. But it’s hard to see, looking remarkably like an oil well drilling field across PCH from Marina Pacifica. The LCWLT has shown the public – from schoolkids to City officials – by hikes and with kayak trips, what’s out there now – and what they can hope to see in the future. It’s meant educating Long Beach residents about the importance of wetlands in our environment and the well-being of our community, and the need to protect the land from development. The LCWLT is community-based activism at its finest and a model for environmental activists all over Southern California. (www.lcwlandtrust.org)
- Neighborhood. Belmont Heights.
On a shopping trip to the corner of Redondo & Broadway soon after moving into the neighborhood Gordana bought a gray tee-shirt with “BELMONT HEIGHTS” across the front (that’s the shirt, photo above.) Looking for another shirt a few years later, the shop owner explained that he no longer carried the shirts but had a phone number for someone who might help. The Belmont Heights Community Association didn’t have any more shirts, nor many members, as it turned out. That telephone call almost 10 years ago led to meeting new neighbors and spurred a bunch of community-minded Belmont Heights residents, including Gordana, to re-boot the BHCA into the group it’s become today. The BHCA informs residents about important community and city-wide issues with a quarterly newsletter and monthly meetings, and celebrates great things in our neighborhood. (www.mybelmontheights.org)
- Volunteerism. Rebuilding Together.
If you’ve heard about “Christmas in April” then you know what Rebuilding Together Long Beach (RTLB) does. Gordana and her husband, Joe, were introduced to RTLB years ago by a friend and are active as volunteer coordinators. Now operating year-round, this group is dedicated to transforming the lives of low-income Long Beach homeowners by improving the health and safety of their homes. All the work is done by volunteers and materials are all donated by local companies, with no cost to the homeowner. Gordana serves with a group of dedicated volunteers helping grateful homeowners who, because of bad luck or ill-health, need assistance with repairs around their home. With projects all over Long Beach – ranging from new windows on a mobile home in the 9th District, a paint job on a house in the 4th District to Rose Park’s crime-prevention alley light installation in the 2nd District – RTLB volunteers aid those in need in our community. (www.rtlb.org)
(This is important: While Gordana strongly endorses the good works these community groups do in Long Beach, these organizations cannot – and do not – endorse political campaigns in general or specifically Gordana’s campaign for City Council.)