Long Beach City Council had an unusually quiet night after more than a month of packed and contentious meetings about the state of the city. In the recent weeks where some items had over 60 speakers, Tuesday’s meeting was notable for only having one issue which turned out speakers in the double digits.
That issue, Item 19, involved the relocation of a few tenants off of Atlantic Avenue by East 68 Street for the city to build a new homeless shelter. Flanked by the Artesia Freeway and the Los Angeles River in North East Long Beach, the principally concerned property is The College of Instrument Technology.
“The 90-day notification is very stressful because we do not yet have a confirmed [relocation] site,” said Arti Sutaria, the school’s assistant director.
CIT specializes in training the homeless, unemployed and veterans to operate heavy machinery. School officials said they worry that the city is not doing enough to help relocate the facility which may jeopardize students and faculty members.
Despite protests, the council made no promises reaffirming their commitments and the relocation measure passed unanimously with no amendments or concessions.
The city did, however, make dramatic overtures to placate one resident who came to air his grievances over a new permit for “Entertainment with Dancing” being issued to a neighborhood restaurant, Jade Restaurant.
“I am the closest resident [to the establishment] in Marina Pacific,” he said. “I live approximately 100 feet from the restaurant and there has already been noise and I have complained a number of times.”
Jade Restaurant recently opened and is only a mile and a half from Long Beach State down Pacific Coast Highway at the Marina Pacifica Mall, adjacent to the new PCH & 2nd development.
Two other housing issues that the council has seen a hot debate over the past week were also read and adopted to the conspicuous absence of activists, who had previously shown up in force for earlier meetings.
Item 23, which added the temporary moratorium on no-fault evictions into the Municipal Code, and Item 28, which codified temporary space rent stabilization, both passed without comment from the public.
“I’m giving the residents of Belmont Shore [Mobile Home Park] a chance to reconsider another offer from the property developers,” Councilwoman Suzie Price said.
Previously, nearly 100 members of the Belmont Shore Mobile Home Park turned out to the weekly council meetings demanding redress for a sudden 35% space rent increase.
Item 23 was also the result of a hard-fought concession from the city council by local housing activist organizations including Housing Long Beach, Long Beach Forward and LiBRE.
Although groups pressured council members for stricter rent control measures and more long-term eviction protection, Tuesday’s vote was nonetheless a decisive win for the organizations.
The last issue of the night, Item 24, related to the city’s emergency ban on flavored tobacco products. Instead of a wide-reaching ban of all flavored tobacco products across the city, Long Beach is now considering a watered-down ordinance which would limit the ban to flavored tobacco vaping products, menthol cigarettes and cigarillos to a single year.
“I want to thank the council for giving me the opportunity to voice my opinion as a small business owner,” James Nino said.
Nino, a vape store proprietor, had previously spoken out against the wide-reaching ban proposed in October. However, he and other vape store owners across the city came out in a show of solidarity to support the measure.
The next city council meeting will be held Nov. 26 at 5 p.m. at Long Beach City Hall.