A motion made by Long Beach Vice Mayor Dee Andrews during the February 5 city council meeting kicked off the city’s process to create a Comprehensive Strategic Plan for 2030. “As Long Beach continues to grow, we must think big as an organization and plan for an even brighter future,” the motion read, referencing Mayor Robert Garcia’s call for a strategic plan during his recent State of the City address.
Andrews described the plan as “a roadmap for Long Beach’s future,” and said the next step will be a presentation by City Manager Patrick West, who has been tasked with designing the process for creating the strategic plan. “I think that one of the first things that the planning process should address is how have we performed along the way. Where have we been successful, where have we underperformed and are those still priorities,” Andrews said.
The last time the city created a strategic plan was in 2000, when the city council approved a list of priorities and goals for the following decade. The plan focused on strengthening neighborhood leadership, creating a greater appreciation of the city’s diversity and expanding public safety by building stronger ties between police and the community, among other strategies.
Attorney Doug Otto chaired the citizen-led committee that crafted the Long Beach Strategic Plan 2010, which was approved by the city council in June 2000. Otto, who currently serves on the Long Beach Community College District Board of Trustees, said he considers the plan to have been a success overall. “I think that the 2010 plan transformed the way that Long Beach did business,” Otto said. “It was clear to us that the city was changing, demographically,” he added. “We wanted to include more people.”
Otto said he believes efforts to strengthen neighborhood leadership and identity were an especially effective element of the city’s 2010 strategy. “We developed an identity, as a city, of neighborhoods,” he explained.
Another lingering effect of the last strategic plan was the increased focus on accountability, which Otto credited for creating a more performance-based city budgeting process, especially in the area of economic development. “It made the city government more accountable to the citizens, and it got more citizens involved in the city government. On those levels, it was a huge success, and we’re now looking at what’s next,” Otto said.
The new strategic plan is likely to address hot-button issues like housing affordability, job opportunities and climate change, according to Andrews. During the February 5 city council meeting, he expressed his gratitude to Mayor Garcia for the opportunity to lead the city’s efforts in devising the 2030 plan: “I’m very, very excited to be able to spearhead this.”