Four Councilmembers Leave Chambers During Vote On Hotel Panic Buttons
Four city councilmembers left council chambers as their colleagues voted to create an ordinance requiring all hotels and motels in the city to provide panic buttons to employees.  Councilmembers Lena Gonzalez, Jeannine Pearce, Roberto Uranga and Rex Richardson, who did not cast votes, have previously expressed support for a policy now going to the ballot on November 6 that would require hotels with more than 50 rooms to provide panic buttons. That policy would also create numerous workload restrictions, such as limiting the number of square feet a housekeeper could clean during a shift. The ballot initiative would exempt unionized hotels from the workload restrictions. Business Journal Publisher George Economides commented, “In the more than 40 years of following city council meetings I have never seen four councilmembers leave the floor prior to a vote.” The remaining five councilmembers voted in favor of creating the ordinance, which would also mandate that guest room doors be left open while they are being cleaned, and would allow employees reporting abusive behavior to be assigned to another area away from the alleged perpetrator. The police department would be required to initiate regular outreach to hotel workers to make them aware of these rights and of the process to address assaults. In a press release issued today, the Long Beach Hospitality Alliance expressed support for the council’s action. Jeremy Harris, senior vice president of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce and staff liaison to the alliance, pointed out that the ordinance would apply to all hotels and motels, while the upcoming ballot measure only applies to those with 50 or more rooms. He also stated that it would also be less costly for the city to enforce.


City Council Approves Fiscal Year 2019 Budget
The Long Beach City Council approved the $3.48 billion Fiscal Year 2019 budget last night during a meeting that stretched past 2 a.m. Also approved was the mayor’s recommendation that city staff identify approximately $4 million in revenue sources to pay for the restoration of Fire Engine 17, add six police bicycle officers and other items. For more information, see the four-page document outlining recommendations that were approved by the city council.


Federal Government Issuing $13 Million To Aid Manufacturers
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross today announced the issuance of $13 million in grants to help American manufacturers compete with imports and “adjust to increasing global competition,” according to a statement from Ross’s office. The grants are being issued through Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers located in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. The $1.4 million for California manufacturers is being administered through the Western Trade Adjustment Assistance Center at the University of Southern California. Click here to learn more about the program. The news comes a day after the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that the goods and service (trade) deficit increased by $4.3 billion in July to $50.3 billion. Exports in July totaled $211.1 billion, while imports totaled $261.2 billion.


Community Coffee Event Planned With O’Donnell And Austin This Saturday
Residents are invited to discuss legislative issues with state Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell and 8th District Councilmember Al Austin at a community coffee event on Saturday, September 8, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at Expo Arts Center, 4321 Atlantic Ave.