The Report is In: Honoring Long Beach Veterans

Since February, we have been actively discussing with the community how to best re-envision the Veterans Day Parade and Festival.  

Over the course of the #LBHonorsVets process, we have engaged in 5 focus groups with over 20 veteran services organization representatives, 22 neighborhood leaders, the entire Veterans Affairs Commission, and an online campaign that engaged hundreds and generated over 3 dozen ideas.
 
Special thanks to City Fabrick for leading a smart, open, and engaging process.  We are proud to share the findings of this report with you today. 

To view the full #LBHonorsVets report, click here.

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Taking Urban Agriculture to the Next Level

We'd like to share some exciting progress on urban agriculture in Long Beach that we have led and collaborated on this year with community advocates, city departments, and community organizations.

Last May at City Council, I asked staff to explore the feasibility of implementing California's Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone Program in Long Beach. This program would give tax breaks to property owners that allow vacant properties to be used as community gardens or urban farms, as well as enhance Long Beach's emerging local food system. 

That report is in!  In order to create an Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone Program, once the program is reviewed by the Planning Commission, the City Council must pass a resolution that designates a lead agency to establish a local approval and administrative process. 

urban_ag_collage.jpg

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Now Accepting Vendor Applications for the Green Prize Festival!

We are now accepting vendor/exhibitor applications for the Green Prize Festival! In celebration of Earth Day and in partnership with our office, Green Education Inc. presents the 4th Annual Green Prize Festival!

Join us on Saturday, April 22nd at Houghton Park (6301 Myrtle Ave.) for this, FREE, one-day event celebrating and highlighting more than 75 green entrepreneurs in green building, renewable energy, urban farmers, green chefs, green technology, and environmental organizations.

There will be live entertainment (HEADLINER TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON!), an all Home Brew Beer Garden, educational workshops, demonstrations, and guest speakers.

To sign up to be a vendor please fill out the online vendor participation form by clicking here: bit.ly/GreenPrizeVendor

#EmpowerUptown #GreenPrize #EarthDay

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Rescue 12 Restored!!

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.

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SCAG Funding Opens Door to 'UPLAN', A Land-use Document For North Long Beach

Written by: Samantha Mehlinger, Assistant Editor at Long Beach Business Journal 

City officials and business interests have hailed Long Beach’s Downtown Plan as a major factor in the area’s development and success. Now, the city may be able to develop a similar planning document for North Long Beach, thanks to $250,000 in funding recently approved by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).

The idea for UPLAN – an acronym for Uptown Planning Land Use And Neighborhood Strategy – was conceived in and championed by the 9th District, according to Vice Mayor/Councilmember Rex Richardson.

“The Downtown Plan was a collection of documents that updated the land use, created some incentives, streamlined environmental impacts and created the stage for development to take place in downtown. We’re doing the same thing but differently, because downtown is very different than uptown,” Richardson said. “We’re going to look at areas where we can modernize and update the land use to set the stage for more investment, just like downtown,” he explained.

While there are multiple developments planned in and around North Long Beach, there is no single guiding plan for the area, Richardson explained. “UPLAN would be one strategy, one community plan for North Long Beach that ties it all together and spurs more economic development,” he said.

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Long Beach Awarded $1 Million Grant to Support the Promising Adults, Tomorrow’s Hope (PATH) Program!

I am honored to announce that the United States Department of Labor has chosen to award Long Beach a $1 million Pathways to Justice Careers grant to support the Promising Adults, Tomorrow’s Hope (PATH) Program.  This funding is significant as it is one of the final grants to be awarded under President Obama's Administration.  In addition, the City was one of only five organizations nationwide to receive the Pathways to Justice Careers grant.

In March 2016, my team, in collaboration with the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office and Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network (Pacific Gateway) launched PATH, an innovative youth diversion program aimed at giving young people the second chances they deserve.

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Vice Mayor Rex Richardson's Remarks on My Brother's Keeper National Summit Panel

MBK Communities: Infrastructure and Impact

Panel Host: Linda Gibbs, Principal, Bloomberg Associates

Other Panel Members:

Mayor Betsy Hodges, Minneapolis, MN

Assemblyman Michael Blake, Bronx, NY

Sarah Eagle Heart (Oglala Lakota), Native Americans in Philanthropy

Transcript of Vice Mayor Rex Richardson's Remarks

Linda Gibbs: “…Vice Mayor Richardson, the Assemblymember raises the big challenge of implementation. I had the great pleasure of working with Long Beach and helping them put together their MBK plan – and then there’s the big party, and the press conference, and the Mayor and the Councilmember all show up, and everybody’s happy, and then the next day somebody’s got to come back and do the work. And it’s hard work – it’s really hard work. So, can you share with us the structure, how you’re making all this happen on the ground in Long Beach? And what’s going well, and what are the challenges?”

Rex Richardson: “Sure, and thank you so much, and I think you hit the nail on the head. Commonly we think these things are easy – there are challenges, particularly in large cities. Long Beach has half a million residents; we’re the second largest city in the county, 36th largest city in the nation.

And it has to be personal, you need to take personal leadership there – I took personal interest in the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. I was the free lunch kid that my brother here was talking about, you know, single working mother. And so, when I was in a direct position to take leadership on the issue, on the city council of a major city, I made it a personal mission to engage there. So what did that mean?

 

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Vice Mayor Richardson at the White House for My Brother's Keeper Summit

Vice Mayor Richardson at White House My Brother’s Keeper Summit: ‘It Has to Be Personal’

By: Stephanie Rivera, Long Beach Post

Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson participated in the White House’s final My Brother’s Keeper National Summit on Wednesday, highlighting the city’s efforts in helping its boys and young men of color as part of its answer to President Barack Obama’s call to action, which challenged communities across the U.S. to focus resources to that specific portion of the population.

Richardson, who led the charge in implementing MBK in Long Beach in 2015, discussed the city’s Promising Adults Tomorrow’s Hope (PATH) young adult diversion program, and the creation of the Long Beach Office of Equity

“It forced us to, rather than have this as some plan to put in our pocket or sit on a shelf, it forced us to add staff and build capacity and actually implement that plan,” Richardson said during a panel discussion with other local leaders who have implemented MBK in their districts.

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"UpLink" Brings #Techquity to North Long Beach!

Thursday morning, Vice Mayor Rex Richardson unveiled "UpLink", a smart corridor project.  UpLink expands public Wi-Fi access, with free internet service and security cameras along Atlantic Avenue between Jordan High School and the new Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library. It is the first step in using technology as an economic development tool to activate a corridor with students, pedestrians, and business patrons, and further strengthens the connection between Jordan High School and the library. 

UpLink is the direct result of the 2015 Participatory Budgeting initiative, which gave 9th District residents the power to decide how to spend a one-time infrastructure funds.

Along the Atlantic Corridor, there are five new Wi-Fi access points, which are capable of supporting up to 200 simultaneous users. Users can connect for up to 60 minutes of the Wi-Fi service, and can continue their usage indie the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library using the Library's Wi-Fi service. 

To access the UpLink Wi-Fi, simply:

  • Activate Wi-Fi on your mobile device
  • Choose "LongBeachParks" from the list of Wi-Fi networks
  • Read and accept the Terms of Use
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You're Invited to the State of the 9th District!

Join us this Thursday, November 3rd, at the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library for our State of the 9th District! Come out and celebrate what we've accomplished together over the last year, and look ahead at what's to come.

At 5:30 pm we will begin with a Garden Reception Honoring the following Empower Uptown Award Winners:

Immediately following at 6:00 pm, we encourage you to go check out the Roadmap to the Renaissance Exhibits located throughout the library.

Finally, at 6:30 pm, the State of the 9th District Program will begin. 

RSVP TODAY by calling our office at (562) 570-6137 or visiting our Facebook Event Page here.

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