LB City Council hears reports on labor agreements and Latino economic impacts

Non-charter commission appointments also approved.

At its April 16 meeting, the Long Beach City Council accepted an application for the transfer of an alcoholic-beverage-control license, approved several commission appointments, heard a status report on the economic profile of the Latino community in Long Beach and received a project labor agreement cumulative report, among other items.

ABC license
The council made a determination that “the application serves the public convenience and necessity” and received and filed an application from Rice & Bean, Incorporated, which is doing business as The Deuce, for a premise-to-premise and person-to-person transfer of an alcoholic-beverage-control (ABC) license at 2222 E. Anaheim St.

The staff recommendation included submitting a public notice of protest to ABC and directing the city manager to withdraw the protest if a conditional-use permit is granted.

However, 4th District Councilmember Daryl Supernaw made a motion to withdraw the protest.

“We stand in full support of this establishment,” he said. “They have great operators [and] great community members. They have an establishment in the 2nd District that I believe Councilwoman [Jeannine] Pearce would support.”

Indeed, 2nd District Councilmember Pearce did also voice her support of the business, calling the operator a “wonderful business owner.”

The Long Beach City Council voted 9-0 to receive and file the application.

In a 9-0 vote, the city council approved several appointments to non-charter commissions, including the Belmont Shore Parking and Business Improvement Advisory Commission, the Cultural Heritage Commission, the Economic Development Commission, the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network and the Senior Citizens Advisory Commission.

Status report
The council received and filed the first-ever status report by Centro CHA, Inc. and California State University, Long Beach on the economic profile of the Latino community in Long Beach.

The officials behind the “best-practices community-engagement initiative” said the goal of the project is twofold: to understand and address key economic, education and health data for Latinos in the city; and to help advance the “university’s vision around the public good” through community-engagement efforts and campus-community partnerships.

Dr. Seiji Steimetz, chair of the CSULB Economics Department, shared some of the findings of the report.

He said there are currently 203,000 Latinos living in Long Beach, representing 43.2 percent of the city’s population, and that close to 80 percent are of Mexican heritage and 13.2 percent are of Central or South American descent.

Steimetz added that although 33.4 percent of Long Beach Latinos are immigrants, only 4 percent of Latino residents under 18 in the city are immigrants. He said 42.5 percent of Latino immigrants in Long Beach are naturalized citizens.

Remarking on education, he said 37.6 percent of Long Beach Latinos age 25 and older have less than a high-school education but that 15.3 percent of them have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Regarding health care, Steimetz said that 23,289 Latinos in the city do not have health insurance and 2,276 Latino children are not covered.

Steimetz also discussed statistics concerning occupation sectors and household incomes, indicating that the Latino median household income is 14.7-percent lower than the overall median in the city.

“There’s an extraordinarily large labor-force participation rate among Long Beach Latinos,” he said. “If you were an economist, you would just geek out on this number– 70 percent is an extraordinary labor-force participation rate.”

Although he called that statistic “phenomenal,” Steimetz also stressed that, during difficult economic periods, the unemployment rate among Latinos in the city is greater than it is among all other Long Beach residents.

He also said that 16.4 percent of Long Beach Latinos live below the poverty line and that, by comparison, 9.8 percent of all other Long Beach families live in poverty.

The study also found that Latinos work at more than 100,000 jobs in the region, with an economic impact of $33 billion.

The council also received and filed a project labor agreement (PLA) cumulative report through February 2019 on the progress of the City’s PLA application and administration.

John Gross, director of Financial Management, explained that the project is a five-year partnership between the City and the Building and Trades Council of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, and it applies to covered construction projects over $500,000. It provides “labor peace” training by unions and gives preference to local residents. It also requires contractors to hire new employees through union halls and provides hiring goals for local disadvantaged veterans.

Meeting cancelled
The city council also voted 7-0 to suspend council rule contained in the Long Beach Municipal Code to cancel the meeting of Tuesday, June 4, 2019.

Parking study
The city council voted 7-0 to request that the city manager begin implementation on priority areas identified in the downtown parking study and report on the progress of those initiatives.

Worker protections
In a 7-0 vote, the council also declared an ordinance amending the Long Beach Municipal Code by changing two sections relating to hotel-worker safety precautions and panic buttons. The council adopted new language in the ordinance to protect workers who clean local hotel rooms, by including contractors and providing more safeguards from retaliation against hotel employees.

Poet laureate program
The councilmembers also voted 7-0 to request that the city manager work with the Library Services Department and the Arts Council of Long Beach to establish a Youth Poet Laureate Program.

“This is an idea that I really want to see happen,” said 9th District Councilmember Rex Richardson. “I want to see a youth poet laureate program that recognizes our youth, allows them to get showcased across the city for their art, [enables them] to add that title to their résumé as they grow up, [and] potentially think about scholarships or stipends for them that help move them along.”

The next Long Beach City Council meeting will be at 5pm on Tuesday, April 23, in council chamber, 333 W. Ocean Blvd.