Friday Newsletter


Preparing for Trouble
CERT Program Ramps Up

August 31, 2012

City of Long Beach
Working Together to Serve


Date: To: From: Subject:

August 31, 2012 Mayor and Members of the City Council Patrick H. West, City Manager Suzanne Frick, Assistant City Manager Friday Newsletter CERT The recent swarm of earthquakes in the Yorba Linda area should serve as a vivid reminder that we need to be prepared, not only to help ourselves, but our community as well. To that end, the Fire Department is ramping up its efforts to enlist residents and community groups in the Long Beach CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) program. When a major disaster does strike, Team members will have the skills & knowledge to assist neighbors, co-workers, and professional rescue personnel. Their leadership and care will help those in their neighborhoods after a major disaster until professional emergency services arrive. CERT training is offered each quarter during the year. Each class is taught one night a week for 3 hours over 6 consecutive weeks. On the Saturday of the last week, a graduation ceremony is held that includes a disaster drill, which incorporates all the skills learned in the class. For more information about CERT, please contact Firefighter Will Nash, CERT Coordinator, at (562) 570-2516 or at I-405 Improvement Project As you know, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is proposing significant upgrades to the 405 freeway. Since the beginning of this project in October 2009, the City submitted comments requesting that the study area include areas of concern in the City of Long Beach and that Metro and OCTA coordinate their visions for the 405 freeway. Despite our requests, the study area ends at the County line and potential impacts in the City of Long Beach are not considered. At the request of the City Council, staff submitted comments on the draft environmental documents pointing out the deficiencies in the document and that our requests to study Long Beach impacts were not heeded. City staff, in cooperation with the Gateway Cities Council of Governments, has attended several meetings with OCTA and Metro to reiterate the City’s concerns. This week, City representatives and the Chief Executive Officers of OCTA and Metro attended a meeting held at the request of Supervisor Don Knabe to assert the importance of considering potential impacts in the City of Long Beach and potential future improvements north of the County

August 31, 2012 Page 2 line. At that meeting, OCTA agreed to submit a letter to the City of Long Beach to formalize their commitment to consider our concerns prior to the decision to adopt a locally preferred alternative on September 24. We will provide you with an update as that date nears. Long Path Towards Fiscal Stability As we all know, Long Beach has been working on fiscal sustainability for 10 years now, with the Mayor and City Council making tough structural budget reductions every year to ensure that we remain fiscally sound, adhere to the City's fiscal policies, and not exacerbate our fiscal situation. While this has been standard practice for Long Beach, this is a practice that is not necessarily found in every city. Earlier this year, the National Civic League did a case study on Long Beach, and praised Long Beach for our commitment to fiscal sustainability, our fiscal policies, our approaches to community engagement, our proportional share philosophy, and many other aspects of our budgeting practice. Yesterday, a widely read online publication,, did a story on this case study and our budgeting practices, highlighting our budgeting efforts. Attached is a copy of that story for your review or you can go to http://www.publicceo.comcontent/uploads/2012/08/National-Civic-Leage-Study-Long-Beach.pdf to see the entire study. Big Coup for the Water Department Our Water Department Executive Director, Kevin Wattier, has been working for years for Long Beach to get storage access to perhaps one of the largest aquifers in Southern California, which is just adjacent to our City in the southeast area. The storage capacity in this aquifer has remained unused for decades because our neighbors (Signal Hill, Downey and Cerritos) have been fighting the Water Replenishment District (WRD) in their ability to manage the groundwater storage area. Instead, the Central Basin Municipal Water District has asserted that it has the ability to control groundwater management functions within the basin. Senator Lowenthal authored SB 1386, which was recently signed by the Governor, which makes it clear that Central Basin does not have authority to manage the groundwater storage area. This breaks a huge logjam. That said, Kevin still has to deal with Signal Hill, Downey and Cerritos to put together a plan to allow this aquifer to assist cities in the basin during times of drought. “Collage”: Our Latest Workforce Housing Effort Yesterday, Councilmember Andrews cut a ribbon for the grand opening of our newest Workforce Housing Community, “Collage,” located at 1893 Pine Avenue. This project was funded through our Housing Development Company, with remaining Redevelopment Agency dollars. We de-densified a blighted 17-unit violence-prone apartment building to 14 brand new rental

August 31, 2012 Page 3

units for qualifying families. This, along with other housing rehabilitation in that neighborhood, is making a huge difference in reducing 9-1-1 calls concerning both gang and domestic violence. Habitat for Humanity Next Thursday, Councilmember Neal will be hosting Habitat for Humanity in North Long Beach to do a groundbreaking for two more Long Beach Habitat homes. These two homes will be available to two qualifying veteran families. While these two homes did not have any City involvement, Habitat has rehabilitated many homes in Long Beach with significant financial assistance from our NSP 2 program dollars and from the Long Beach Housing Development Company. These two homes allowed Habitat to capitalize on their existing relationships in Long Beach through our past involvement. Parade of Olympians Our Special Events Bureau has been working with the Century Club, The Aquatics Capital of America, CSULB and the “We Love Long Beach” group, along with the Mayor’s office, to host a parade for our returning Long Beach Olympians. At this stage, the date is set for Saturday, September 15th, at approximately 2:00 p.m. More later….. More Flugtag? Our Special Events Bureau has been contacted by Red Bull regarding possible available summer dates for 2013 Flugtag. This was a huge event when the city hosted it two years ago and it would be an honor to be chosen again. We congratulate our Special Event Bureau, along with PD and FD, for working so diligently to make events like this happen. The biggest thing is for us to be very, very innovative in how we recommend the event be organized in order to keep fees to a minimum, which keeps the promoter coming back. Memos to the Mayor and City Council The following memos were sent to the Mayor and City Council this week. • • Responses to Councilmember Schipske’s Questions Long Beach Budget Challenge Response Summary


Long Beach: Long Path Towards Fiscal Stability | PublicCEO

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While many cities recently have begun aligning structural expenses to structural revenues, the City of Long Beach has been working towards a ‘sustainable’ financial situation since 2003. Now, nearly a decade into the process, the city can be used as both a modern example and a historical case study. Largely, the efforts that have been undertaken in the city have been considered a success. But that success has not come without its challenges, and it hasn’t come alone. And the community was brought in as a partner from the very beginning.

The evolution of the Long Beach community and economy began in the 1990s, when a U.S. Naval Base closed. That base closure resulted in tens of thousands of job losses, and a loss of revenue for a city government that had become dependent upon one-time budget solutions to long-term budget problems. The peak was reached in 2002 when the City Manager introduced a budget with $37 million in ‘one-time’ fixes. Shortly after an interim city manager was brought in, the sustainability drive began. The city sent surveys to residents, posted a survey in the Long Beach Press-Telegram and Business Journal. They heard from more than 15,000 residents. Those residents weighed and ranked the importance of 51 city programs and nine service areas. That resulting data was brought forward to a series of meetings with the public, the first of which drew more than 800 members of the community. Fast forward eight years. The City has cut more than $144 million from its general fund budgets. It took more than six hundred layoffs, and a community that was willing to wait longer for services. In some cases, 8/31/2012

Long Beach: Long Path Towards Fiscal Stability | PublicCEO

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residents could even offer to help cover some of the costs to have work done sooner. The city has also increased revenue sources by about $40 million. They also instituted a reverse of the State’s Proposition 98, of sorts. In Long Beach, the city manager adopted a policy of ‘proportionate share.’ That policy was implemented in 2010 and requires that no more than 70 percent of municipal spending goes towards public safety – which had been on pace to account for 100 percent of spending by 2030. ‘Proportionate Share’ ensures that the city will continue to provide more services than just police and fire protection by ensuring that all departments are subjected to cuts – not just more obscure ones. In addition to cost savings and revenue-aligning measures, the city has also sought to reform its structure. For the length of its history, the city had operated under a manager/council structure – with the council being elected by of at-large elections. The mayor was then elected from among the council members. The city has since switched to a district-voting structure, with a directly elected mayor. The mayor was given the power to veto council actions – and even veto line items contained in budgets. Long Beach has also begun looking beyond itself for ways to deliver services. City officials entered into a public private partnership for a new courthouse. And, working within the constraints of a voter-approved ballot initiative, the city is evaluating proposals to outsource a variety of service including street sweeping and vehicle towing. The process isn’t complete yet. Despite all these steps taken, Long Beach had to overcome a budget deficit this year of roughly $20 million – although that is about half as large as similarly sized cities. Final determination of success will likely no be determinable until years from now, however, early indications show that Long Beach has blazed a trail for long-term stability, community satisfaction, and effective service delivery.