Public Safety, Homelessness Among Top Priorities For Proposed 2020 Budget
During a press conference at the new Long Beach Civic Center today, city officials presented a proposed $2.8 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2020. If adopted, the financial plan would prioritize resources for public safety, homelessness and infrastructure. Mayor Robert Garcia also announced plans for a new program, the Long Beach Promise Pass, which would set aside $350,000 from Long Beach Transit and city transportation funds to provide students with a public transit pass.

In terms of economic development, the city is planning to expand its research of Opportunity Zones, which provide tax benefits for investments in underserved communities. A press release also noted plans to expand the city’s Small Business Loan Program, two new positions dedicated to the administration of the short-term rental program and new funds to be added to the Long Beach Development Services budget. The department has been allocated $128,000 for project planning-related technology improvements, including a web-based fee calculator and form submittal portal, and $136,000 in one-time funds for employee training on state building codes.

A majority (71%) of the city’s General Fund has been earmarked for public safety resources. Of those funds, most are allocated to the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD), with a smaller percentage going to the Long Beach Fire Department and the city’s Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Communications. Among other items, the city will add nine LBPD non-sworn positions to handle the implementation of the department’s body camera program and the timely release of public records, as required by AB 1421.

Homelessness remains the city’s biggest challenge, Garcia noted at the press conference. The proposed budget utilizes resources from grants and the General Fund to address the issue. One of the biggest projects in the upcoming year is a new 125-bed shelter in North Long Beach. Officials said they are aiming for a summer 2020 opening date for the site. In addition, city staff said the proposed budget support the preservation or construction of 650 new affordable-housing units for low-income and homeless residents.

The proposed budget for the city’s Capital Improvement Program totals $117.9 million from a variety of funding sources, including $19.5 million in Measure A revenues. Nearly half of those funds, $54.6 million, are budgeted for mobility improvements, which include street repairs, traffic signal expansion and upgrades, and bike lane improvements.

Governor Signs Bill Requiring Candidates To Submit Tax Returns To Be Placed On Ballot
Yesterday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill, authored by Democratic senators Mike McGuire and Scott Wiener, requiring candidates for U.S. President and California Governor to disclose their tax returns in order to appear on the state’s primary ballot. The Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act, or SB 27, requires candidates to disclose every tax return filed with the Internal Revenue Service in the five years preceding the election. “These are extraordinary times and states have a legal and moral duty to do everything in their power to ensure leaders seeking the highest offices meet minimal standards, and to restore public confidence,” Newsom said in a statement. “The disclosure required by this bill will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interest.” Newsom himself released six years’ worth of tax returns during his campaign last year, and has announced that he will continue to release his tax returns on an annual basis while in office, a press release stated. According to David Boies, chairman of law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, the new law is constitutionally sound. “I also would note that people are regularly required to produce their tax returns pursuant to state law for far less consequential matters than a Presidential election, such as civil litigation or obtaining a loan from a bank,” Boies noted in the release. After the law was signed, lawyers for the president announced publicly that they would fight it in court.

Container Terminal Launches Tech To Improve Data Exchange With Trucking Companies
Long Beach Container Terminal (LBCT) has developed a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) to improve the exchange of data between the terminal and trucking companies, the terminal operator announced this week. LBCT, which is located within the Port of Long Beach, is the first terminal to provide an API-driven solution at the San Pedro Bay ports, according to the announcement. APIs allow the exchange of real-time data through a variety of digital platforms and programs, such as those used by marine terminal operators (MTOs) and trucking companies. “LBCT continues to be an industry leader in working with the drayage community to realize greater efficiencies that impact the entire port ecosystem,” Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said in the press release. LBCT’s APIs focus on three areas: container availability, appointments and pre-arrival information. Through the new system, users are able to make appointments as soon as containers become available, in addition to new, automated appointment services.

MOLAA Announces New Appointments In Finance, Museum Content
This week, the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) announced staff appointments and promotions: Cedric Woolford was appointed to the role of vice president of finance, and Solimar Solis was promoted to the role of vice president of museum content and development. Woolford’s responsibilities include overseeing the finance team and all accounting activities, including the museum’s annual budget. Woolford, who has 20 years of professional accounting and finance experience, will also supervise MOLAA’s daily operations. Solis, who was previously director of museum content and development, is responsible for oversight of exhibitions, education, and public relations and marketing departments. The two positions will report directly to Ramos. “MOLAA has the grand ambition of turning the museum to an internationally recognized institution known for provoking admiration and intrigue,” Lourdes Ramos, president and CEO of MOLAA, stated. “We have been on track to accomplish this goal, and these appointments will accelerate us toward that distinction.”