HOW WE WILL LEAD
Continuing the City’s fight against COVID-19 and creating resiliency against future threats
We live through the single largest public health crisis that our city has ever experienced, and at the forefront of our recovery must be keeping people healthy. Long Beach has been uplifted as a national COVID-19 testing and vaccination model. Today, more than 85% of all adults in Long Beach have been vaccinated, thanks to our Health Department, health care workers, and community partners.
We will continue the momentum in fighting COVID-19 by investing in a robust system of testing, mobile vaccination clinics in every neighborhood, partnering with LBUSD to get our children and teens vaccinated, and public health outreach built on science and grounded in public trust and transparency. Leadership beyond this crisis means continuing to make the necessary investments in our Health Department to be well prepared and equipped to respond quickly to the next public health crisis.
Expanding Long Beach’s parks and open spaces
In Long Beach, park equity is far from a reality. In West, Central, and North Long Beach, there is one acre of green space per 1,000 residents, compared to 16.7 acres per 1,000 residents in East Long Beach. We must ensure that all residents access green spaces that promote community activation, exercise, and recreation. Parks and green spaces provide shade and protect against heat waves, mitigate exposure to air pollutants, and improve our mental health. Long Beach must work to expand its urban tree canopy and its network of urban farms to ensure all residents can enjoy the benefits of green spaces.
We will champion greater park equity by investing in implementing the goals articulated in our City’s Parks, Recreation, and Marine (PRM) Strategic Plan for 2022-2032. Among the top goals include:
● Expansion of parks in the City, particularly in park-poor neighborhoods of North, West, and Central Long Beach
● Ensuring every resident has walkable and bikeable access to a neighborhood park
● Increasing park programming that meets the diverse cultural needs and interests of residents of all ages
● Using parks and open spaces to address climate change, environmental justice, and food insecurity in marginalized communities
Promoting safer streets and green infrastructure
In Long Beach, we need further investments in our roads, streets, and sidewalks while also focusing on expanding our park and open space infrastructure across the city. Creating livable and green infrastructure means investing in sidewalk repairs to create more walkable neighborhoods, protected bike lanes to create safer cycling conditions, ADA accessibility in every neighborhood, beach, and park, streets without potholes to create safer driving conditions, and traffic-calming interventions to create safer and more pedestrian-friendly streets. We must also work harder to conserve water by implementing green projects such as bioswales to capture and filter stormwater runoff and recharge groundwater resources to promote water conservation.
Investing in clean and modern transportation systems
Long Beach must create safe, reliable, and equitable transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our dependence on oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote public health. As Mayor, we will invest in clean and modern infrastructure such as expanding rail capacity at the Port, increasing the availability of electric vehicle charging stations in all neighborhoods, creating dedicated bus lanes to speed up public transit times, and building complete streets that provide safer cycling infrastructure and improve pedestrian safety and walkability.
We will also work to establish a Transportation Equity Collaborative – a joint authority between Metro, Long Beach Transit, and the City of Long Beach to discuss pricing, gaps in service, and what it will take to create a more equitable and seamless transportation system for Long Beach residents.
Creating a local, healthy, and sustainable food system and fighting food insecurity
Access to nutritious food can help power healthy families. Investments in local, community-oriented food production and distribution are the building blocks for fighting food insecurity, creating a sustainable food system, and boosting the local economy.
We will explore implementing a ‘Good Food Purchasing Program’ in Long Beach that can transform the way our public institutions purchase food by creating transparent and equitable systems which direct our buying power toward five core values: local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare, and nutrition. A good food purchasing program would allow local small business owners and vendors to have their products purchased by public entities like the City and our educational institutions, which in turn allows small businesses like bodegas, family-owned restaurants, and local harvesters to expand their companies and hire more residents while increasing the availability of healthy, sustainably-sourced food for our communities.
Fighting for environmental sustainability and ensuring all residents live with clean air and water, and healthy homes
Long Beach families deserve clean air, unpolluted water, and toxic-free buildings. We know that communities of color and working-class families living in West, Central, and North Long Beach often bear the burden of the detrimental health impacts of pollution caused by the Port, 710 FWY, and other effects of climate change. Combating climate change and promoting environmental health is a key part of creating safe and healthy communities. As Mayor, we will prioritize implementing policies that promote green technologies and combat environmental racism, such as:
● Implementing the actions outlined in our city’s Climate and Adaptation Action Plan (CAAP)
● Moving us toward a future where zero-emission trucks are the norm and ships are required to use cleaner technology
● Continuing to identify investment for the Port’s rail to the terminal project, a project that will make our Port more sustainable
● Preparing Long Beach for a more resilient future where we are no longer dependent on oil revenue
Ensuring greater access to health care by expanding community health centers and building our local workforce
Community Health Centers like TCC Family Health and St. Mary’s Senior Health Center are critical lifelines to working-class families and older adults in Long Beach. The biggest threat to ensuring timely and affordable care is a shortage of doctors, nurses, and other medical staff to provide care. Our City's responsibility is to address this shortage and partner with local higher education institutions to create pipelines from our local schools to local hospitals and community health centers.
Additionally, Long Beach’s over-60 population is projected to diversify and grow faster than any other age group, prompting unprecedented investments in aging and disability across housing, health care, long-term services, Alzheimer’s Disease, and family caregiving at the state level. We will fight for our fair share of resources to support Long Beach’s aging population and the workforce needed to support them.
Increasing access to mental health services for all residents to support their overall well-being
Residents of all ages are experiencing an unprecedented mental health crisis with the rise of depression, anxiety, and substance use, exacerbated by the stress and isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the administration and location of mental health and substance use services largely fall under the LA County Dept of Mental Health rather than the City, creating a disconnected system of care for those receiving mental health services in Long Beach.
Within the first 100 days as Mayor, we will work to partner with LA County to put in motion a plan to establish a local mental health bureau within the Long Beach Health Department. A local mental health bureau will support a more robust local infrastructure for mental health and substance use services by strengthening the availability and funding for the existing mental health providers in our city, support an expansion of wellness facilities across town, as well as take pressure off the local hospital system by adding more recuperative care beds and mental health step-down facilities. A local mental health bureau will also reduce bureaucratic processes that cause service delays and ultimately support more residents receiving the treatment they need to thrive.
WHAT WE’VE ACCOMPLISHED TOGETHER SO FAR
As Councilmember, Vice Mayor Richardson has fought for open space in his community, led the citywide campaign for the successful passage of Measure US, an oil production tax measure, and accelerated implementation of our City’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP). Additionally, he worked to restore the DeForest Park Wetlands and partnered with the Conservation Corps of Long Beach to build an environmental education center in North LB that will educate youth and community members on environmental conservation and stewardship.
Regionally, Vice Mayor Richardson serves as the Immediate Past President of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). He supported efforts such as the SoCal Greenprint, a strategic conservation mapping tool that highlights the benefits of natural waters and agricultural lands. In addition, he currently serves as a Governing Board member of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which is tasked with protecting the air quality of people living in the Southern California Air Basin. During his time on the board, they have invested millions in technologies that offer a clean air future for all communities, passed a historic warehouse indirect source rule that will clean up the logistic industry, and passed the strongest regulations on refineries in the country.
Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP)
On January 5, 2021, the Long Beach City Council confirmed the City’s first-ever Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP). The CAAP seeks to reduce local impacts from worsening climate change, such as extreme heat, poor air quality, drought, flooding, and sea-level rise. The plan includes actions that improve public health, foster economic opportunity, and advance social equity by cutting carbon emissions and fostering a healthier and more prosperous city.
Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones
In 2017, the City Council approved the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone (UAIZ) ordinance authored by Vice Mayor Richardson. The UAIZ Program provides tax incentives to vacant lot owners who enter a contract with the City to use their lot for agricultural purposes for a period of 5 years. While under contract, the lot owner pays property taxes based on the agricultural value of the property, which can offer substantial savings. This opens up new opportunities for local farming and gardening to provide locally grown produce to the Long Beach community.
Uptown Open Space Vision Plan
The Uptown Open Space Vision Plan serves as a visionary document to guide the potential future development of open space. It identifies new and innovative opportunities to fill a need for publicly-accessible open space and recreation facilities in North Long Beach. The Vision Plan, brought forth by Vice Mayor Richardson and approved by City Council in 2018, drew upon community input to creatively identify and enhance public open spaces to provide accessibility within a 10-minute walk for Uptown residents.
Restoration of the DeForest Park Wetlands
Vice Mayor Richardson played a key role in advocating for the restoration of the DeForest Wetlands, and in 2018, the City re-opened the DeForest Wetlands with an additional 34 acres of land for public use. Once overgrown with exotic vegetation or completely devoid of vegetation, the area was transformed into a river parkway with freshwater wetlands, wildlife habitats, recreational trails, native plants, and interpretive signage. Public use includes bird watching, walking, horseback riding, and educational tours and programs.
Special thanks to the community stakeholders who helped shape our platform:
- Ron Arias, Director, Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, (ret.)
- Sumire Gant, Principal of Sumire Gant Consulting
- David Hedden, Director of Agriculture, The MAYE Center, Design Lecturer at California State University of Long Beach
- Connor Locke, Community Advocate
- Theresa Marino, Retired Public Health Manager