Theofan’s close friend of 35 years, Long Beach Republican Committee Chairman Jim Moriarty, described him as a “gentleman of the highest order” and a “dedicated and devoted servant toward the betterment of the public.”
“There are no words to express the loss of my dearest friend,” Moriarty said. “Whatever a person’s station in life, Charles always treated everyone with the same degree of respect and understanding. He will be sorely missed.”
After taking office in 2004, Theofan and his Republican colleagues maintained that they held the line on taxes, eliminated an inherited multi-million dollar deficit and fixed the city’s finances after years of Democratic fiscal mismanagement.
“I think in the original coalition government, I think that’s when he did his best work,” McLaughlin said. “Because it was a willing coalition — it was not the typical kill or be killed Long Beach politics.”
Moriarty said that Theofan is largely credited with leading an administration that turned around the city’s finances a decade ago.
“When you put the political rhetoric aside, sometimes people forget that when he became city manager, he and the administration inherited multi-million dollar deficits and he whittled those deficits down without raising taxes,” Moriarty said. “And he began reforming the Civil Service Commission, which had been rated among the worst in the state.”
Moriarty said that Theofan was responsible for moving forward a project to develop the long-vacant Superblock. In 2006, the city rezoned the Superblock, allowing for two 110-foot-tall buildings with 425 condominium and hotel units. But the plan fell apart, Moriarty said, after the developer could not secure enough financing for the project.
“[Charles] had come close to getting the Superblock developed, except the market pulled out,” Moriarty said. “But before that, nothing had been approved — and he got that approved.”