About the City

The City of Long Beach

Long Beach, with a population of approximately 465,000, covers 52 square miles in southwest Los Angeles County and is the seventh largest city in California. It has some of the best shoreline, marinas and beaches in Southern California, and a superb climate moderated by pleasant ocean breezes. The City of Long Beach is recognized as the home of the Queen Mary, the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Long Beach Grand Prix, America's cargo gateway to the Pacific Rim through the Port of Long Beach (the Nation's second business container port), one of the world's most environmentally safe off-shore oil operations and numerous major business and commercial enterprises.

Long Beach has also been recognized by USA Today as the most diverse city in the United States- one of the City’s strongest assets. The City’s ethnic breakdown is approximately 40 percemt Hispanic, 29 percent White, 14 percent Black, 13 percent Asian, and 4 percent all other ethnicities.

Long Beach is a full-service city providing customary municipal services through departments such as police, fire, public works, library and parks and recreation. The City also owns and operates a leading deep water port, offshore and onshore oil production, a gas utility, a water utility, a commercial airport, a public health department, a convention and entertainment center, two historic ranchos, three marinas and five municipal golf courses.

Long Beach is strategically located in the Southern California basin and is less than a 30-minute drive to Los Angeles and Orange County business centers. The city, widely recognizes as a very desirable and livable community, is known for its unique neighborhoods, quality schools, excellent hospitals and noted arts and cultural resources.

The City Government

Long Beach was originally incorporated in 1888. After a short period of disincorporation, was reincorporated in 1897. Since 1921, Long Beach has been governed as a charter city and operates under the council-manager form of government. The Council currently includes a Mayor, elected at large, and nine (9) council members, elected by districts for four-year terms. The Council appoints a City Manager who manages the day-to-day affairs of the City. The City has over 5,000 employees and a total budget of $2.8 billion ($395 million in the General Fund).

The City of Long Beach is at once a Southern California seaside resort, an urban metropolis with a diverse economy, and a tapestry of small neighborhoods whose international cultures are woven into a tightly knit yet heterogeneous community. The city sparkles with sunshine and is swept by gentle ocean breezes throughout the year. Not only is Long Beach quite simply different from any other city in the world, many locals believe it is the best there is.

Ideal Strategic Location Close to Everything

With a population growing toward one-half million people, Long Beach is the seventh-largest city in California and the second largest in Los Angeles County. It’s not the size that makes the difference, though, as much as the location. Long Beach is situated on 50 square miles of prime real estate flanking a generous 11-mile coastline located squarely between Los Angeles and Orange County. This community is one of the most ideal strategic spots in the world for international trade, regional commerce, new and innovative technology, and an unparalleled lifestyle just a short drive away from mountains, deserts and, of course, the beach.

Long Beach embodies urban living at its highest perfection: a place where people can live, work, shop and act like a tourist in their very own backyard! The City’s expedient Long Beach Transit connects its residents to destinations such as The Aquarium of the Pacific and Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden, along with numerous galleries and theaters, and special events such as art walks, farmer’s markets and historic tours.

A Tourist Destination in its Own Right

Long Beach hosts an abundance of attractions for travelers and locals alike. The Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, the legendary Queen Mary, Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Long Beach International City Marathon and the Congressional Cup are just a few of our signature attractions and annual events. Coupled with an Oceanside Convention Center, a cluster of downtown retail and entertainment complexes (the Pike at Queensway Bay, Shoreline Village and Pine Avenue), numerous first-rate hotels, and a growing menu of fine dining options, these attractions have transformed the city into an authentic destination all its own.

Getting to Long Beach is easier and easier thanks to service improvements at Long Beach Airport. Four commercial airlines offer direct flights to major hubs and key cities, providing convenient travel to more than 300 destinations. Carnival Cruise ships now call Long Beach home, delivering upward of 300,000 visitors annually to our shoreline. Visitors and locals also share a love for Long Beach culture. Long Beach Symphony, Long Beach Opera, Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach Museum of Latin American Art, International City Theater, Long Beach Playhouse and Musical Theatre West are just a few of the offerings that keep social calendars brimming year-round.

Downtown Charm Appeals to the Urban Chic

Long Beach’s pedestrian-friendly downtown continues its impressive expansion, rapidly becoming a haven for urban dwellers desiring a 24-7 lifestyle. More than 3,000 new units of upscale apartment, condominium and loft units now dot downtown zip code that is considered to be among the “hottest” parcels of real estate in the nation. Private investment and government interests are pouring a billion dollars into downtown real estate. More than two million square feet of retail has been added or refurbished throughout the city during the past decade.

A Southern California Lifestyle Worth Preserving

Long Beach has more than 100 neighborhoods, beneficiaries of a lifestyle worth preserving, a lifestyle that includes excellent public education. Known for its award-winning, seamless education at all levels, Long Beach was named the best large urban school district in the nation by the Broad Foundation in 2003. Long Beach City College offer its students 208 degree and certificate programs, with more than 1,000 courses of study to select from; while the California State University, Long Beach, the second largest university in the state, awards nearly 6,000 degrees each year.

Energized, Diverse Economy

With a wealth of international trade firms, aerospace jobs, and a highly respected healthcare industry, Long Beach is a magnet to highly skilled professionals. Sizeable investments in major developments have stimulated exponential growth in tourism and retail. And the business services sector is robust. Long Beach boasts nearly 210,000 jobs, and more are in evidence daily. With many thousands of graduates pouring out of the city’s colleges annually, Long Beach is generating the labor it needs to succeed well into the future.

Good Government Protecting the Public’s Interests

City government is composed of many elected and appointed individuals working in concert to make Long Beach a better place to live, visit and conduct business. The City’s viability depends on visionary leadership, open decision-making, excellent communication, strong fiscal policies, and a skilled and committed labor force.

The City Manager and his staff implement the vision of the City Council by maintaining a fiscally sound budget, creating safe and environmentally friendly neighborhoods, supporting businesses to create more jobs, improving the City’s housing and transportation programs, and encouraging public health and community involvement.

The City Clerk’s office provides access and participation in the public decision-making process primarily by conducting municipal, school board and community college elections.

Technology Services facilitates public involvement by providing easy access to City government through such technology tools as a state-of-the-art City web site, interactive telephone systems, and Cable Television Channel 8.

A primary participant in the City’s annual budget process and financial strategic plan, Financial Management promotes strong fiscal policies, effective revenue collection, efficient cash and debt management, and sound expenditure controls.

The City Auditor is an independently elected professional who works for the citizens to ensure that public monies are used efficiently and effectively.

Human Resources bears the responsibility of ensuring that fair employment practices and equal employment opportunities are utilized in compliance with the law.

Civil Service ensures that qualified, diverse, and service oriented pools of candidates are available for possible City employment.

The City Attorney is the legal advisor of the City. The staff furnishes legal support to the City Council, commissions, departments and employees.

Good Government Enhancing the Quality of Life

A city worth its salt plays a vital role in delivering the resources that residents and businesses need to live, learn and work. These award-winning departments remain committed to supporting our community’s excellent lifestyle.

The Long Beach Public Library operates 11 neighborhood branches throughout the community in addition to a main library downtown. These centers for literacy, education, information and recreation provide a broad array of programs and services that link people with the transforming power of knowledge.

Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine enhances the quality of community life with parks, open spaces and beaches that provide places to play, stay fit and enjoy the outdoors. The department satisfies the leisure interests of our diverse community with recreational and educational classes, programs, sports and cultural events for all ages, and is committed to the preservation of our natural environment.

The Development Services Department helps good neighborhoods grow stronger and improves distressed neighborhoods. Using effective economic development, urban planning and redevelopment strategies, the department develops and implements neighborhood improvement projects, affordable housing projects, and major commercial, retail and housing developments, as well as an array of business attraction and assistance programs, and workforce training initiatives. The Department also regulates construction and use of buildings for compliance with standards. Planners, engineers and inspectors provide guidance to developers, designers and contractors by reviewing development plans, issuing permits and inspecting construction.

The backbone of the city’s infrastructure, the Public Works Department maintains and operates all city streets and pedestrian ways. It implements capital improvement projects ranging from public safety buildings and libraries to bridges and roadways. The department also maintains the City's vehicular fleet and provides street sweeping and refuse and recycling collection services.

Long Beach Gas and Oil, one of only three municipal natural gas utilities in Southern California, provides energy to its customers safely and at competitive rates. The utility also manages the Southeast Resource Recovery Facility (SERRF), a waste-to-energy plant that converts nearly 1,400 tons of refuse into electricity, generating enough electricity to supply 35,000 homes daily.

Good Government Maintaining Public Health and Safety, Law and Order

The success of every community is dependent on the feeling of safety and well being of its residents. These departments effectively enforce the law, provide emergency services and address community-based health concerns.

The Long Beach Police Department, utilizing a philosophy of community-oriented public safety, is committed to rapid law enforcement, community engagement, and collaborative partnerships to develop innovative and effective solutions to neighborhood and community-wide problems.

One of just a few elected municipal prosecutors in the United States, the City Prosecutor and his staff prosecute misdemeanor crimes, perform vigorous code enforcement, and secure gang injunctions.

Beyond suppressing fires, the Long Beach Fire Department protects the lives and property of Long Beach residents and businesses. Responsible for the paramedic and lifeguard programs and the Emergency Operations Center, the department also enforces fire codes, conducts inspections and investigates fires.

Health and Human Services, one of only three city -operated health departments in California, works with community partners such as medical and social service providers to tailor programs that meet specific needs in Long Beach. The department’s mission is to promote healthy behaviors, prevent the spread of disease and make the community a healthier place to live and work.

Good Government Promoting Trade, Transportation and Industrial Enterprises

Beyond lifestyle enhancement and public safety, some departments help to fuel the local economy, providing goods, services, jobs and revenue streams.

The Port of Long Beach (also known as the Harbor Department) is one of the world’s busiest seaports, a hub for one-third of all the trade moving through West Coast ports. Port - related trade supports more than 30,000 Long Beach jobs and more than 300,000 jobs throughout Southern California.

The award-winning and nationally recognized Long Beach Airport, conveniently located between Los Angeles and Orange County, is a hassle-free alternative for leisure travelers and business fliers into and out of Southern California. One of the busiest general aviation airports in the nation, Long Beach Airport is also a popular destination for privately owned aircraft, most notably corporate jets.

Flanking the downtown marina lie four oil islands complete with waterfalls and lush tropical foliage. Who would guess that their surfaces are home to more than 1,200 wells that tap into a prolific oil field more than a mile beneath the surface. Oil Properties has managed these oil operations for four decades, proving that it is possible for industry and tourism to live in harmony for mutual benefit.

Since its formation in 1911, Long Beach’s Water Department has delivered a dependable water supply at affordable rates and it also efficiently delivers City's city’s wastewater to nearby wastewater treatment facilities, offering one of the lowest sewer rates in the United States.

Long Beach receives an average of 345 days of sunshine every year. With 11 miles of beaches, 64 miles of bikeway and walking trails, and three marinas with more than 3,500 boat slips, the City is the epitome of the easy, breezy lifestyle that can only be found in Southern California.

Long Beach— a metropolis composed of a vivid tapestry of neighborhoods and cultures, cared for by a dedicated team of public servants who work together to provide a high quality of life for its residents and business partners.