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No Long Beach Curfew Tonight

4 Jun

The City of Long Beach, in a press release on Thursday, June 4, announced no curfew will be in place tonight.

The press release said the decision whether to implement a curfew will continue to be evaluated daily.

City Manager Tom Modica said, “The decision to not implement a curfew today was based upon the recent pattern of peaceful actions by protesters, as well as the current situational awareness in Long Beach and throughout the region.”

“We are 100 percent committed to supporting everybody’s Constitutional rights, as well as protecting protesters, businesses, residents, families and our entire community.”

Long Beach to Reopen COVID-19 Testing Sites; Curfew Continues

3 Jun

After closing the city-run COVID-19 testing sites on June 1 and June 2 for the safety of the public and medical professionals, according to a press release of June 2, most sites will reopen Wednesday, June 3.

Mayor Robert Garcia said, “We still have a health crisis in Long Beach and it’s critical that we get back to testing residents.”

The press release also announced the City of Long Beach is expanding the access to COVID-19 testing with a new mobile service for residents who can’t travel, including individuals at personal residences and those at skilled nursing and long-term facilities and sober-living homes.

Test sites to reopen with modified hours are: Long Beach City College – Pacific Coast Campus, 1305 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Cabrillo High School, 2001 Santa Fe Ave., 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and, Jordan High School, 6500 Atlantic Ave., 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Jordan Plus, 171 W. Bort St. and St. Mary Medical Center, 1050 Linden St. did not close and remain open. New appointments are required for all testing sites and can be made online at http://www.longbeach.gov/health/diseases-and-condition/information-on/coronavirus/covid-19-testing/ or by calling 562-570-4636.

Testing at Veterans Memorial Stadium remains closed until further notice.

The Rapid Assessment Clinic at LBCC PCC will also reopen June 3, with hours 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Meanwhile, in an email form Mayor Robert Garcia, June 3, the curfew will continue throughout Los Angeles County, for June 3, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.  However, the Mayor acknowledged the previous night was safe.


After a Night of Looting, Long Beach Residents Clean Up

1 Jun

After the peaceful protest across the street of the Long Beach Police Department in the afternoon the day before, followed by looting, Long Beach residents, on Monday, June 1, cleaned up the aftermath.

After looting the night before, Charlie Lee (right) and Adam Rhodes (left) clean, on Monday, June 1, a traffic signal on the southwest corner of Long Beach Boulevard and 4th Street; photo by Barry Saks

Long Beach Mayor Garcia, according to an email the same day from his office, estimated “thousands of residents” cleaned up and repaired the City and said, “We had no loss of life last night, no major injuries of police officers or firefighters, and only one major structure fire.”

On the corner of the Pacific Avenue and 4th Street cleaning up were Callie Black, 26, and her friend Lauren Clinton, who is also 26.

Black said, “We are here because we love this city, because this city is our home…. (W)e support the Black Lives Matter movement and we support this community.  We were out here marching yesterday with our neighbors and it was a beautiful, peaceful protest.  Everyone came together.  We saw no violence, just a shared common goal.”  Black added she thought some of the looters had their own agenda and had heard at the protest some white supremacists who were showing up and do the looting, “trying to make the movement look bad.”

Clinton said she was there cleaning up and viewed it as an extension of the protest.  She characterized herself and her friend Black as “vehemently supporting” BLM.

After the looting the night before, volunteers cleaning up the small business, Luxury Perfumes, 100 4th St., Long Beach, Calif.; photo by Barry Saks

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Amen Jhawar, who had been at the protest earlier, said about 5 p.m., he was walking his dog and witnessed, near 5th Street and the Promenade, looters using crowbars to break into some stores on 5th Street.

The Mayor, in the same email, also announced the City of Long Beach ordered a curfew at 1 p.m. in the business districts and 4 p.m. citywide, which would end in the morning.  

A Thousand People Protest Peacefully Across the Street of the Long Beach Police Department

31 May

About a thousand people, mostly people of color, with their signs, protested peacefully, police killings and particularly the killing of African-American George Floyd earlier in the week, on Sunday, May 31, near Chestnut Avenue and Broadway, across the street from the Long Beach Police Department.

About a thousand people, mostly people of color, protested generally police killings and particularly the killing of George Floyd earlier in the week, on Sunday, May 31, near Chestnut Avenue and Broadway, across the street from the Long Beach Police Department; Photo by Barry Saks

They chanted, “Black Likes Matter” and “No justice, no peace, no racist police” and “I can’t breathe” and “Arrest the police.”

In a call, someone would say, “Say his Name” and the crowd responded with “George Floyd.”

Protest sign, Sunday,May 31; photo by Barry Saks

To watch a video shot earlier of the protesters chanting, click here, https://youtu.be/AuG4BkottqU.

Fencing surrounded the LBPD headquarters.

Overhead, a helicopter circled the crowd and much lower a drone circled south of Broadway on Chestnut Ave.

Meanwhile, later in the afternoon, in an Emergency Alert, the City of Long Beach declared a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.  Still later, in a Public Safety, the County of Los Angeles declared a curfew from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Protest sign, Sunday, May 31; photo by Barry Saks

Hundreds of Protesters in Long Beach Protest Peacefully the Police Killings

31 May

Hundreds of Protesters, Sunday, May 30, about 3:20 p.m.,were protesting peacefully police killings, particularly of George Floyd on the corners of Chestnut Avenue and Broadway across from the Long Beach Police Department.

Story to follow.

Long Beach to Allow Hair Salons, Barbers and Restaurants for In-Person Dining to Reopen

30 May

The City of Long Beach, according to an email from Mayor Robert Garcia, issued, on Friday, May 30, a new health order allowing hair salons, barbers and restaurants for in-person dining to reopen provided they follow guidelines to protect employees and patrons to control the spread of COVID-19.

The new order for hair salons and barbers to reopen requires: Physical distanceing; Everyone, including clients, must wear cloth face coverings while in the salon or barber shop and clients are encouraged to wear face coverings with ear loops to ensure the face covering does not interfere with the hair service; Magazines, coffee, and other amenities will not be available; Clients are encouraged to use credit cards and contact-less payment systems and if electronic or card payment isn’t possible, customers should come with exact cash payment or check, if available; Stylists may only serve one client at a time; Gathering in waiting areas is prohibited.

The new order doesn’t apply to nail salons or spa services, like massages, facials and waxing.  They’re all still prohibited.

The new order allows restaurants to open at a reduced capacity for in-person dining with these restrictions: Physical distancing must occur; Outdoor seating and curbside pickup are prioritized; Reservations will be encouraged; Customers will be asked to wait for their table in their cars or outside the restaurant to prevent crowds gathering; Diners must wear cloth face coverings when not eating; Servers must wear a face covering and a face shield; Bars will be closed; Indoor and outdoor in-person dining capacity will be limited to 60 percent.

The Mayor explained Long Beach was able to move further toward reopening because; The City “has met all the requirements” and “has broad community testing in place;” It has a “positivity (sic) testing rate of 6.3 percent, which is below the State’s requirement of 8 percent; It “has over 90 contact tracers in place to identify and follow up on confirmed positive cases;” It “has plans in place to address vulnerable populations such as long term (sic) health care facilities” and shelter for the homelessness; Its “hospitals have a surge capacity of over 400, plus 100 more ready to bring on line at the field hospital at Long Beach Arena,” another key indicator the State requires.

Testing for anyone regardless of symptoms

Meanwhile, the day before, also by email, the Mayor announced anyone wishing to be tested for COVID-19, regardless of symptoms, may do so at the Cabrillo High School testing site at 2001 Santa Fe Ave., beginning Saturday, May 30.

The testing site is open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., every day.  Appointments are required and may be made online at http://www.longbeach.gov/health/diseases-and-condition/information-on/coronavirus/covid-19-testing/ or by calling 562-570-4636.

Long Beach Extends Emergency Ordinance for Renters Affected by COVID-19

28 May

The Long Beach City Council voted unanimously in favor, on Tuesday, May 19, to amend and to extend the emergency ordinance, halting evictions for residential and some commercial tenants affected.by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Robert Garcia, according to the press release on the extension of the emergency ordinance, said, “We are seeing the unprecedented economic impacts that this pandemic is having on our residential and commercial tenants in Long Beach.”

“The extension of this emergency ordinance provides relief to those… most at risk of eviction and possible homelessness during this challenging time.”

The amendment extends the eviction moratorium and rent deferment an additional 60 days, to July 31, 2020. Protected tenants will have until July 31, 2021, to pay all delayed rent to landlords without incurring late charges and other fees. Tenants are encouraged to establish a payment plan for installments of deferred rent over the repayment period. 

If tenants can’t pay rent between March 4 and July 31, 2020, due to a reduction in income caused by COVID-19, they must notify their landlords that rent will not be paid on time. Tenants are required to provide documentation of substantial income losses caused by job layoffs, out-of-pocket medical expenses or requirements to stay at home due to COVID-19.

Through July 31, 2020, landlords issuing rental nonpayment notifications must include information about the City’s emergency ordinance to ensure that tenants are aware of their rights.

The amendment does not apply to large commercial tenants that are multi-national or publicly traded companies and companies with 500 or more employees, tenants at the Long Beach Airport, tenants in the Harbor or tenants in the Tidelands areas. The City and its commissions will work with these tenants, case-by-case to address the pandemic-related impacts and negotiate appropriate rent deferments or other accommodations.

Additionally, the City Council is exploring assistance for property owners impacted by COVID-19, including foreclosure relief, property tax refunds, and the possibility of a revolving loan fund.

Long Beach Residents Empowered, in an email of Thursday, May 21, said, it was “(s)till unclear if the undocumented community will qualify.” 

Ashley Salazar, Legislative Assistant for the 8th District Councilman Al Austin, by email, said, “Landlords are legally not able to inquire about the immigration status of their tenants, according to state law. Tenants in Long Beach would need to provide documentation of COVID-19 impact to qualify for the Emergency Ordinance for Renters. The documentation required only needs to show that there was a financial impact due to COVID-19.” 

The other eight Councilmembers didn’t respond to a request for comment regarding the undocumented, legal or illegal.

The City Council first adopted an emergency eviction moratorium on March 24, 2020 amid the COVID-19 outbreak.  The original emergency ordinance with the amended language may be found at http://longbeach.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=8561735&GUID=0AADA91C-A190-47ED-9BE2-8218CB5C18A0.

The first version of this story had no response from the Councilmembers. The story was updated to reflect the added quote from Councilman Austin’s office.

City of Long Beach Announces Offices, Places of Worship, In-Person Retail May Reopen with Distancing Restrictions

27 May

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, on Wednesday, May 27, by email, announced offices, places of worship and in-person retail may reopen, with distancing restrictions.

The revised order details requirements and restrictions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Establishments must implement and post a Retail Physical Distancing Protocol prior to reopening.

All in-store retail operations and office-based businesses must: Maintain physical distancing to the maximum extent possible, including retail can only open up to 50 percent of maximum capacity and office-based businesses are strongly encouraged to still prioritize telework; Enact cleaning and disinfecting protocols, including frequent hand washing; Require face coverings when in close contact with other people; Maintain the means to identify cases of illness and intervene quickly; Make worksite-specific plans for operating during this public health emergency and train employees on these plans.

All places of worship are required to: Limit attendance to 25 percent of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower; Discontinue self-service food and beverages. 

Potlucks or family-style eating and drinking events aren’t allowed.

The updated Health Order to be posted later includes other changes to align with the County and California’s Resilience Roadmap for Stage 2 related to vehicle-based parades, shopping centers, and in-person religious services and cultural ceremonies. 

Pools in private multi-unit residences or part of a homeowner’s association may now open with physical distancing. Drive-in operations, including entertainment and restaurants, will be allowed but subject to City-issued permits.

Los Angeles Justice Organizations, In the Wake of the Pandemic, Demand ‘People’s Budget’ Funding Services, Not Police

22 May

A coalition of Los Angeles justice organizations, on Tuesday, May 19, held a virtual town hall meeting by Zoom featuring Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles activist Melina Abdullah, Julianne Malveaux and Pastor Stephe “Cue” jn-Marie to demand a “People’s Budget” to fund services, not the police.

Mike de la Rocha, of Revolve Impact, which according to its website, “combines policy advocacy, grassroots organizing and broad-based communications strategies to directly improve the lives of millions of people,” moderated.

De la Rocha, who is the founder and CEO of Revolve Impact, in his opening remarks, said, “Today we plan to discuss with leading organizers and intellectuals what a budget that reflects the needs of the community looks like.  This includes services for unhoused (sic) Angelenos, including housing in the thousands of empty hotel rooms throughout our city, more mental health services, rent suspension and forgiveness for the 55 percent of Angelenos who are currently unemployed, so they don’t have to go back to work in unsafe and potentially deadly environments, more funding for education and a lot more.”

Abdullah, who holds a doctorate in political science from the University of Southern California, said, “(B)y overspending on police, the Mayor is cutting every other department… So, every other department is facing a 10 percent cut to its bottom line… At a time when houselessness (sic) is soaring…he is cutting the spending for housing…(W)hen we talk about crime or so-called crime, we know the best way to address it is by prevention and intervention work and he has cut the budget….(I)t’s everyone else other than police who will be harmed.  We also know more spending on police leads to more brutality and harassment and police killing.”

Abdullah, who teaches at California State University Los Angeles, added, “This is a healthcare crisis with an economic fallout.  So, we don’t need police responding to something they don’t have any expertise or business doing.  Instead, why don’t we employ unemployed people?  Have them go to the grocery stores, and hand out masks and gloves…. We can really make an impact that is positive on communities.”

Abdullah, who is one of the founders of BLM-LA, argued the city’s budget process was undemocratic because “this is the first time ever that the budgeting process did not go through the City Council’s Budget Committee.  So normally, people would have a chance to weigh in at multiple points of engagement…This time he sought to have the budget process fast tracked.”

The Pastor of the Row Church, also known as the “Church Without Wall,” said, “Historically communities, such as skid row have been underfunded… and LAPD has been overly funded … $100 million was allocated toward homelessness in Skid Row …for a number of years and 85 percent of it went to law enforcement.”

Malveaux, holds a doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said, “We know that this pandemic has done so many things to so many people.  We know that …50 percent of those who are dying are black and brown.  We know that we’re on the frontlines.  We are the people who basically stock the grocery shelves.  We are the people, the CNAs, Certified Nursing Assistants, who help the hospital.  We’re the people who are doing the work. We’re driving the buses…but they’re being starved, so we can have more money for policing.”

Malveaux, who is a past president of Bennett College, added, “I think that we need to look at this pandemic as an opportunity to look at all inequalities that exist in our society.  The people who have been celebrated have been the elite.  The people who have not been celebrated are the people at the bottom.”

According to the press release for the event, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti has proposed a city budget that expands LAPD funding by nearly $50 million for a total of $3.15 billion despite clear and measurable decreases in crime; with this budget, the city will spend 54 percent of its general fund on the LAPD, while other departments experience furloughs, pay and budget cuts limiting critical care capacity and necessitating cuts to the essential services.

The coalition, which sponsored the event, included Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, ACLU-SoCal, Justice LA Coalition, Dignity and Power Now, People’s City Council Los Angeles,White People for Black Lives, Ktown for All, DSA LA, Ground Game LA, La Defensa, StopLAPD Spying, LA Voice, Students Deserve, Sunrise Movement Los Angeles, and Africa Town.

According to the People’s Budget website, the coalition Mayor Garcetti was “trying to push his budget through a vote next Thursday, May 21.”  The coalition was asking the vote to be delayed.

The video of the virtual town hall is available at the People’s Budget website, https://peoplesbudgetla.com/.

The Los Angeles City Council voted, Thursday, May 21, to refer the budget to a committee, according to a press release of the People’s Budget Los Angeles. The coalition called it a “victory.”

Audio of Virtual Town Hall—Los Angeles Justice Organizations Demand ‘People’s Budget’ Funding Services, Not Police

20 May

The town hall featured: Black Lives Matter Los Angeles activist Melina Abdullah, who holds a doctorate in political science from the University of Southern California; Julianne Malveaux, who holds a doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Pastor Cue jn-Marie, who is the founder of the Church Without Walls and a former rapper; and the moderator was Mike de la Rocha, who is the CEO of Revolve Impact, which according to its website, “combines policy advocacy, grassroots organizing and …communications strategies to directly improve the lives of millions of people.”

A news story will be posted later.

Below is the audio.