Mayor Robert Garcia highlighted the achievements of his third year in office in a City Hall press briefing, focusing on economic growth and development.
“I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in the last three years to make Long Beach a leading city for innovation and growth,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “We will continue to lay the groundwork to build a city with an economy that is resilient and inclusive.”
The Mayor discussed four key areas prioritized during his three years in office: education, civic Innovation, economic development, and livability.
Mayor Garcia pointed to the unemployment rate of 4.4 percent, the lowest rate ever recorded in Long Beach. He also touted record high tourism, which generated more than $450 million in economic impact. The robust local economy is also leading to significant development, with $2.5 billion of investment in downtown alone. Key commercial and residential developments are happening throughout the city, including 2nd & PCH, Douglas Park, and more than 2,500 units of housing approved or under construction.
This economic growth also comes with significant gains in quality of life. The passage of Measure A is funding restoration of crucial public safety personnel and is the largest infrastructure investment seen in Long Beach in a generation. 37 public safety positions have been restored and dozens more protected thanks to Measure A. A recently executed contract with Metro has added 28 additional positions to the Long Beach Police Department to create a dedicated detail to patrol the Metro Blue Line and surrounding areas. Combined, 47 police positions and 18 fire personnel have been restored. Measure A has also provided $26 million this year to jump start the investment into infrastructure to rebuild our City’s streets, sidewalks, alleys and critical facilities. Long Beach was the only city to see a 21 percent reduction in the number of people experiencing homelessness and the additional services funded by Measure H will help expand services to house even more people in need.
The City of Long Beach continues to lead the way forward in civic tech by launching a DataLB – a citywide open data portal – and BizPort, which makes all zoning and business information available online. Long Beach received numerous awards for its civic innovation, making the list of top 10 digital cities for the sixth year in a row, as well as recognition for its the open-data portal from the SBA and others.
Long Beach continues to lead the national conversation in education through the Long Beach College Promise. Cities across the nation have worked to create similar programs. Long Beach is helping to support early childhood education by launching a citywide early education plan and partnering with the LBUSD to bring an Educare facility to expand services locally. In addition, the City’s focus on closing the student achievement gap led to the creation of 2,600 additional paid internships. And finally, through a partnership with Vision to Learn, every child in the LBUSD who needs them will receive glasses this year.
Looking ahead, Mayor Garcia mentioned the dual challenges of housing and homelessness, issue which most cities are also facing, and maintaining fiscal discipline in years ahead. The Mayor also will continue to focus on making Long Beach a leader on economic development, sustainability, education, technology, and helping Long Beach take its rightful place among the leading cities in California and the nation.
Saturday, July 15, 2017 marks the three-year anniversary of his taking office. He was elected to serve as Mayor on June 3, 2014.