July 15 marked my two year anniversary as Mayor of the city I love, and I want to share some of our biggest accomplishments with you.
When I campaigned and when I took office, I promised to focus on four key areas: economic development, education, civic innovation, and a livable city. I’m proud to report we’ve made great progress on all four fronts.
On economic development, we have seen unemployment drop due a six year low, reaching pre-recession levels. We also developed a minimum wage ordinance, saw a gain of more than 1,900 new businesses, record tourism of more than $300 million, and the creation of Bizport, a website that helps new businesses navigate the licensing and permitting process.
Making our city more livable is a top priority. The passage of Measure A will support an investment in infrastructure and public safety of approximately $384 million dollars over a decade. We’ve also implemented major changes to street sweeping times, doing away with early morning parking restrictions, and the launch of the bike share program, providing a new way for residents and visitors to get around town.
And we’re very excited about the long awaited San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study, which will study the possibility of reconfiguring the Long Beach Breakwater. Long Beach was also named a top ten bikeable and walkable city, the only city in Southern California with those recognitions, and the most walkable in the region.
We’ve made great gains with civic innovation as well. The use of technology to enhance civic engagement has led to Long Beach being named a Top-Ten Digital City for the sixth consecutive year. Other innovations include “Inspector Gadget,” which has improved the building inspection process, and smart meters for parking and water use, which will make parking more convenient and help residents conserve water during the ongoing drought.
To support education, Long Beach City College expanded Long Beach College Promise Scholarships to a full year of tuition for LBUSD graduates! We also more than doubled the number of internships available for local students, from 1,500 when I took office to more than 3,100 today. We are moving toward universal preschool, with hundreds of new spots created for qualified preschoolers. And, several libraries have added Sunday hours.
The Press Telegram recently published an editorial about our first two years, and you can read it here.
Being mayor of this city I love is the greatest honor I could imagine, and I look forward to two more years of hard work and progress for Long Beach!