Small Business Owner Announces 1st District Candidacy
Ray Morquecho, a Willmore neighborhood resident and small business owner, today officially announced his candidacy for the vacant Long Beach City Council 1st District seat. The longtime resident is entering the race to address “quality of life” issues across the district. “Long Beach is a great place to live, but it only takes a walk around the 1st District to see that not all neighborhoods are treated equal,” he said in a statement. “The 1st District has more crime, more homelessness and worse infrastructure than other districts, and we need a councilmember who will fight to fix these problems.” Morquecho has an associate’s degree from Crafton Hills College and a degree in political science from the University of California, Irvine. He is also a former district representative for the vice chair of the California Board of Equalization.

L.A. County Businesses Share Concerns About Homelessness, Infrastructure, Taxes
An annual poll conducted by the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed) found taxes and fees, public infrastructure and homelessness to be the top issues worrying businesses in the area. Homelessness was identified as the fastest rising concern among those polled, jumping from No. 9 on the list of the most common concerns to No. 3 in the past year. The 11th round of this annual poll also identified increased caution and tempered optimism with regards to respondents’ general business outlook. According to a press release, the number of respondents expecting growth to be flat for the upcoming year has doubled from 22% in 2018 to 46% in 2019. Businesses are especially concerned about the impact of proposed taxes, such as the Proposition 13 property tax increase. “Raising taxes for business means they can’t invest that money in their workforce, and it increases costs for customers,” Tracy Hernandez, BizFed’s founding CEO, said. Together with the results of this years’ poll, BizFed also released its 2019 list of the most business-friendly cities in the county, which is topped by Santa Clarita, the City of Industry and Torrance. This year’s three least business-friendly of the 88 cities in L.A. County, according to BizFed, are Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Carson. The poll received a total of 446 responses, 40% of which came from small businesses with 1-10 employees.

Long Beach Airport Passenger Traffic Down 11.7%, Cargo Traffic Up 2.8% In May
Today, Long Beach Airport (LGB) officials announced that May 2019 airline passenger traffic decreased by 11.7% compared to the same time last year, while air cargo traffic increased by 2.8%. In May 2019, LGB served 305,277 passengers compared to 345,882 in May 2018. In May 2019, 1,865 tons of cargo passed through LGB compared to 1,815 tons during the same period in 2018.

California Arts Council Awards Grant To Carpenter Performing Arts Center
The California Arts Council today announced it is awarding $16,200 to the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, located at California State University, Long Beach, as part of its Arts Education Exposure program. This is the second consecutive year that the Carpenter Center has been awarded an Arts Education Exposure grant, according to the center. The grant assists in funding pre- and post-attendance activities, such as artist workshops, teaching sessions and performances. Moreover, the grant also funds the Carpenter Performing Arts Center’s Classroom Connections program, an initiative that features art demonstrations, classroom visits and performances for about 2,000 to 5,000 elementary school students in the Long Beach region annually. “Each year, thousands of students from the Long Beach area visit a theatre for the first time when they attend a performance at the Carpenter Center as part of our Classroom Connections program,” Megan Kline Crockett, executive director of the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, stated. “It is a highlight of every season, and we are again grateful for the California Arts Council for [its] generous support of arts education in communities across California.” The Carpenter Performing Arts Center is one of 124 grantees chosen for the Arts Education Exposure program.