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A Reshuffling of Funds Helps to Restore Services to Long Beach Fire and Police Departments

Written by: Jason Ruiz - Long Beach Post

It’s been seven years since North Long Beach has had its own paramedic rescue unit, but after Tuesday night’s Long Beach City Council meeting, those days are numbered. The council voted unanimously to restore Rescue 12 as well as resume police academy activity, delivering on its promise to revamp the city’s public safety infrastructure after the passage of Measure A in November.

Vice Mayor Rex Richardson recounted his days as the chief of staff to his predecessor, then Ninth District Councilman Steven Neal, when the word came down that Rescue 12 would be part of the city’s budget cuts in 2010. The vice mayor said that it led to some uncomfortable conversations with constituents about the loss of a vital public safety asset and how it would impact response times.

Those response times increased nearly a full minute over a decade, rising from five minutes and 29 seconds on all calls in 2005 to six minutes and 16 seconds in 2015. As of last year the city’s fire department was only meeting the national average for response times on 44 percent of calls leading to a number of his constituents appearing before the council in November to detail the sometimes agonizing waits they’ve endured while waiting for emergency responders to show up in North Long Beach.

Vice Mayor Rex Richardson's Weekly Letter

Dear Friends, 


Long Beach has a rich history of honoring our veterans and supporting our military families. We hold those who have put on our country’s uniform in the highest esteem.

We’ve worked on creating job and educational opportunities for veterans returning home from their service. We recently established a new Veterans Affairs Commission comprised of Long Beach residents that will provide recommendations for programs and policies to help our veterans. Our city has been nationally recognized for providing a path to housing for our veterans who have experienced homelessness.

Simply stated, our veterans have Long Beach’s utmost respect, and it is our responsibility as community leaders to ensure they get the recognition and services they deserve.

For 20 years, North Long Beach has hosted an annual celebration anchored at Houghton Park to remember the sacrifices made by those who have fought for our freedoms. The Long Beach Veterans Day Parade and Festival has been a great opportunity for our entire community to come together and salute those who have served.

A recent article in the local media suggested that the number of those in attendance has decreased over the years. It’s true, and it’s time for that to change.

In recent years, our community has demonstrated a proven track record of producing high-quality programming with record attendance levels right here in North Long Beach. Beach Streets Uptown, which kicked off in North Long Beach, saw 30,000 people in attendance. The Uptown Jazz Festival at Houghton Park last year saw 7,000 people in attendance. And, the “Activate Uptown” Open Street Block Party on Artesia Boulevard last year saw over 15,000 in attendance.

With record civic participation at events like these, and a new focus on the revitalization of the Atlantic corridor with a new Business Improvement District, the new Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library as an anchor, and exciting new development on the horizon, we have a real opportunity to capitalize on this excitement and to reinvigorate the efforts to honor our veterans and continue the legacy of this North Long Beach signature event.

As a community, we are committed to ensuring every veteran is celebrated, no matter their age, race, or gender.  That is why we’re moving forward with a process to re-envision the Veterans Day Parade and Festival.  We’ll do this three ways.

  1. First, we will be rolling out a series of focus groups with various veteran organizations and partners to learn more about what is currently most important to veterans, and what a celebration honoring their service means to them.

  2. Second, we will be asking our city’s new Veterans Affairs Commission to provide their input on re-envisioning the parade and festival to reflect the interests of a new generation of veterans, while still honoring tradition.

  3. And finally, we’re asking YOU to brainstorm and share your ideas with us on how to best honor our local heroes. Use the hashtag #LBHonorsVets and dedicate your idea to a veteran you know with a photo or post to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

We’ll take all these ideas and dedications, and incorporate them into a plan for a revitalized and vibrant celebration for our veterans which will be shared in the next few weeks.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Go Uptown!


Vice Mayor Rex Richardson