Urban Tree Canopy Assessment and Management Plan

Our City’s urban tree canopy is vital to our livability and sustainability, and during this historic drought street trees that go without critical watering pose a tremendous public safety risk. A large majority of our parkway trees were planted in an era with conditions much different than today, and therefore, it is imperative that we develop a corresponding street tree life-cycle management plan for tree removal, replacement and maintenance. Read more of the agenda item here.

Parks Initiative Fostering Public-Private Partnerships

On June 21, I introduced a Council item requesting the City Manager to authorize the Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine to conduct a parks facilities and recreation programs analysis report to inform the development of a pilot program designed around new public-private partnership proposals to benefit community programs, facilities and services. Read more of the agenda item here.

Technology as an Economic Driver

At the intersection of people, communities, businesses and government is the need for technology infrastructure to keep pace with growing populations and which position cities to compete in getting the best jobs through comprehensive economic development strategies. On May 3, I introduced a “dig once” policy that will create a road map for coordinating capital projects with the installation of conduits/fiber optic cables and minimizing the number of excavations in our public right-of-way; thus, improving our economic position without more costs or inconveniences to neighbors. Agenda item here.

Modernization of Bus Shelters

I recently co-authored an agenda item requesting the City Manager to work with Long Beach Transit to explore partnerships, costs, feasibility and options to update and modernize bus shelters and to return to the Council with recommendations within ninety days. Agenda item here.

Transient Occupancy Tax Incentive Program

On April 5, the City Council approved a study to analyze and provide recommendations on a potential Transient Occupancy Tax Incentive Program. With the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency and elimination of the State Enterprise Zone Program in California, municipalities have been left to assemble new tools to incentivize economic development including business retention and attraction. The tourism industry is one of the most highly taxed and labor intensive sectors of the economy, and therefore, it is important for the City to look at ways in which such a program might be applicable to Long Beach. To review the associated staff report, click here.

General Tax Measure Approved for June Ballot

On February 23, the City Council approved a series of resolutions (read more here) calling for the placement of a Transactions and Use (Sales) Tax on the ballot of the June 7, 2016 Regular Election. This sales tax measure, subject to approval by a majority vote of the electorate, would last for a period of ten years, initially at an increased rate of one cent (or 1%) for the first six years of the tax, and then declining to one-half cent (or 0.5%) increase for the remaining four years of the tax.

My responsibility to the citizens lies in balancing our City’s infrastructure needs totaling $2.8 billion (review the recent Council presentation here) with the fiscal realities of our existing resources. A vibrant Long Beach is built around safe communities, paved streets, walkable sidewalks and exceptional parks that strengthen neighborhoods and allow them to prosper.

I also believe that taxpayers should have the final say at the ballot box. If the voters approve the measure, then the requirement I introduced for a Citizen Advisory Committee, which would be an oversight board made of fiscally prudent citizens, will review the proposed expenditures of the revenue intended for infrastructure and public safety.

Minimum Wage Study Released

At the August 11, 2015 City Council meeting, we requested that the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) conduct a study on the potential benefits and impacts of implementing a citywide minimum wage. The report entitled, Considering Minimum Wage Policy in the City of Long Beach: Theory, Practice and Potential Implications, was recently completed and released for public review and comment. The minimum wage policy discussion, and potential ordinance, is expected to return for Council consideration beginning in January 2016.

Minimum Wage Policy Study Sessions

Recently, the City Council authorized the City Manager to execute an agreement with the Economic Development Corporation of Los Angeles County (LAEDC) to conduct and deliver a report regarding the potential implications of a minimum wage policy for the City. I will be chairing the Economic Development and Finance Committee meeting, here in the Fifth District at Long Beach City College, on Thursday, October 29 at 7:30 a.m. to hear feedback from the community on potential opportunities and concerns. Three more study sessions, in November, will be held in order to solicit, hear and record the public’s input on the report once it is released. Click here for more information.

Dog Walker Watch Program

On October 13, the City Council unanimously approved a Dog Walker Watch (DWW) program as part of the City’s current Community Watch Program. The DWW is a crime awareness program that encourages dog walkers to serve as “extra eyes and ears” for local law enforcement agencies. If you are a dog owner and want to take part in this newly implemented component of neighborhood watch to help catch suspicious activity, please click here. The DWW works best when more people are involved, so please forward this to a fellow dog-walking friend and let us know if you are interested in having a training set-up in your neighborhood.

Minimum Wage Study Study Sessions

Over the course of the next few months, the City will be holding a series of meetings to obtain public feedback on the LAEDC minimum wage study, as approved by Council, and to provide input to our community leaders and policymakers. Two of these sessions will be held as part of the Economic Development and Finance Committee (ED&F) meetings, of which I am the Chair. Click here for further details on the upcoming study sessions scheduled to take place on September 29; October 5 and 29; and November 17, 20, and 24.