Our City is safer than it has been in years. Thanks to Measure A, we have made critical investments in Public Safety. Our police and fire services were expanded to improve service levels and response times across the city. Long Beach ended 2017 with the fewest murders in the city’s history and overall crime decreased by 7.9% from 2016. Long Beach also has a 4.8-minute response time—among the best in the country.
In the next four years, I will continue to support our Police and Fire Departments to make sure they have the resources they need to keep our communities safe. We will also continue to innovate through programs like the Long Beach Justice Lab. Our Innovation Team has been working with our City Prosecutor’s Office, and our Police, Fire, and Health Departments to develop new approaches and help people who frequently use the services these departments provide. Our plan includes launching a new city team to provide services to frequent justice system users and to create a data-sharing platform where departments will share information about services being provided. I will also continue to work to build partnerships with the community because we know policing alone does not make communities safer.
Economy for All
We have made tremendous progress in the last 3 years. In 2017 alone, we hit the lowest unemployment rate in our city’s history, had the best year on record for tourism, and the largest cargo volume ever at the Port of Long Beach. Our city is booming with more than $3 billion in private investment. Long Beach is also home to companies like Virgin Orbit, Zwift and Laserfiche, which have all announced plans to expand and create jobs here in our city.
I am working to ensure our strong economy is working for everyone. We are making progress—when I was first elected, Long Beach had a poverty rate greater than 21%. Three years later, our citywide poverty rate has dropped to 18.8%. I will continue to work to bring inclusive economic growth. That’s why I called for an Economic Development Blueprint to lay out our city’s economic vision for the next decade. It was released last year and will help create a local economy that benefits every Long Beach resident by supporting good jobs and ensuring inclusion for all aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Fixing our Infrastructure
During my first term, Long Beach launched the largest investment in improving our city’s infrastructure in a generation. Measure A, which passed with more than 60% support in 2016, is funding $384 million in investments in infrastructure and public safety. Measure A is already rebuilding our City’s infrastructure by funding 65 projects in 2017 to improve facilities, increase energy efficiency and accessibility citywide. 142 lane miles of our local roads were slurry sealed last year, our Public Works team filled more than 31,000 potholes and replaced 15 miles of sidewalks across the City.
But this is just a start—the Council has approved a 5-year plan that will make improvements to roads and facilities in every neighborhood. Measure A is allowing us to perform infrastructure improvements and upgrades that have gone unaddressed for too long.
Fighting Climate Change
Since I became Mayor, I have pushed to make Long Beach a leader in climate change by advancing a climate adaptation and action plan, developing more biking infrastructure, pushing for modification of the breakwater, signing the Paris Climate Agreement, and tasking Long Beach Transit to become a zero emission agency. As an LA Metro Board Member, I voted for Metro to do the same. And together with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, I pledged that our shared port complex would be a zero emissions facility by 2035, a first in the world.
In my next four years, I will continue to push our city departments to lead on climate. As a coastal city, Long Beach is vulnerable to sea level rise, and it’s up to us to do our part and model the best renewable practices. I want to expand green space in Long Beach, work toward cleaning up the LA River, and continue to find ways to build a green economy right here in our city.
City of Innovation
In my first year in office, I worked to bring Bloomberg Foundation funding to Long Beach for our first Innovation Team. The i-Team worked to make our city data driven and worked with various departments to address using data to further economic development. I was proud the i-Team helped to develop an Economic Blueprint, among other tools, to make it easier for businesses to start and grow in Long Beach.
Over the coming years, the i-Team is focusing on using data to address crime in Long Beach. I’m proud we have historic lows in crime, including the lowest murder rate in Long Beach in decades. I will support the i-Team’s work with LBPD to use data to address reducing crime and being efficient with services. We will continue to make Long Beach one of the safest big cities in America.
Housing & Homelessness
Across America we have seen a housing crisis develop due in part to a surging economy that has driven up prices. While housing costs go up, so does the number of people experiencing homelessness. I’m proud of the hundreds of affordable homes we've built and the thousands of affordable homes we've preserved in Long Beach. We are seeing a housing boom, with several construction cranes across the city skyline. While LA County homelessness surged over 20%, Long Beach’s numbers saw a 21% decrease.
I know we can still do better in Long Beach and that’s why I commissioned a housing task force last year to give the city recommendations on how to build more housing, including for veterans, seniors, and working families. Over the next four years, I want to continue to advance those recommendations. Soon Long Beach will break ground on our tallest building in the city, over 30 floors of new housing in Downtown, and I know we can keep that momentum going.
The College Promise
As an educator, I know the best economic development and anti-poverty program is a high quality education. The City of Long Beach is so lucky to have great educational partners. The Long Beach Unified School District has for years been one of the best urban school districts in the nation and was again named District of the Year by the national publication Education Dive. California State University, Long Beach received more than 100,000 undergraduate applications last year ranking it as one of the most popular universities in the country. Long Beach City College continues to be one of the top community colleges for transfers in California. Individually, these institutions are great—but working together as the Long Beach College Promise—we are creating a national model for partnerships in education.
In 2018, the Long Beach College Promise will celebrate its tenth anniversary. Since its creation, the College Promise has helped thousands of students prepare for and succeed in college and beyond. And all the institutions have worked to double the number of internships being offered to Long Beach students and expand access to early learning and preschool. We also look forward to celebrating the opening of the new Educare Center later this year that will serve about 900 students.