Long Beach Mayor Dr. Robert Garcia delivered his sixth State of the City address on Jan. 14, 2020 at the Terrace Theater in front of more than 2,500 spectators.
Mayor Garcia’s speech began with a reflection of how Long Beach became what it is today, since its official establishment in 1887. He identified the city for its crucial role during WWII with its booming aerospace in the 40s and its worldly port influence, to the Cambodians seeking refuge and how the Queen Mary became such an integral part from Great Britain to Long Beach!
Now fast forward to the start of the new decade in Long Beach? Garcia states: “The state of this City is strong”. His main part of this year’s speech included details on:
- Street and sidewalks being built at a rapid pace
- The incredible Downtown skyline transformation
- New homes and units being built
- The greater economic activity and tourism of Long Beach
- Employment rates lowered
- Saving more animal lives – euthanasia rates at an all time low
- Long Beach is a hub for the future of the space industry
- Uptown Commons in North Long Beach is finally being developed
- The $8.6 billion economic activity at the airport
- The new lawn to garden incentives from the water department
Garcia spoke further about the port making waves into the future with:
- 21% increase in container traffic
- 18% reduced greenhouse gas emissions
- 88% reduced diesel particulates
Public safety was also a big subject; crime rates had lowered evidently with a great difference since the past two decades. He reasoned that amongst the community there is more “hyper awareness of crimes happening thanks to social media […] better after school programming…” Garcia mentioned by the summer officers will have body cameras.
Mayor Garcia spoke at length about housing affordability and the statewide homelessness crisis. New and improved homeless services include: safe parking program, navigation centers and storage, pairing a homeless person with a workforce program, jailhouse clinician, and finally the anticipated year round city shelter operating as from Summer 2020.
And what is the single biggest factor driving Long Beach to success? Garcia proudly stated the strong public education system, naming Cal State Long Beach as the 7thmost applied college in the United States, and Long Beach City College having enhanced apprenticeship programs and expanded internships with a 2-year tuition free fee.
The Go Long Beach app is to launch a 2.0 version, which effectively means 24 hours of the city online directly in your hand. A new “One Number” service (562) 570-5000 to connect the public to any department you need with the aim of improvingresidences’ lives and in return make government life more efficient.
Mayor Garcia ended his remarks in full 360 with the return of the Queen Mary and the importance of its stature and maintenance in Long Beach. His plan for the ship’s future: an economic impact study, a Historic Preservation Blueprint detailing critical repairs, and a revised development plan for the 40 acres surrounding the Queen Mary.
Finally let’s not forget the strongest value of Long Beach still stands for diversity and inclusion!
By Yasmine Tanres