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©2010 Bob Foster
Mayor Foster’s Budget Recommendations for FY15
Mayor Foster's Budget Recommendations for FY15

July 9, 2014 – Long Beach City Manager Pat West presented the City’s FY 2015 budget during a press conference and Mayor Bob Foster announced his recommendations at the Miller Family Health Education Center today.

 

Please click on the link below for the Mayor’s FY15 Budget Recommendations.

 

Mayor’s Budget Recommendations FY15

 

 

 

©2010 Bob Foster
Mercedes-Benz USA Begins Construction on New 1.1MM Square Foot West Coast Campus in Long Beach
Mercedes Benz

New Facility to Bring Together Several Business Units to Increase Efficiencies

 

LONG BEACH, C.A. –Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) today officially marked the commencement of construction on a new West Coast regional facility in Long Beach, California. The new location serves as the future home of MBUSA’s Vehicle Preparation Center, Western Region and Learning & Performance Offices, which are all currently located in Southern California.

 

The new facility will consist of two buildings, totaling 1,091,754 sq. ft. on a 52.2 acre lot. The historic location opened in 1941 as home to the Douglas Aircraft Company and later served as the Boeing 717 aircraft manufacturing facility until closing in 2006. Located across the street from the Long Beach Airport in a mixed-use development known as Pacific Pointe at Douglas Park, the facility is expected to be ready to begin business operations in the first quarter of 2015.

 

“Southern California is the car culture capital of the world and it remains one of the largest markets for the Mercedes-Benz brand. Hollywood, great weather, a passion for the automobile and continued growth of the luxury market have all contributed to this singular position,” said Dietmar Exler, vice president of sales for MBUSA. “Thirty years ago Mercedes-Benz planted roots in Southern California and expanding sales volume necessitates that we have the most efficient and effective structure to support our dealers in providing a world-class customer experience.”

 

“I am thrilled Mercedes-Benz selected Long Beach as its new West Coast home,” said Bob Foster, Mayor of Long Beach. “This is an iconic brand moving into an iconic building with a plan to re-imagine the former 717 site into a state-of-the-art facility that will activate this property for many years to come.”

 

Mayor Foster test drove an all-electric Mercedes-Benz vehicle.

Mayor Foster test drove an all-electric Mercedes-Benz vehicle.

The new facility will include the following business operations:

  • VEHICLE PREPARATION CENTER – The Vehicle Preparation Center is responsible for ensuring Mercedes-Benz vehicles are ready to deliver once they arrive in the United States. Distribution tasks include receiving vehicles from vessels, inventory management for the U.S. market, port of entry services, shipping and wholesaling of vehicles. Quality tasks include vehicle inspection and factory quality checks. MBUSA operates three Vehicle Preparation Centers located in Baltimore, MD, Brunswick, GA and Carson, CA.
  • WESTERN REGION OFFICE – The MBUSA Western Region supports 82 dealerships with sales and fixed operations across 12 states including Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Texas and Utah. MBUSA has three other regional offices in the U.S.: Parsippany, NJ, Rosemont, IL and Jacksonville, FL.
  • LEARNING & PERFORMANCE CENTER – The Learning & Performance Center provides training to dealership and MBUSA employees. MBUSA Learning & Performance conducts instructor-led training, eLearning, virtual classrooms, peer-to-peer training, and mobile learning to ensure that customer-facing personnel have the information and ability to deliver to the highest professional service. MBUSA operates Learning & Performance Centers in Houston, TX, Itasca, IL, Jacksonville, FL and Montvale, NJ.

 

About Mercedes-Benz USA Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 14 model lines ranging from the sporty CLA-Class four-door coupe to the flagship S-Class and the SLS AMG GT. MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans, and smart products in the U.S. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com, www.mbsprinterusa.com and www.smartusa.com. Accredited journalists can visit our media site at www.media.mbusa.com.

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Mercedes Benz

 

Mayor Foster with Dietmar Exler, vice president of sales for Mercedes-Benz USA.

Mayor Foster with Dietmar Exler, vice president of sales for Mercedes-Benz USA.

 

©2010 Bob Foster
City Health Officer Reminds Residents to Beat the Heat with High Temperatures Expected Throughout the Week
Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau

With temperatures expected this week in the mid to high 90s, the Long Beach Department of Health & Human Services (Health Department) is advising residents to take precautions to prevent heat-related injury and illness.

 

“We are reminding residents to be safe and take precautions to protect themselves, especially while participating in outdoor activities,” said Dr. Mitchell Kushner, City Health Officer. “When it’s hot outside, prolonged sun exposure can cause health problems such as dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Infants and very young children, older adults, and people with chronic illness are at an increased risk for these conditions.”

 

Dr. Kushner also notes that schools, day camps, and non-school related sports organizations or athletes should take extra precautions during extreme heat. Practices and other outdoor activities should be scheduled for very early or very late in the day in order to limit the amount of time spent in the sun and heat.

 

Everyone should take precautions to reduce the risk of heat-related illness and injury:

  • Remain hydrated by drinking water before, during, and after outdoor activities; avoid beverages that have caffeine or alcohol
  • Take frequent breaks while working or playing outdoors; plan strenuous outdoor activities for cooler parts of the day; limit time outside during peak heat; pace physical activities, starting slowly and picking up the pace gradually
  • Wear loose-fitting, light clothing; wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover the face, ears and neck if you’ll be outside
  • Apply sunscreen (at least SPF 15) 15 minutes before going outdoors and re-apply at least every two hours – sunscreen prevents skin cancer
  • Wear sunglasses that provide 100 percent UVA and UVB protection – chronic exposure to the sun can cause cataracts
  • Seek air-conditioned environments during peak heat at libraries, stores, malls, theaters, etc.
  • Check on frail elderly or home-bound individuals to make sure they are not affected by the heat
  • Move to a cooler location at the first sign of heat illness (dizziness, nausea, headaches, muscle cramps); rest and slowly drink a cool liquid
  • It is critically important to never leave children, elderly people, or pets unattended in homes with no air conditioning and particularly in vehicles, even with the windows ‘cracked’ or open, as temperatures inside can quickly rise to life-threatening levels
  • Make sure pets have plenty of shade and water to drink
  • Prevent children from drowning by providing adult supervision at all times and having an entry-proof barrier that surrounds the pool or spa

 

Additionally, it’s important to know the warning signs of heat-related illness, and get medical care immediately if you or someone you know experiences any of these signs:

 

Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to losing too much water and salt (through sweat). Those most likely to develop heat exhaustion are elderly people and those working or exercising in a hot environment. Warning signs include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Paleness, tiredness, and dizziness

Heat exhaustion should be treated immediately with rest in a cool area, sipping water or a sports drink, applying cool and wet cloths, and elevating the feet 12 inches. If left untreated, victims may go into heat stroke. Seek medical attention if the person does not respond to the above basic treatment.

 

Heat Stroke: Heat stroke occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature. A person’s temperature rises quickly, but the body is unable to cool down (by sweating). Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not received. Warning signs of heat stroke may include:

  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103º F)
  • Unconsciousness
  • Dizziness, nausea, and confusion
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • A throbbing headache

 

Heat stroke may lead to brain damage and death. If you believe someone is experience heat stroke:

  • Call 911
  • Move victim to a cool shaded area
  • Fan the body, and spray body with water

 

For more information on how to stay healthy during hot weather please visit the Health Department’s website at www.longbeach.gov/health.

 

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©2010 Bob Foster
City of Long Beach Selected as Beta Site to Help Test Earthquake Early Warning System (EEWS)
Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau

 

The City of Long Beach has been selected by the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to serve as a beta site for California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN) Earthquake Early Warning System (EEWS). The EEWS uses existing seismic networks to detect moderate to large earthquakes very rapidly so that a warning can be sent before destructive seismic waves arrive to locations outside the epicenter. Once fully developed, these warnings could allow people time to take some protective action and could also trigger automatic responses to safeguard critical infrastructure.

 

“We are always looking for ways to better prepare for a disaster, and even a few seconds of warning before the force of an earthquake reaches us can save lives and protect property,” Mayor Bob Foster said.

 

What this could mean for City operations, residents and businesses in Long Beach in the future, is that certain preventative actions might be able to occur with a few second of warning, such as:

 

Allow people to drop, cover and hold-on and grant businesses time to shut down and move workers to safe locations;

Give medical professionals time to stop delicate procedures;

Protect travelers by providing time for trains to slow or stop, for elevator doors to open, for bridge traffic to clear, for slowing or stopping traffic, and even stopping landings and take-offs at airports; and

Enable emergency responders to prepare by opening fire station doors and starting generators.

 

“The earthquake early warning system provides the City with another tool, in addition to CERT classes to prepare residents and all-hazards training to prepare staff, in the event of a disaster or major emergency,” said Deputy City Manager Reginald Harrison. “Once fully developed, this technology could literally save lives.”

 

As a beta site, certain City of Long Beach departments will test the system and provide feedback, so that the developers can further refine their algorithms and software to ensure that the system integrates with real work delivery mechanisms, procedures and product benefits. This testing will be conducted at no cost to the City.

 

USGS currently issues rapid, automatic earthquake information, which is available to the general public via the Internet, email, text messages, and social media. You can sign up for these messages on their website at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes. More information on the EEWS can be found at the CISN website at http://www.cisn.org/eew/.

 

As the City continues to enhance its emergency response training, residents are strongly advised to prepare to be self-sufficient for at least five days in the event of a large-scale incident. Create an emergency plan for your home and family, put together an emergency supply kit (food, water, tools, etc,) and make sure all of your family members know how to contact one another. Further, all residents are encouraged to sign up for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. The Long Beach Fire Department conducts this free program to train the public how to become self-sufficient during major disasters.

 

More information is available at http://bit.ly/BePreparedLongBeach and www.longbeach.gov/fi

©2010 Bob Foster
Watch the 2014 State of the City and read Mayor Foster’s speech
State of the City

Good evening.

 

To the City Management team, the City Council, elected officials and community leaders, thank you each and all for being here to take part in our democracy.

 

To friends new and old, thank you for joining us tonight inside the Long Beach Arena as part of the 2014 State of the City address.

 

A very special welcome and thank you to my wife and your first lady, Nancy. I think we all can agree that she has been a great force and an outstanding First Lady. I believe you could not have ask for a better person to help lead this City.

 

I also want to welcome my oldest son Kenny and his wife Cheryl, and my grandchildren Taylor, Bobby, and Ryan. Thank you for being here and for the joy you bring me everyday.

 

Serving as your Mayor these past 7.5 years has been exhilarating; it’s been uplifting, and in truth, it has at times been exhausting.

 

For me, tonight is the first of many lasts as your Mayor. While it is not without some regret, it is time for me to move on from this job. I have given it every ounce of my energy. In thinking through that decision, it was clear that to continue to do this job properly conflicted with obligations to my family and my personal needs. So, as with the old Roman, Cincinattus, the crisis having been averted, it is time to return to the plow.

 

Nearly everywhere I go someone will thank me for serving and then invariably shake their head and say, “I don’t know how you put up with it all.”

 

Trust me, there were moments …

 

But I can tell you without question it has been worth every minute. Those times when something just would not have turned out as well had you not been in the chair; it is those moments, often small and usually with little fanfare, that improved the life of another. Those are the times that put “IT ALL” in its proper place.

 

So, as this is my last State of the City address, please allow me to thank you for the privilege and honor of having served you these past 7 years.

 

A very special thank you to Oscar Garcia from the ACE Academy. It’s students like you who will take this City to the next level. Good luck to you at Long Beach City College. I am sure you’re going to be a fantastic architect who will continue to play a mean bass guitar.

 

I would also like to thank the Inspirational Glee from Poly High School for singing the National Anthem and leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Inspirational Glee from Poly High School

Inspirational Glee from Poly High School

 

Oscar, the kids from the Poly High Choir were all much younger when I first took office; let’s face it, we were all much younger when I took office.

 

Many of you will recall that I have often said that I keep a 10-year old child in mind whenever confronted with an issue or opportunity. I chose this guidepost because it is a way of forcing a future orientation; something we need much more of in our public life.

 

How will the City’s action affect that child? Will it impose future debt for this child without real benefits? Will it provide more opportunity? Will it enhance or diminish that child’s future?

 

To maintain that focus on the future is to uphold the special trust that you placed in me when I was elected Mayor. Above all the daily noise threatening to overtake it, I must be true to the responsibility for making the right call in the era of modern politics that confuses “loud” with “correct.”

 

All of us instinctively know that we need to provide for a better tomorrow. There is always a tension between the now and the future. The pressure to improve things today is immutable and constant. As an elected official, there is not only the personal desire to deliver more services or benefits today, but also the public demand for things right now.

 

The dilemma is truly confronted when the pressure of today could impair the future. Too often, that is how public policy is shaped.

 

Unsustainable public- pensions are a great example of beggaring the future for benefits today; as are using one-time cash infusions to cover on-going costs; the elimination of Redevelopment, another.

 

I have always seen it as my obligation to improve the future: To leave this City better than I found it and enhance opportunities for that 10 year-old child. I think I have done this in my seven and half years as your Mayor.

 

We are stronger today by almost any measurement – from our fiscal balance sheet to our community fabric. We chose to make tough political decisions that were in the long-term interests of the City’s health but didn’t leave anyone behind. And that is an important lesson to carry forward into a new era of surplus and growth.

 

So, measured by my own yardstick, lets see how the City has performed over the past several years.

 

Financially, we are in much better shape. We have resisted calls to raise taxes. We have resisted calls to use one-time revenue for ongoing expenses. We have resisted calls to increase debt. We have managed our finances the way you should your own, by living within our means.

 

As a result, we have moved from deficits to a surplus. This year, for the first time in 10 years we have started the fiscal year with a $3.5 million surplus. And the projections show a balanced budget for the next three years.

 

Even the adults who act like 10-year-olds are happy with this one.

 

Perhaps the most important issue for our young people is the debt the City carries and its obligations in the form of unfunded or under-funded liabilities. The single largest liability is our pension obligation. The pension spikes that occurred in 2002 carried with them devastating financial effects. The cost of the benefits given at that time is a staggering $375 million.

 

Unfortunately, we cannot alter that decision and its effect will be an ever-increasing budget drain. What we can do and we have already DONE is reform pensions across all employee groups so that current employees pay their full share (from 2% to 8 or 9% of salary) and that new employees retire later and with more manageable benefits. The next decade should see nearly $250 million in savings from these reforms.

 

Our unfunded pension liability has dropped in one year from $1.1 billion to under $700 million. We have accomplished this through a combination of investment growth and reform. And most important, we have lowered the burden on our children who would have had to pay this bill. While by no means resolved and subject to fluctuations, the trend for this liability is heading in the right direction.

 

In addition to a budget surplus, we also put aside funds for other unfunded liabilities such as employee health programs and sick leave reserves. I want to give great credit to those on the City Council that voted to reserve these funds. It was an action demonstrating a real understanding of the need to sacrifice today so tomorrow can be stronger, but it is also something for which they will never get credit.

 

To make things even better, we were able to realize $51 million in one-time revenue to use for infrastructure improvements, technology upgrades, and other purposes. For the first time in many years we have serious dollars to fix our City.

 

Indeed, over the past seven years we have collectively reduced the general fund budget by more than $130 million. Because of our discipline, we have been able to spend nearly $140 million in one-time revenue for infrastructure and other needs.

 

Rabbi Steven Moskowitz from Temple Israel, Long Beach delivers the 2014 State of the City Invocation.

Rabbi Steven Moskowitz, from Temple Israel of Long Beach, delivers the Invocation at the 2014 State of the City.

 

Perhaps nothing is more important to our young people and to our collective future than education. Here, while not having direct responsibility for education, we have helped create an academy at Jordan High School. Most of you know that I came out of a trades background. I worked my way through school as a carpet installer; a trade I learned from my father. Perhaps nothing prepared me for a job in politics more than spending 8 hours a day on my knees.

 

What it did for me was give me a skill to use or fall back upon if other initiatives failed. Having a trade skill is a real advantage, especially for those young people who will not attend college. I wanted our children to have that opportunity; To have a skill that pays well and is a career, not just a job.

 

The ACE Academy (Architecture, Construction, and Engineering) does just that. In its four-year program, high school students learn every facet of construction; from the business of construction to the fundamentals of design and building.

 

It has been a great success. From its beginning class in 2007-08 of 57 students it has grown to over 300. It has a 98% graduation rate and an average of 94% success rate on the CAHSEE examine. A significant number of students go on to post secondary education along with the many that enter the trades.

 

These are well prepared young people. They are ready for work and careers. This program has given them a brighter future. It’s the focus we should have in many other areas.

 

ACE was a pledge I made when I ran for this office and with the great cooperation of LBUSD, LBCC and CSULB it has become a great success. The popularity of such career-oriented academics has exploded and LBUSD has expanded offerings including a new curriculum at McBride High School in East Long Beach. I want to take a moment and give my heartfelt thanks to Superintendent Chris Steinhauser and the Board of LBUSD, LBCC President Eloy Oakley, former CSULB King Alexander and Engineering Dean Forshan Golshani for their commitment to and great assistance in this program’s success.

 

I want to give special thanks to Melissa Brookman who passionately runs ACE on the Jordan campus.

 

Opportunity and education are important to the future, but health is vital for all of us. And nothing is more impactful on our health than the Port of Long Beach.

 

Just before I became Mayor, the Port had adopted the Clean Air Action Plan. And it was an ambitious set of goals intended to allow growth at the port but not increase air pollution. I am very proud that through the clean trucks program, the vessel speed reduction program, and the use of distillate fuels, we have done much better than we hoped. Diesel pollution at the port is down nearly 81 percent over the past six years even with growth.

 

An added benefit to many local families has been the success of the clean trucks program. It has not only cleaned the air but many of the drivers, contrary to doomsday claims by political opponents, are now proud owners of the clean trucks they drive. I was at a ceremony recently at Progressive Transportation where some 68 drivers received the keys to their trucks; So far, there are more than 100 drivers are now proud small-business owners with greater opportunities for a better and healthier life.

 

Seeing the joy in the eyes of these drivers and the elation of their families made the struggle for this program worthwhile. It was particularly gratifying to me personally since I fought so hard for this program to remain focused on delivering cleaner air, not getting distracted by the agenda of one particular labor union.

 

In sum, we can all breathe a little easier, as these changes should produce an improvement in our collective health. We should see fewer asthma cases, fewer missed work and school days, and much healthier 10 years olds.

 

But this is an issue of vital importance that can never again be pushed aside or set on secondary footing to the blind chase of increased cargo volumes. And frankly, our work is not yet complete; the two ports still remain the largest fixed source of air pollution in Southern California.

 

Recognizing this, the Harbor Department and the Development Services Department are working together on a West Long Beach Livability Implementation Plan that will move quickly and bring the community’s vision for enhanced neighborhoods to fruition.

 

So, let’s talk a little more about the Harbor Department. The Port is one of the region’s largest economic assets. When you count the 15,000 ILWU members and 9,000 truck drivers, it is our City’s largest employer. It has embarked on the largest construction program in its history, over $4 billion over the next decade. Even with the important gains I spoke of earlier, it has substantial environmental health impacts on our residents.

 

How it manages its operations matters and its relationship with the City matters. For many years the Harbor Department was run as if it were not a department of the City. Its impact on the City was often an afterthought.

 

This is an unhealthy situation. Everything the Port does affects the City. The City should be able to work with the Port for their mutual benefit. Issues like locating its offices in downtown or engaging in joint purchasing programs are important and can be mutually beneficial – its simply a smart way to do business.

 

The level of fiscal discipline matters not only to the Harbor Department, but the City’s reputation. Port commissioners are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council. They are expected to exercise oversight of Harbor Department management and harmonize City and Port interests.

 

But appointing a commissioner does not end my responsibility for governance. It is my responsibility to assure that Port governance is effective and responsible to the City. A cultural antipathy toward the City is unhealthy and the lack of effective oversight can, and has, led to complacent financial management. At times, commissioners seemed more concerned with their next international trip than cost overruns.

 

Whenever you attempt to change culture, you will get turmoil and controversy. The status quo hates change. Defenders will claim things are working just fine. In truth, no one benefits by denying or avoiding problems. The first rule of business is to attack problems when they arise.

 

I’m confident that this Commission will pay closer attention to construction projects and provide greater harmony with city interests and continue to improve its financial discipline.

 

The Port will continue to be a great asset and will be an even better City partner in the future. Yes, there may be controversy, but let’s remember the dangers of confusing the “loud” with the “important.”

 

And before we move on, it is very important to note that the proposal to build a massive rail yard adjacent to West Long Beach is not going away. Neither is the threat to air quality that comes with it.

 

The Harbor Department has opposed it. This City Council, the Long Beach Unified School District, the Air Quality Management District and 15 other organizations have come together to file suit in court to stop that development. This community and the stakeholders at the port have worked too hard over the past 7 years at improving the air we breathe to see a project in Los Angeles take that back. Long Beach deserves meaningful environmental progress and quite simply, deserves better from the City of Los Angeles and BNSF.

 

We continue to keep a focus on another nagging environmental concern: cleaner beach water. Last year, 90 percent of our coastal waters received an A or B grade during the summer. This is the culmination of an effort that began in 2007 with the creation of the Mayor’s Water Quality Task Force. We fought hard to fund thousands of trash-capturing devices in storm drains all along the LA River –12,000 drains were equipped with these traps. The Termino drain has been completed and the Colorado Lagoon restored. All of this has had the effect of greatly improved beach water quality.

 

We also completed our gray water pilot project, diverting over 200,000 gallons of water annually. And the year would not be complete without mentioning the construction of the 600 foot-long “Great Wall of Mulch” near the Terminal Island Freeway. It would be complete, of course, but isn’t it amazing how much attention a compost pile can get in this town?

 

Public safety is job one for any city and I’m proud to say that with the great effort of our men and women in LBPD, under the leadership of Chief Jim McDonnell, we have achieved remarkable results on crime.

 

We are a safer city than at any time in recent memory. Violent crime is at a 41-year low. That is 13.5% reduction from 2012. We’ve had an 8.5% decrease in property crime and a 9.3% drop in total Part I crime.

 

Those are statistics we can all be proud of in the face of the early release of thousands of prisoners under the State’s plan to shift costs back to local governments.

 

Please join me in a round of applause for the officers and staff of LBPD.

 

We are now able to replenish the ranks of our public safety departments. We graduated 40 new police officers from our police academy. And we have 28 new Long Beach Firefighters from our fire academy. New academies are planned for both departments this year, adding even more resources to our public safety efforts.

 

Our firefighters continue to provide world-class service and response to fire and medical calls. In 2013, Long Beach Fire responded to nearly 70,000 calls for service. Response times for structure fires are about 4.5 minutes and we are able to confine a fire to the room or object of origin 92 percent of the time. Please join me in a round of applause for Chief Mike Duree and all of our Long Beach Firefighters.

 

Mayor Foster with Fire Chief Mike DuRee (left), Deputy Fire Chief / Fire Marshal Rich Brant (center), and Marine Safety Chief Randy Foster (right).

Mayor Foster with Fire Chief Mike DuRee (left), Deputy Fire Chief / Fire Marshal Rich Brant (center), and Marine Safety Chief Randy Foster (right).

 

Construction and infrastructure work continues nearly everywhere you look. We are all incredibly proud of the brand new state of the art airport terminal, completed on time and on budget. It is a terminal that makes a great first impression of our City and I want to publicly thank Airport Director Mario Rodriguez and his team for their efforts.

 

Foremost among the new projects is the stunning Deukmejian Courthouse; a great addition to our Downtown and a fitting tribute to one of our finest citizens. Congratulations, Governor.

 

Long Beach’s own Molina Health Care completed the renovation of the Press-Telegram Building for their new corporate offices and is moving through a period of unprecedented growth. We are moving forward with the reuse of Schroeder Hall as a new Eastside Police Station. We approved the entitlements for Shoreline Gateway, a 17-story residential tower nearly cancelled due to the dissolution of Redevelopment. And finally, Mercedes Benz USA has leased 1.1 million square feet in the former 717 facility. Across Lakewood Boulevard, Douglas Park is nearing full occupancy.

 

I want to again use this speech as an opportunity to bring special attention to the fantastic work going on in each and every neighborhood through our business improvement districts. These folks are the real voice of business in Long Beach, activating our commercial corridors and energizing every part of the City. Thank you to the BID staff and the boards for all that you do.

 

Over the past seven years, we have done much to help our residents on a personal level. From 2006 through 2013 we helped over 27,000 people with workforce training. Over 14,000 found employment and over 4,000 received new training to acquire new skills or upgrade existing skills.

 

Over that period, we’ve helped nearly 900 young people get jobs in our “hire-a-youth” program. And over 5,300 young people received work based learning or internships. From 2009 to now, more than 3,100 companies received assistance through our Enterprise Zone.

 

We also continued to focus on the bread and butter projects that mean so much to our everyday quality of life. From fiscal year 2007 to 2013, we resurfaced 175 lane miles of major and secondary streets, repaired 163 lane miles of residential streets and slurry sealed 75 lane miles.

 

Finally, Fire Station 12 was completed in North Long Beach. And take a walk down the completed Promenade in Downtown to check out any of the new restaurants and breweries calling Long Beach home. And not to be left out, we completed this amazing, industry leading, state-of-the-art “Pacific Ballroom” here inside the Long Beach Arena.

 

To list all the parks and other additions would take too much time, but I will simply say that nearly 60 park projects or acquisitions were completed in the past seven years. From Admiral Kidd Park, to Rosa Parks Park, to Rosie’s Dog Park, to Willow Springs Park, our City has dramatically increased its open space. These are the kinds of improvements that pay benefits for generations to come.

 

These improvements demonstrate that we kept faith with the next generation. We have improved our finances, reformed our long-term obligations, cleaned the environment, created a safer city, expanded opportunity, and repaired much of our infrastructure. Those who were 10 years old in 2006 have more opportunity and a smaller burden today and they have reason to be optimistic about their future.

 

I’m certainly optimistic about our City’s future. Spend a few minutes around today’s young people and you cannot help but be encouraged by their intelligence, energy, passion, and spirit. For the most part, these young people are accomplished and dynamic, eager to work and engage. Yes, they are growing up in a very different world, but despite reports to the contrary, the future is in good hands. Just look at a young man like Oscar Garcia.

 

2014 State of the City

Mayor Foster with Kathy Alvarez (left) and Oscar Garcia (right). Oscar, an ACE Academy graduate, introduced Mayor Foster at the 2014 State of the City.

 

In the future, I see Long Beach advancing on so many fronts. We will continue to benefit from an increasingly robust economy and job opportunities that are far more diverse than today. Projects such as Gateway East and Gateway West will add to our skyline and our commerce. The Port will expand and have greater volumes and a world-class facility in Middle Harbor and an iconic new bridge – with a bicycle lane. Our medical community will continue to expand. Our schools will improve and be reenergized with new resources.

 

Through the use of advanced cleanup technologies, we will improve our air and water quality. I’ll bet there will even be a few tech start-ups that make it big.

 

The characteristic openness and tolerance of our City attracts people who want to live in a place that values the diversity of contributions, and energetic entrepreneurs, without the lifestyle constraints seen in other areas. We are a magnet for creative people. All over the city, there are creative corridors growing in neighborhoods most of you only know because you drive through them.

 

People with talent, ideas, and exciting business ventures are establishing themselves in Long Beach. Our weather, civic harmony, vibrancy, and opportunity are an effective lure for this new class of residents.

 

This country has crossed a job market threshold unlike we have ever seen as a society. We are just beginning to understand the impacts and can only just imagine what the trajectory will be.

 

But this is certain: Employers need a skilled workforce that is trained in languages and skill sets that the majority of the people in this room don’t have. Heck, we don’t even know what we don’t know. Stop and think about it – there was no such thing as an “app” 6 years ago. Last year, they accounted for $10 billion in sales for Apple alone.

 

The technology of the future will astound us. Everything from manufacturing to transportation, to energy production and use will change. We will have to manage this change wisely and use it to our advantage, but here too is another reason for optimism in Long Beach.

 

Employers need access to the graduates of LBUSD’s recently announced California Math and Science Academy II campus, the ACE Academy and the growing stream of highly-educated engineers, science and math candidates coming out of Cal State Long Beach.

 

Employers need programs offered through our Workforce Development teams and Long Beach City College. They can re-train existing employees in evolving and advancing disciplines within manufacturing, design and construction. And LBCC can tailor and scale those programs to the needs of small, specialized firms or large corporate entities.

 

The City’s job is to continue to ensure that its finances, environment and physical plant are sound, providing these great young people – and their prospective employers — with the assets to be successful. The robust job centers of the future will be those that provide education, diversity, openness, strong physical structure, and a real sense of community. The employers of the future will look for these characteristics because that’s where their employees want to live. These characteristics will more than outweigh the antiquated calls for publicly funded subsidies.

 

If we preserve the fiscal structure and principles we have today, these changes will enhance the lives of our residents. Those who are 10 years old today will be thankful for our prudence and our grandchildren will have a chance at better and more productive lives.

 

That, of course, is the job we all share. It’s no different in cities than in is in families. We live, plan, work, and educate to make things better for the next generation. To make the road a little wider and smoother for those follow us; to provide for a more productive, richer, fuller, and more rewarding life for the next generation.

 

All of us have this job; either in our families, our work, or in my case our City. I have taken this job very seriously. At times I may have appeared hard, forceful, direct, and determined to achieve. But I believe I have done the job you elected me to do. I have fulfilled the responsibility you gave me and honored the trust you placed in me. I believe our City, our children, our families, and our future are better because of the job we did.

 

My hope is that the leaders that follow me will learn from both my accomplishments and mistakes in their effort to make this an even better City.

 

If I had one wish to be granted when I leave office it would be that those who come after me would preserve the standards and principles that allowed us to thrive during these difficult times. To place immediate personal or political gain behind the needs of the public. To, indeed, sacrifice their self-interest for that of their city. A big ask, and perhaps not very realistic, but it is my wish.

 

You the residents of this City have a role in this as well. What kind of city do you want? There are calls for increased resources in almost every area; parks, recreation, public safety, streets, housing, and many more all with legitimate demands. Do you want your present concerns to outweigh the future of the 10-year-olds? Do you want to obligate the 10-year-old to pay for things that will benefit you but will never benefit them? You, too, need to think before you demand.

 

Your demands have an affect, one to which office-holders often respond. I would ask you to consider the 10-year-old before you ask for benefits.

 

This position has been an honor Nancy and I will never forget and an experience we will treasure for the rest of our lives. Nancy and I thank you for the marvelous opportunity you gave us. We hope we have lived up to your expectations. We know we have given you our best and we hope that those who were 10 in 2006 and are now young adults believe we have kept faith with our obligation to them.

 

Thank you and may God bless you and bless our City.

 

# # #

 

2014 State of the City

2014 State of the City

2014 State of the City

©2010 Bob Foster
More Tickets are Released for the 2014 State of the City
State of the City

More than 200 seats have been added for the Mayor’s last State of the City.

 

Due to high demand, an additional 225 tickets will be made available to Long Beach community members who would like to attend the 2014 State of the City. Mayor Bob Foster will deliver his final State of the City in the Pacific Ballroom at the Long Beach Arena on January 14.

 

This event is free to the public, but you must have a ticket to attend. People interested in attending the 2014 State of the City can RSVP by calling 562-570-5089 or visiting www.MayorBobFoster.com.

 

Attendees for the 2014 State of the City event are encouraged to arrive early. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Attendees can also learn about volunteer opportunities with community nonprofits by visiting information tables inside the Long Beach Arena lobby.

 

The State of the City will be streaming online live at www.StateofLB.com or www.MayorBobFoster.com January 14 at 7:30 p.m.

 

# # #

 

©2010 Bob Foster
Mayor Foster Will Deliver His Last State of the City at the Pacific Ballroom on January 14
State of the City

 Click here to reserve your free ticket!

 

Mayor Bob Foster will deliver the 2014 State of the City on Tuesday, January 14, at the Pacific Ballroom at the Long Beach Arena. All Long Beach residents are invited to attend for free, but you must reserve a ticket for admission.

 

“I am looking forward to delivering my last State of the City address at the Pacific Ballroom,” said Mayor Bob Foster. “This event has always been a great opportunity for our City to come together and reflect on the past year, as well as celebrate our future to come.”

 

Attendees can reserve their tickets by calling 562-570-5089 or through www.MayorBobFoster.com. Residents are encouraged to reserve their tickets as soon as possible as seating is limited in the Pacific Ballroom. Last year, all tickets were distributed within two weeks of announcing the State of the City. Up to two tickets may be reserved per address.

 

A live web cast of the State of the City will be available on January 14 at www.longbeach.gov or www.MayorBobFoster.com.

 

WHEN:

7:30 p.m. – State of the City

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

 

WHERE:

Pacific Ballroom at the Long Beach Arena

300 East Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90802

 

 

Click here to reserve your free ticket today!

 

 

 

# # #

 

©2010 Bob Foster
Mayor Foster Appoints Lori Ann Farrell to the Harbor Commission
Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 25, 2013

 

Mayor Bob Foster announced today that he has appointed Lori Ann Farrell to the City’s Harbor Commission.

 

“I’m pleased to appoint Lori Ann Farrell to the Harbor Commission,” said Mayor Foster. “Lori Ann is the ideal candidate who has demonstrated financial discipline while she served as the City of Long Beach Chief Financial Officer. I’m confident that she will serve the Harbor Commission well during a time when the Harbor Department will be going through several new changes.”

 

Farrell currently serves as the Director of Finance for the City of Huntington Beach, and served the City of Long Beach for approximately five years, first as the City Controller, and subsequently as the Chief Financial Officer. The Fifth District resident currently sits as the Secretary/Treasurer on the Long Beach Transit Board, and participated in the Leadership Long Beach class of 2000. Farrell is a recipient of many awards recognizing her financial management skills including the Government Finance Officers’ Association Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for the City of Long Beach. She received her Master of Public Administration degree from Columbia University. She has been a resident of Long Beach for 14 years.

 

Last week’s resignation of Harbor Commission President Nick Sramek opened one of two vacancies on the Harbor Commission. Mayor Foster continues to search for a candidate to fill the vacancy created with the removal of Thomas Fields from the Harbor Commission.

 

“I want to thank Nick for his many years of service on the Harbor Commission,” said Mayor Foster. “I deeply appreciate the time and contributions he’s given to the City and the residents of Long Beach.”

 

The Mayor’s recommendations for Charter Commissions require review by the Personnel and Civil Service Committee that will meet on December 3, followed by City Council approval.

 

# # #

Lori Ann Farrell

©2010 Bob Foster
Mayor to Host Two Workshops to Get Local Businesses Online
Long Beach Get Your Business Online

In anticipation of Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, Mayor Bob Foster will host two Get Your Business Online (GYBO) workshops on Monday, November 25, at 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Business owners who attend the workshop will have access to computers and free hands-on instruction in Pacific Gateway’s computer lab to learn how to set up an account and build their website.

 

Event details are:

 

Monday, November 25

8:00a.m. or 4:00p.m.

Pacific Gateway

3447 Atlantic Ave. Long Beach, CA 90807

 

Parking will be provided in the Pacific Gateway lot.

 

The Long Beach Get Your Business Online initiative provides business owners with the tools to create and host their own website completely free for one year. Today, the importance of being online is more crucial than ever. Businesses with a website are expected to grow 40% faster and are twice as likely to create jobs.

 

Google and Homestead, provide a selection more than 200 website templates to choose from, three clickable web pages, a custom domain name, and free web hosting for one year.

 

Computer space is limited. Interested individuals must RSVP to the Mayor’s office by Friday, November 22, by calling (562) 570-6801, or email gybo@longbeach.gov. Please provide your name, phone number and which workshop you would like to attend.

 

 

# # #

 

©2010 Bob Foster
Sister Cities Long Beach and Yokkaichi Celebrate 50 Years
Yokkaichi Sister City

 

 

A delegation from Long Beach’s sister city Yokkaichi, Japan met with Mayor Foster to celebrate the 50 years of Long Beach – Yokkaichi Sister City association. The delegation also met with other city officials, Port representatives, toured various civic projects, and spoke with local community and business leaders to discuss developmental issues that are common to both cities.

 

Yokkaichi Sister City

Yokkaichi Sister City

Yokkaichi Sister City

(Left ot right) Chairman Kazuma Doi of Yokkaichi City Council, Yokkaichi Mayor Toshi Yuki Tanaka, Mayor Foster and Jeannette Schelin, president of the Long Beach – Yokkaichi Sister City Association signed a memorandum of friendship in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Long Beach-Yokkaichi association.

 

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