Mayor Robert Garcia’s annual State of the City address on January 9 painted a picture of a city on the rise, with more than $3 billion in real estate developments taking place throughout Long Beach, ongoing infrastructure improvements funded by Measure A, a low unemployment rate and a strong economy. He also took the opportunity to highlight new city initiatives centered on justice and economic development.
Garcia announced that the Long Beach Innovation Team, a Bloomberg Philanthropies-funded group working to create innovation within the city government, is launching its next project: the Long Beach Justice Lab. After completing “extensive research,” the Innovation Team has determined that low-level offenders repeatedly cycle through Long Beach’s justice system. To tackle this problem, the city intends to launch a new team “to provide services to frequent justice system users and to create a data-sharing platform where departments will share information about services being provided,” Garcia said. As part of this initiative, a mental health clinician will be placed in the city jail.
The mayor also announced that he has requested that the Long Beach Economic Development Commission create a citywide, nonprofit economic development corporation “focused on bringing everyone into our economic success.” The corporation would focus on supporting good jobs and “ensuring inclusion for all aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners,” he said. The arts community would also be a focus of support for the new entity.
Also addressed were some of the city’s major challenges, including homelessness, a shortage of housing, the impending closure of MemorialCare Community Hospital Long Beach, and a hit to the city’s General Fund due to a lawsuit settlement over pipeline fees and increasing pension obligations. To view the speech, click here.