I wanted to take a moment to wish you a Happy Holidays and a great New Year. I’m so thankful for all your support, and very proud to represent you. Thanks to you, our community partners, local business, and our city team, we have had a successful 2010.
Take a look at our 2010 Year in Review:
A Leaner & More Efficient Government
We passed a lean budget again this year, but retained critical services and in many ways made government more efficient and leaner. Even in a difficult economy, we were able to increase funding for sidewalks & streets. In this upcoming budget, public pension reform will be our top priority.
Crime Continues To Drop
Crime has continued to drop this year not only in the First District, but City-wide. While we still have serious public safety challenges, our police officers and community partners are making impressive progress.
Breakwater Study Moves Forward
We are moving forward with funding the city's commitment to study the reconfiguration of the Breakwater. We led letter writing efforts and submitted over 700 letters of support to the Army Corps of Engineers. This November, the Mayor and the Army Corps signed the agreement to begin the study on removing and reconfiguring parts of the Breakwater. This may be able to bring waves back our beaches, improve water quality and marine life, and still preserve the safety and security of our oil-producing islands and homes and businesses near the beach and on the peninsula.
Airport Terminal Improvements Begin
Thanks to our dedicated Airport Management team, we have begun work on a multi-million dollar renovation of the Long Beach Airport. A new passenger concourse is being built, and a new parking structure is well on its way to completion. Visitors and residents alike will be welcomed by a state of the art Airport with all the modern amenities that we expect when we travel.
A New Courthouse Downtown
We successfully completed a land swap that will allow the state to build a new County Courthouse on Broadway in the West Gateway area. The new Courthouse will be located in the First District and will bring new jobs, businesses and commerce to the area. Our letter-writing campaign helped ensure that the State will respect the needs of our community when designing and building the new courthouse downtown.
Opening & Supporting New Businesses
Our office has been working with the Downtown Long Beach Associates and local neighborhood groups in a retail retention and recruitment process. We have welcomed new businesses into the First District, and are looking forward to major new retail openings later this year. New businesses include the new Kress Market on Pine, The Fourth Street Deli, the Infinite Yoga Studio, and other new boutiques and national chains. Fresh & Easy opens in Downtown in the Spring.
New Parks & Open Space
We are working with numerous communities to build and open new parks and green spaces. Here are some of our projects:
- 14th Street Skate Park: We secured funding and opened the 14th Street Skate Park, a world-class skate park long sought by residents.
- 14th Street Basketball Courts: We have secured funding and are breaking ground on the new Court @ 14th Street in Winter of 2011.
- Seaside Park: The major work on this park is complete, and we are dedicating and opening the park in Winter of 2011. This park includes a new soccer field, a new playground and large open spaces.
- Drake Park Expansion: We have completed the planning stages of the Drake/Chavez greenbelt and expansion project, and have secured the funds for the Environmental Impact Report that will start in early 2011.
- Mary Molina Community Garden: We will breakground for the new Westside community garden in Winter of 2011.
- Craftsman Park: Designs Funding was secured for this pocket park in one of our densest neighborhoods off of Orange and 7th Street. Construction will begin in Summer/Fall of 2011.
Planted Over 200 New Trees
We have planted over 200 new trees throughout Downtown Long Beach with the support of our city departments, the Redevelopment Agency, the Downtown Long Beach Associates, and community volunteers.
Created 400 New Parking Spaces
Our parking initiative has completed its first stage, with several businesses having agreed to participate in opening their lots to the public at night, and we are in conversations with several more. With the help of city staff, we have already created 400 new spaces district-wide.
Installed Over 175 New Bike Racks
We have installed over 175 new bike racks throughout the First District.
Bikes on the Bridge
We got the Port to consider the inclusion of protected bike lanes in plans for the Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement.
Pacific Avenue Taskforce
We formed the Pacific Avenue Taskforce, which has been working on projects all along Pacific Avenue. This taskforce has succeeded in planting new trees, installing new trashcans, painting utility boxes, painting the light poles, updating the Pacific Avenue community garden, installing bike racks, new street banners, and cleaning up over 80 building code violations.
North Pine Avenue Taskforce
This new taskforce is focusing on Pine Avenue between 3rd Street and Anaheim and will team up with the North Pine Neighborhood Alliance, interested area residents, Pine Avenue businesses, the City's Community Development Department, the Redevelopment Agency and Downtown Long Beach Associates to put together a plan to address numerous challenges and opportunities along one of our City's most important streets. We will be addressing business façade improvements, green spaces, tree plantings, and residential properties.
Storefront Activation Program
We have launched a storefront activation program with the support of the Redevelopment Agency, Downtown Long Beach Associates and the Arts Council of Long Beach. In the last few months, we have activated empty lots and storefronts at the old Newberry building and City Place storefronts on the 400 and 500 blocks of Pine with graphic art. With help from We Love Long Beach, we painted 25 murals on the old Press-Telegram building at 600 Pine, and installed Dolphin Art at what was once the last boarded up lot on Pine Avenue.
Pine Avenue Streetscape Plan
In 2011, we will break ground on the new Pine Avenue Streetscape. Included in the new plan will be new sidewalks, landscaping, street furniture, lighting and pedestrian walkways for Pine Avenue between Ocean and 8th. This important project will provide a major facelift for Pine Avenue.
New City Urban Farm
We broke ground and began planting at the New City Farm, which is now being operated by New City Schools. It adds green space to our community by provide exciting, hands-on educational opportunities to students and community members. The Farm comes out of a partnership we facilitated between the Long Beach Housing Development Company and the New City School.
Daisy Avenue Revitalization
The oldest neighborhood in Long Beach, Wilmore City, is the focus of a revitalization effort that began this year. We have begun the process of enhanced code enforcement, police patrols, façade improvement grants, and other restorations to improve the Daisy Avenue business and neighborhood district.
Latin American Parade and Festival
The Downtown Long Beach Associates and our office spearheaded the second annual Long Beach Latin-American Parade and Festival. It was a huge success, and we look forward to an even bigger event next year. We had nearly ten thousand attendees at the festival this fall, including visitors from all over the region.
Habitat for Humanity
Working closely with Mayor Foster and the Long Beach Housing Development, we secured 6 new Habitat for Humanity homes in our district, and two have been built so far. These low-mortgage houses make a beautiful addition to the Washington Middle School neighborhood, and provide opportunities for hard-working residents to achieve the dream of home ownership. We will continue working on similar projects with Habitat in the future.
Public Works Projects
- Historic Downtown light poles: The old blue historic light poles north of 3rd street had not been painted in many years, and were discolored, blighted and in need of repair. We put a new coat of paint on the light poles down Pacific and 8th, and are repainting the poles on Long Beach Blvd. as well. They look great, and really improve the look of the neighborhood.
- 7th & Maine Project: Working with the Willmore City Neighborhood, we created a small garden and seating area at 7th & Maine. The site used to be used as an old dumping ground for shopping carts and trash. Today it is a beautifully landscaped garden oasis for local residents and school children, and work is continuing to enhance this location as a community asset.
-Fixed the following sidewalks:
1. Henderson Ave. between 15th St. and 17th St.
2. 10th St. between Maine Ave. and Daisy Ave.
3. Cedar Ave. between 4th St. and 5th St.
4. 4th St. between Linden Ave. and Atlantic Ave.
5. Orange Ave. (west side) between 9th St. to 10th St.
6. Elm Ave. between 9th St. and 10th St.
7. 5th St. between Lime Ave. and Olive Ave.
8. 11th St. between Daisy Ave. and Magnolia Ave.
9. Elm Ave. between 9th St. to 10th St.
10. 11th St. between Daisy Ave. to Magnolia Ave.
11. Chestnut Ave. between 6th St to 7th St.
12. Pacific Ave. between 8th St. to 9th St.
13. 14th St. between Elm Ave. to Linden Ave.
14. 5th St. between Lime Ave. to Olive Ave.
15. Magnolia Ave. between 9th St. to 10th St.
16. 9th St. between Maine Ave. to Daisy Ave.
17. 1345 Linden Ave.
- Courts repaired:
1. Crystal Court from 11th St. to Loma Vista Dr.
2. Virginia Court from 11th St. to Loma Vista Dr.
- Major Streets repaired:
1. Long Beach Blvd from Ocean to 10th.
2. Pacific Avenue from Ocean to 7th.
We are working on extending these two projects to Anaheim for 2011
- Willmore City historic signs installed:
1. 4th and Magnolia
2. 10th and Park Ct.
3. 6th and Chestnut
4. 7th and Cedar
5. 10th and Magnolia
6. Chester Pl. and Loma Vista
7. Chestnut and Loma Vista
This list does not include the many curbs we have re-painted, trashcans we have installed, and other public works projects.
Port Mitigation Grants
The City Council secured 15 million dollars from the Port of Long Beach to mitigate and reduce the impact of pollution on our residents. The funds will purchase health equipment, increase green space, and support the health of our City in a number of ways.
Our top priority in my office is serving residents and addressing your concerns. We have facilitated hundreds of solution to citizens’ concerns about graffiti, tree trimmings, crime, and infrastructure improvements. We pride ourselves in great service, and quick responses.
I authored or cosponsored several important pieces of legislation in 2010. They include:
- Development of the “Go Long Beach” iPhone application for the City of Long Beach: The smartphone application was launched this spring, and brings our city one step closer to becoming a technology leader. More applications are currently being developed, too.
- Google Campaign: Passed resolution to apply for the new innovative Google Broadband service and executed letter writing campaign for it.
- Lobbying Ordinance: The City Council unanimously approved a new Lobbying Ordinance that Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske and I proposed, and all lobbyists must now register with the city and report their activities. My thanks as well to the City Attorney for crafting a solid and fair ordinance. It moves us in the direction of a more transparent government.
- The creation of www.HireLB.com: We launched the city's first job portal. The new site connects local jobseekers to employers, and assists residents and businesses to access city services and programs.
- Downtown business fee waiver: I cosponsored legislation to cancel the increase in Business License Assessment rates downtown, helping businesses in these tough economic times.
- Reduce Recidivism: I was proud to cosponsor legislation that directed the Police to report with a plan for dealing with prisoners who are released to Long Beach. The Police reported on several policies and programs in place to ensure these individuals return to society peacefully and productively.
- Cost recovery and abatement of criminal nuisances: I cosponsored legislation to explore ways the city can reduce its costs, and more effectively hold residents and property owners responsible, when dealing with nuisance properties.
- The Equal Benefits Ordinance: This ordinance, ensuring that the city only does business with companies that provide benefits for registered domestic partners equal to those of married spouses, went into effect this year. I’m very proud that our city is taking a stand for equality and civil rights.
- Arts Initiative: I sponsored and passed a comprehensive arts legislation package that included the creation of a Blue Ribbon Commission to examine ways to increase funding for arts and improve the distribution of those funds in the community; the striking an obsolete section of the municipal code that banned all street performances apart from special events; the creation of a new permitting process for nontraditional entertainment venues like bookstores, cafes and art galleries, allowing them to offer some entertainment as a way of activating their shops and neighborhood commercial districts; and an exemption for struggling artists paying a business tax on a live work space. We’re already seeing the results as businesses expand their offerings and the Blue Ribbon Commission prepares to make its recommendations.
- Public Calendars: Legislation I authored in 2009 took effect this year, and all elected officials now have an easy way to make their calendars public, if they choose to, so that the public can track our activities and see what we are doing on behalf of residents. My calendar has been public since our first day in office.
- Smoking Ban in Parks: In a great victory for clean air, health, and the welfare of children, smoking is now illegal in all parks. Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal has been a great partner in our smoking ban efforts.
- Michael K. Green Skatepark: To honor one of our city’s fallen role models, and to honor his family and all the young people who looked up to him, we named the new skate park at 14th and Pacific after Michael K. Green, a Long Beach teenager tragically killed in 2005, despite being a good student and a good friends to adults and teens alike. The park is open and very popular with Michael’s friends and the whole community.
- Bicycle registration: Just this month, we began the process of getting rid of an outdated and cumbersome mandatory registration system that wasn’t working, and making registering your bike voluntary instead. This new law is expected to take effect early next year.
These accomplishments could not have been possible without your support. A big thank you as well to my City Council staff, our City Staff, our local business owners, and most importantly, my neighbors and friends.