LB City Council implements new procedures for public comment, item discussion

Council concludes hearings regarding properties in 6th, 7th districts.

At+its+Aug.+13+meeting%2C+its+second+in+the+new+civic+center+and+council+chambers%2C+the+Long+Beach+City+Council+implemented+new+procedures+for+councilmember+discussion+and+public+comment%2C+in+an+effort+to+shorten+meetings.+
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LB City Council implements new procedures for public comment, item discussion

At its Aug. 13 meeting, its second in the new civic center and council chambers, the Long Beach City Council implemented new procedures for councilmember discussion and public comment, in an effort to shorten meetings.

At its Aug. 13 meeting, its second in the new civic center and council chambers, the Long Beach City Council implemented new procedures for councilmember discussion and public comment, in an effort to shorten meetings.

longbeach.granicus.com

At its Aug. 13 meeting, its second in the new civic center and council chambers, the Long Beach City Council implemented new procedures for councilmember discussion and public comment, in an effort to shorten meetings.

longbeach.granicus.com

longbeach.granicus.com

At its Aug. 13 meeting, its second in the new civic center and council chambers, the Long Beach City Council implemented new procedures for councilmember discussion and public comment, in an effort to shorten meetings.

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During a five-hour meeting Tuesday night, the Long Beach City Council continued its hearing on the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, as well as concluding hearings concerning several properties.
At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Robert Garcia mentioned that the council would be implementing its new rules concerning the format of meetings. Members of the public must now submit a speaker card to the city clerk before a related item is presented, and, if 10 or more individuals are in queue to speak, those speakers will be limited to 90 seconds, rather than the heretofore restriction of three minutes. Councilmembers are also limited in their discussion time on items. The new procedure is an effort to reduce the length of meetings.
However, Garcia expressed that the council would be patient and flexible as the public becomes accustomed to the new policy.
“We’re going to kind of adjust as we go,” Garcia said. “We’re going to try our very best to ensure that we put those into place. We’re also aware that, as we put these into place, we might need to make adjustments and we might find other ways to do things, but we are going to try our very best today.”

Budget
The council and staff continued their hearing on the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, with three departments presenting: police; fire; and parks, recreation and marine. The director of each department discussed its respective accomplishments and challenges, as well as how funds are implemented.
Police Chief Robert Luna spoke first, indicating that his department consists of five bureaus and 17 divisions that not only respond to emergency calls and investigate felonies and misdemeanors, but also ensure homeland security and protection of key critical infrastructure areas, such as the port, the airport and the Metro Blue Line.
He said that, in Fiscal Year 2019, the police department responded to 208,000 calls for service with a 4.4-minute average response time for priority-1 calls. He added that Part 1 crimes were reduced by 4.2% in the same fiscal year.
“In FY ‘19, the police department funded 50 public-safety operations and event action plans through the neighborhood Safe Streets program,” Luna said. “These funds have supported collision reduction, school-traffic safety, property-crime suppression, homeless outreach, fireworks enforcement [and] prohibited firearms operations, just to name a few.”
The chief added that his department has committed to “smart policing” through body-worn cameras and successful implementation of a technology solution to ensure all officers are complying with the AB 953 Racial Profiling Act. He also said the department is close to procuring a $2-million modernized records-management system.
Fire Chief Xavier Espino said that, during the last 12 months, his department has responded to 72,000 emergency incidents, which equates to more than 140,000 unit responses.
“A major highlight of the current fiscal year is the expansion of the Homelessness Education and Response Team (HEART) to two units,” Espino said. “Together, the two HEART units completed over 2,500 interactions [composed] of 1,800 proactive contacts and 700 dispatches to incidents involving persons experiencing homelessness.”
He then listed numerous accomplishments of the fire department, including: the fire recruit academy’s attainment of designation as a state-accredited local academy and graduating 22 firefighters; bolstering community safety and smart economic growth with 8,000 residential-, construction- and business-related fire-safety inspections; fire ambassadors engaging more than 4,000 students throughout Long Beach Unified School District; and the Strike Team units receiving the Red Cross Hometown Heroes Award.
Gerardo Mouet, director of Parks, Recreation and Marine (PRM), said his department is wide in scope and encompasses 170 parks, over six miles of beaches, a marina, recreation programs and Animal Care Services.
He said his PRM’s budget was developed by leveraging existing resources so that the strategic modest enhancement goes a long way.
“The PRM commitment to our core services and mission is based on the knowledge that we deliver services that sow seeds of joy and health, prevent urban discord and help develop community unity and harmony,” Mouet said, adding that Long Beach has the 18th-best park system in the country.

Housing
The council also received supporting documentation into the record and concluded a public hearing related to land-use-related approvals for an affordable-housing development located at Anaheim Street and Walnut Avenue in the 6th District. The housing would benefit low-income individuals, those at risk of homelessness and residents with special needs.
The development includes 88 units, 67 of which are for families.

Property
The council also concluded a public hearing on a particular area in the 7th District near Laserfiche, which is seeking to expand its operations. The council voted 7-0 to find that the area is not needed for present or prospective public use and adopted a resolution ordering the vacation of the north-south alley, west of Long Beach Boulevard, between East Wardlow Road and 35th Street, and a portion of sidewalk right-of-way along Locust Avenue.
“This is a fantastic project,” Garcia said. “This alley vacation will allow us to expand and support the incredible work of Laserfiche, which is an early tech company within the city of Long Beach that took a chance on Long Beach. I always want to recognize that they went in, took a chance [and] now they’re growing by hundreds and hundreds of jobs on their campus and creating a model facility in Bixby Knolls as a gateway. They’re clearing oil fields. They’re replacing fences. They’re doing landscaping. They’re fixing alleys. They’re an exact example of the type of corporate partner you would want in your community.”

The Long Beach City Council meets at 5pm on Tuesdays, with the exception of the last Tuesday of the month.