In an effort to improve the overall cleanliness of the city, Mayor Robert Garcia requested the city manager to report back on the mayor’s new Clean Long Beach Initiative, a program Garcia launched this month to modernize the city’s abilities to cut down on litter and blight.
The initiative will include broad reviews of multiple existing city efforts including the programs aimed at removing illegally dumped items from the streets, modernizing the Go Long Beach App, exploring the feasibility of returning to proactive code enforcement efforts abandoned during the recession and even partnering with Long Beach Transit to ensure the cleanliness and safety of bus stops in the city.
“We should not be satisfied with the level of cleanliness we have today on our streets here in Long Beach,” Garcia said. “While we have some streets and communities that are certainly maintained by local residents more, and are cleaner, we still have large parts of our city, and certainly every part of our community can be cleaner and better maintained.”
The program could include changes that could see the city enter into agreements with CalTrans, the entity with jurisdiction over freeway onramps and offramps, to allow the city to clean up those areas within its boundaries, some of which are often peppered with trash and debris.
Garcia’s motion also called for an exploration of a city ordinance aimed at locking trash dumpsters in alleys, something that drew mixed support from the city council.
Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price said she’d support that motion "tonight" as it’s an issue that her office hears from her constituents about on nearly a daily basis. Locking them, she said, could address both cleanliness and public safety issues.
Clean teams supplied by business improvement districts will be part of the report brought back to the council. Photo: Jason Ruiz
However, Fourth District Councilman Daryl Supernaw remarked that in conversations with public works employees he found that the reason why trash bins aren’t currently locked is because the net effect results in more trash ending up on the streets due to inaccessibility of trash bins.
Several council members made additions to Garcia’s list of where the city could stand to improve including a call for an audit of what kinds of trash are ending up on the streets and in what locations, a move to make city trashcans more uniform from district to district, as well as improvements for the cleanliness of public restrooms in the city.
The city manager’s report back to the city council is expected to happen within the next 120 days. Any impact to the city’s fiscal outlook due to ramping up efforts to keep the city clean will be included in the report.
“I’ve told staff that every single city employee should be involved whether it’s a manager or an employee doing code enforcement making our city look better and it would be a better place for our community,” Garcia said. “It’s a basic service our city should be providing and right now our city is not at the level of cleanliness it should be and we need to do a better job.”