LB City staff prepare for how to reach hard-to-count residents in 2020 census

Council increases appropriations for several community-improvement projects.

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During its four-hour-plus meeting on June 11, the Long Beach City Council increased appropriations for a number of community-improvement projects and heard a presentation on how hard-to-count residents can indeed be accounted for in next year’s census.

The following items reflect the first half of Tuesday’s meeting.

North Pine
The council voted 6-0 to increase appropriations in the Capital Projects Fund Group in the Public Works Department by $55,000 to support the creation of angled parking and infrastructure improvements in the North Pine neighborhood.

The appropriations will be offset by 1st Council District one-time district priority funds transferred from the Citywide Activities Department.

14th Street Park
In another 6-0 vote, the council also increased appropriations in the Capital Projects Fund Group in the Public Works Department by $35,000 for infrastructure improvements at 14th Street Park. Those appropriations will be offset by the 1st Council District one-time district priority funds transferred from the Citywide Activities Department.

During the public-comment period for the item, several residents spoke about their safety concerns with the park, including that, by mid afternoon each day, numerous homeless people occupy the space and that it is unsanitary for kids to use.

One speaker was Crystal Jones, who owns a daycare center near the park. She said the children for whom she provides care, as well as her own daughters, play at the park.

“Parks make life better, and I think it’s very important that we improve and change the park for the better, for the safety of the community as a whole, for all the children and the neighbors in the community of the 14th Street District,” Jones said. “All the kids I take there– they love it. They always want to go back. They’re [always] looking for new things and exploring the different sections.”

Alleys
In a 7-0 vote, the council increased appropriations in the Capital Projects Fund Group in the Public Works Department by $20,000 to support alley improvements in the 1st District. The increase will be offset by 1st Council District one-time district priority funds transferred from the Citywide Activities Department.

Fence repairs
In another 7-0 vote, the councilmembers: increased appropriations in the General Fund Group in the Parks, Recreation & Marine Department by $24,000, offset by 1st Council District one-time district priority funds transferred from the General Fund Group in the Citywide Activities Department, to support the realignment of the fence surrounding the Jenny Oropeza Community Center amphitheater; and decreased appropriations in the General Fund Group in the Citywide Activities Department by $24,000 to offset the transfer.

Pine Avenue
The council also voted 6-0 to increase appropriations in the General Fund Group in the Economic Development Department by $25,000 to support the creation of a community vision for business corridor improvements that revitalize and activate historic Pine Avenue and the North Pine neighborhood. The vote also decreased appropriations in the General Fund Group in the Citywide Activities Department by $25,000 to offset a transfer to the Economic Development Department.

During public comment, Romeo Garcia, owner and chef of Romeo Chocolates, which is located in the northern section of the Pine Avenue downtown business district, said it is exciting to see an “activation of the storefronts and that there’s actually a sense of destination” in that area.

“Historic Pine Avenue is a really important corridor here in downtown Long Beach,” Garcia said, “and [this is] an important opportunity for residents and us business owners to come together in this visioning process to make it a continual intergenerational space that’s safe, that’s walkable, and gives an opportunity for people in Long Beach and our tourists to live, shop and dine.”

Meeting canceled
Without discussion on the matter, the council also voted 7-0 to cancel its meeting of July 23, 2019.

Wine fest
The council voted 7-0 to increase appropriations in the General Fund Group in the City Manager Department by $2,679, offset by 2nd Council District one-time district priority funds transferred from the Citywide Activities Department, to provide funds to the LAWineFest, Inc., which hosted the LAWineFest at the Pike Outlets on June 1 and 2.

Census
The council heard a presentation on the status of Census 2020 planning and authorized the execution of an agreement with the County of Los Angeles, to accept, expend and administer County-allocated funding in the amount of $322,141, to support Census 2020 outreach efforts to “hard-to-count” communities.

Tom Modica, assistant city manager, said the census is important because it affects congressional representation, redistricting, and state and federal funding, as well as planning, policy and decision-making.

“In the census, we tend to talk about hard-to-count areas, and so we really focus […] on either people who don’t want to be counted or aren’t aware of the census and how [to] make sure everybody counts,” Modica said. “And, so, [for] some of those hard-to-count areas, the characteristics are low-income neighborhoods, households below the poverty level, people older than 25 with less than a high-school diploma, people who are unemployed, non-family households, single-parent households, people living in low-visibility housing, renters and temporary residents, and overcrowding households.”

Modica added that those populations particularly included: senior citizens, immigrants, refugees, people with disabilities, homeless people, the LGBTQ community, Hispanics/Latinos, Pacific Islanders, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, children under 5 years old, veterans, residents with limited English proficiency and college students.

Next week, the Signal Tribune will report on the second half of the June 11 council meeting.