Long Beach, News

Long Beach second on list of worst-run cities in the U.S.

After WalletHub ranked Long Beach the second worst ran city in the United States last week, Ed Kamlan, the Long Beach City Manager’s media contact, questioned the study’s research methodology.

“We can’t comment on exactly how [WalletHub] reached their conclusion,” Kamlan said. “But clearly we are very proud of Long Beach’s efforts in all three of these areas and firmly believe that Long Beach is a very well-run city.”

WalletHub’s list of 2015’s Best & Worst Run Cities in America clocked Long Beach in at second-to-last out of the 65 most-populated major cities in the United States.

WalletHub based their findings off a scale of returns on public spending investments. In order of most to least weighted, the three departments surveyed for each city were the Education Department, the Police Department and the Parks and Recreation Department.

Only 40 percent of Long Beach students in the Long Beach Unified School District were within the average standardized test score range, which is the main reason Long Beach placed so low on the list, according to WalletHub.

Kamlan said that the Long Beach City government does not actually run the school system itself. He said that those decisions are left up to the district.

“However, Long Beach School District has been named one of the top five urban school districts in the world, and has won the Broad Prize for Urban Education (and been a finalist several times),” Kamlan said.

WalletHub also calculated returns on investments based on crime rates and spending per capita and said that Long Beach had about a 3 percent crime rate in comparison to other cities, but a $585 per capita expenditure on police forces.

“I think Long Beach shouldn’t be ranked the second-worst city in America because I feel it’s [more safe],” junior finance major Thomas Nou said. “Since I’ve been living here for 21 years, it hasn’t been something too dramatic where there’s shootings every single day and stuff like that. And where I live, it’s also not in a nice area, but I still feel like it’s safe.”

Kamlan said that Long Beach is experiencing 42-year lows in violent crime and that the Parks Department was the Gold Medal winner in 2013 for best in the nation.

Heather Donner, a sophomore communications major, said she admits that she has not had much experience with the Police Department in the city, but that “they have a lot more on their plate” in comparison to her small hometown where police only “[write] speeding tickets and shut down parties.”

Donner said that she thinks Long Beach has a “bad rap,” but that she still thinks more can be done to improve. Donner said she grew up in Northern California and had access to multiple parks in her hometown that were all within walking distance.

“The kids in our apartment are always stuck playing in the tiny little quad in the center of our apartment, and I always feel bad that they don’t really have anywhere else to go to play,” Donner said. “I know there isn’t a ton of space, but I’ve noticed some random vacant lots or grass lots so I think it would be really beneficial to add some playgrounds.”

Kamlan said the Parks Department won their 2013 award largely in part due to “efforts to increase park space in park-poor areas of the City.”

Fremont was the only other city to rank lower than Long Beach on the list. Other California cities studied include Anaheim at number 51 and Los Angeles ranked at 58. Texas had seven cities listed as best-run, including Lubbock in first place.


  1. Avatar

    So let’s take a look at this incredibly misleading article by Nicca Panggat on CSULB’s web site. First, the title: “Long Beach second on list of worst-run cities in the U.S.” The implication is that of the nearly 20,000 cities in the U.S., Long Beach is almost at the bottom. In fact, the analysts at WalletHub looked at the 90 most populous cities, then used only 65 of those because complete data was unavailable for 25 of them. Compounding this egregious misrepresentation, a photo caption on the 49ers’ site is even worse, eliminating the “list” qualifier altogether, and stating as some point of fact: “Rated by WalletHub, the city of Long Beach is ranked as the second worst run city in the United States.” This is yellow journalism at its worst.
    While the article does go on to allow rebuttal by city officials, the question in my mind is, why are we giving any credence at all to WalletHub? It’s a division of a Washington, D.C., financial services firm called Evolution Finance that describes its business as, “CardHub and WalletHub’s experienced and knowledgeable experts are available to comment on matters ranging all the way from credit cards and gift cards to mortgages, insurance, and investing.” And why doesn’t the article disclose this?
    The report’s criteria are suspect as well. How does it rank Parks and Recreation? By dividing park acreage by department expenditures. Excuse me? Is a park just real estate? Or does it contain facilities and programs that enhance life in the city? Then, the study’s author compounds the problem by extrapolating from such flimsy “analysis” that the department is badly run.
    But let’s take these suspect numbers at face value for a moment. Where does Long Beach rank in relation to some other large cities? For parks, we’re 3 below San Francisco and 10 above Anaheim. For police, we’re 1 below New York City and 2 above San Francisco. And in education we’re 1 below Los Angeles and 4 above NYC. Then ask yourself this: Are city expenditures in Southern California going to be on a par with, say, Aurora, Colorado? Of course not! As a point of reference, the median home price in Aurora is around $255,000, while in Long Beach it’s $514,000!
    I did not see a bio on Nicca Panggat on the 49ers web site, but based on the name I am assuming the author is female. (If I’m in error on that, I apologize.) If Nicca is looking for a future working for such journalistic giants as The Enquirer or Fox News, I’d say she was on the right track. However, if I were her journalism professor, I’d give her a big, fat F. She has an obvious axe to grind and should not be taken seriously as a journalist. She should go back to writing articles like “SCE to tether manholes across Long Beach.”

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    Long Beach is becoming very ghetto, and our government wants more tax to alleviate the shortcomings with their budget. They install ridiculous things like that park or whatever it is on Pine and Ocean. A well-dressed idiot in a suit is still an idiot when the day is over. A countryside home some where else is looking better every year.

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    Brandon johnson

    May not be the worst city when it comes to meeting nice people, crime rate, or public schooling, and business development……. But the police department, justice system, College institution,, housing and real estate business, and employment system could be racially influence, bigot, and impartial towards of people of color and lack diversity……and if those those departments or institution pretend like they provide equality for people of color it’s all a facade

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    Jim Lewis

    Not a surprise given the majority of those whom the voters choose to be on the Council with absolutely no business sense – most who outright lie and mislead in their campaigns . . . and get even re-elected. Sad, especially given what Long Beach could be with the right leadership.

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