In the past two weeks, the Long Beach City Council discussed numerous large contracts, citywide policy proposals and staff research on a variety of topics.
During their regular meeting on April 9, councilmembers unanimously approved a motion by 9th District Councilmember Rex Richardson to research possible incentives for expanding access to urgent care in neighborhoods that have limited traditional acute care facilities such as hospital emergency departments. The item was originally scheduled for review on April 2, but was among several items pushed to the following session as a result of extensive public comment and council discussion regarding a proposed tenant relocation assistance policy.
In the same meeting, the council also approved a six-month moratorium on new drive-through constructions in the city. Nine projects, for which conditional use permit applications and corresponding fees were submitted prior to the vote, were exempted from the temporary freeze. The effort to put a pause on permits while the city formulates new drive-through regulations was spearheaded by a coalition of community groups, including Long Beach Forward, United Cambodian Community and Coalition for a Healthy North Long Beach, and received support from the Long Beach Planning Commission.
A long-lasting effort to regulate hotel worker safety requirements in the City of Long Beach entered a new phase on April 9, when the city council completed its first reading of an ordinance amending the city’s municipal code. The proposed changes, which were crafted by the city attorney in response to a request by the city council on November 20, 2018, would add an anti-retaliation clause to the existing regulations. The amendment would also expand the definition of a hotel employer to include owners and operators of “premises connected to or operated in conjunction with the hotel’s purpose.” The original ordinance, which required hotel employers of all sizes to furnish guest rooms with panic buttons for worker protection, was passed by the city council on November 13, 2018.
On April 16, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia proposed new appointees to the Belmont Shore Parking and Business Improvement Advisory Commission, as well as the Cultural Heritage, Economic Development, Pacific Gateway and the Senior Citizen Advisory Commissions, which were unanimously approved by the city council.
During the same meeting, the city council requested that the city manager begin implementing priorities identified as part of a part of the Downtown Parking Study. The study, which covered Downtown Long Beach and the neighborhood of Alamitos Beach, identified seven steps to mitigate parking issues in the surveyed neighborhoods. As a result of the council vote, the city manager will proceed in promoting long-term and overnight parking in city garages, initiating local discussion of a parking assessment district in Alamitos Beach, and reviewing the potential for overnight parking districts and the feasibility of parking meters on major business corridors. Additionally, the city manager will coordinate with neighborhood associations to coordinate garage clean up days, negotiate long-term and overnight parking options with private parking lots and discuss shuttle options to remote parking areas with Long Beach Transit.
During the April 16 meeting, the city council also received a report on the economic profile of the Latino community in Long Beach. The report, which was produced as a result of the Long Beach Latino Economic Summit hosted by Centro CHA and California State University, Long Beach on November 13, 2018, provides an overview of demographic and economic characteristics of the city’s Latinx population. Highlights from the report include an estimated economic impact of $33 billion dollars produced by the 100,313 employed Long Beach Latinx residents, and a steep decline (57.4%) over the past decade in the percentage of Latinx children residing in Long Beach who were born outside of the U.S.
Another report received by the city council on April 16 provided councilmembers with an update on the city’s project labor agreement (PLA). The agreement was signed by the City of Long Beach and the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, as well as other local unions, in an effort to provide labor peace, union training and preferential employment opportunities to Long Beach residents on major construction projects. In his presentation to the city council, Financial Management Director John Gross noted that the program had exceeded goals to hire at least 40% of workers on qualifying projects from Los Angeles and Orange County. According to the report, 77% of workers hailed from either county, with 19% of workers residing in Long Beach. Following up on the report, the city council asked staff to look into the option of adding an independent jobs coordinator to the program in order to boost participation by Long Beach residents, and to present the results of their research within 30 days.
The city council also authorized the city manager to receive several million dollars in grant funding from state and federal agencies. The city is set to receive $4.1 million for the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Program from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and $8 million in state funds from the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account Act (SB1), in addition to smaller grants for emergency management and beach water quality monitoring.
Lastly, the city council approved two large contracts during the April 16 meeting. The city manager received authorization to increase the value of an existing contract for real estate services with Epic Land Solutions, Inc., of Torrance, Overland, Pacific and Cutler, Inc., of Long Beach and Paragon Partners, Ltd., of Huntington Beach, from $900,000 to $3.4 million. Additionally, the city council awarded a $1.6 million irrigation equipment contract to SiteOne Landscape Supply, of Cleveland, OH, and American Landscape, Inc., of Canoga Park, CA, and a $2.3 million contract for scanning services to File Keepers, LLC, of Los Angeles, CA; MetaSource, LLC, of Anaheim, CA; Omni Pro, Inc., of Chino, CA; and, SourceHOV (Sourcecorp BPS, Inc.), of Irving, TX.