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Transcript (as delivered) of Mayor O'Neill's "State of the City" Address, January 9, 2001


Below is an as-delivered transcript of Mayor Beverly O'Neill's January 9, 2001 "State of the City" address.

Our transcript reflects the remarks as actually delivered, which differ somewhat from a text prepared for delivery. Section headings were not spoken but are provided as shown in the prepared text. Bracketed material is inserted by us for clarity.

The City Charter requires that by the 15th of January, the Mayor "shall communicate by message to the City Council a statement of the conditions and affairs of the City, and make recommendations on such matters as the Mayor may deem expedient and proper."

As she has in previous years, Mayor O'Neill did not deliver her address at a public City Council meeting but at a luncheon (this year's admission, $40) staged by the LB Area Chamber of Commerce.

Following the event, the Mayor's remarks were filed with the City Clerk. The Chamber's luncheon event was videotaped and is periodically re-run on City Hall's cable TV channel. The prepared (not as delivered) text was posted on City Hall's web site on the afternoon of January 9.

[Begin as delivered text]

Opening

I thank you, Jay, and I welcome all of you to the State of the City, 2001.

This is my 7th report on the State of the City of Long Beach, and I do want to thank the [LB Area] Chamber of Commerce for making this a great occasion. And I'm really proud to share the podium with Liam McGee, even though he took my speech. (laughter) I feel like giving my Mae West quote and going home. (laughter) Not really. I knew when I first met Liam that he would be a wonderful addition to the city and understand what we were trying to do and he certainly had a grasp of it today.

But, every year, I tell you about accomplishments, and in the early years, there were not many accomplishments and I talked too long. Now there are many accomplishments and we have many achievements, but I always try to tell you this year a couple of things I've learned.

And this year what I've learned might be encompassed in three pieces of folk wisdom: "Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel." Turkish proverb. "If God lived on earth, people would break his windows." Yiddish proverb. "The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on." An Arabic proverb. I think that all of these go to support the more encompassing wisdom that the more things change, the more they remain the same.

Today, I think the City of Long Beach has a vibrant future. There are some years when so much happens; you canít live it all at the time that it occurs. I canít believe that an entire year has passed. The year 2000 has been a wonderful year, a busy year, and a year that initiated some positive happenings that will guide our future.

Some may look at our revitalization efforts as a cup thatís half-empty. But it's really half-full with the potential to fill it even more in the future. The State of the City is always a time to talk about our accomplishments, what we have to look forward to and the challenges that we still must face. Our last decade has been one of turmoil, of transition, but most of all a decade of change. Dramatic change. And one of the brochures you have at your table today gives the ten years, 1992-2002, with the changes that have happened to the city in the last decade.

No other community in Southern California has undergone the dramatic transformation that Long Beach has in the last ten years. No other California community has been as battered by recession, suffered through major aerospace downsizing and then clobbered by as many base closures as Long Beach has. The loss of our economic tax base and our image. And no California community has reinvented itself so quickly.

So we had a decade of rapid change, but as we transition from one century to the other, we have much to look forward to.

Diversified Economy

We have officially moved into the 21st Century, we have transitioned to a new diversified economy based on tourism, trade and technology as well as retail, and I know some of you are very tired of hearing that.

We continue to be the Gateway to the Pacific for global commerce, tourism has not been better, and our technology sector is being strengthened. We now have the opportunity to become one of the major technology centers in Southern California.

With the guidance of the City Council on our Strategic Plan, we have set a clear course for the future of the city. A course that will build stronger and safer neighborhoods, a course that puts more emphasis on youth and education, that continues our economic growth, that helps us focus on environmental concerns, and that uses technology to empower our citizens and link our neighborhoods. I thank the hundreds of citizens that helped us develop this plan and especially the Task Force Chairs and Doug Otto for guiding the process.

National Recognition

In the meantime, our City is gaining national recognition for its revitalization and planning efforts. Both the New York Times and Governing Magazine have recognized our cityís renaissance and the strength of our planning activities. The Departments of Housing and Urban Development, and Justice, and Education and Labor and Sacramento have recognized our revitalization efforts with additional funding for Welfare to Work, School-to-Career, Training and Employment, neighborhood enhancement, housing, traffic safety and additional law enforcement officers.

These occurrences just point up the differences between todayís event and in 1995, the first time I stood before you, this is the change in the report of the state of the city. It was painful then---it's optimistic now.

Our City has never had as much to look forward to as it does today, nor has it ever seen as much development and community efforts either under way, or in the planning stage. We are no longer a small seaside community at the end of the 710 freeway. We are no longer just a working port city with a waterfront.

Our landscape has changed and will continue to change. Many people resist change, but for Long Beach, we had to change. If you are starving, you first figure out how to get food. As Pearl Buck said, "All birth is unwilling."

We needed to make major decisions in the early 1990s when the economy was changing all around us. We needed to determine what was going to carry our community into the next millennium. What jobs would be available? What opportunities would there be for our youth and what would we do to sustain our quality of life? How would we attract new businesses and new opportunities to our City?

Out of those discussions came the decision for our City to pursue a diversified economic future that, once established, would allow us to have the wherewithal to address the needs -- and we have many needs -- of the neighborhoods.

Reasons for Optimism

The evidence of how far weíve come is all around us. We are an economic powerhouse in the region, whose international trade and tourism business and manufacturing sectors support thousands of jobs in Long Beach and in the region. Our technology business center is expanding and will be a force in Southern California in the near future. So my optimism and enthusiasm are stronger than ever before. Let me explore some of the reasons.

For the third year in a row the prestigious Meyers Group has named Long Beach as the most livable City in Los Angeles County with the best combination of quality of life characteristics and affordable housing.

For the second year we have balanced the budget without reverting to reserves or one-time payments. Thank you, Henry Taboada. We were the first community in the nation to achieve a AAA Investment Portfolio credit rating as determined by Standard & Poorís.

Overall crime dropped for the ninth consecutive year and violent crimes have dropped since 1996.

Sales tax revenue increased 25% over 1998, reflecting our successful efforts to build the retail base. We have added or refurbished over 2 million square feet of retail and added 150 new stores since 1995. Property values have increased 12 to 17% and residential vacancies are at a historic low of less than 2%. Commercial office vacancy downtown is less than 14%, and only 8% in the suburbs.

Our Fire Department, one of the highest rated in the nation, completing its own departmental Strategic Plan that will help direct its efforts for the next decade. And I can't tell you how proud I am of all of the public safety people that we have working for the City of Long Beach. They have become models in the United States. (applause)

There are now family learning centers at ten libraries, Liam mentioned one of them, funded by private donations to provide special services to youth and their parents, and we have also established a computer literacy program for all ages at 7 library locations, and opened a Technology Learning Center funded by the Gates Foundation and the Main Library. Phase Two of the Cesar Chavez Park and the state-of-the-art community building were completed.

And the mini-park which opened on 4th Street called the "Miracle on 4th Street" is a wonderful example of public/private partnership. The Parks, Recreation and Marine Department was recently honored for its efforts in attracting teenagers to volunteer at least 100 hours at various facilities.

And if you can believe this, the City continues to benefit from 10,000 volunteers that contributed time and energy to a variety of projects in the year 2000.

Plans to build the new 911 Center are proceeding on the property of the Water Department at Spring and Redondo, and groundbreaking will occur this summer. That's longer than an elephant's gestation. (laughter)

Curbs, gutters and sidewalks in need of repair throughout the city were inventoried and we completed $3 million in sidewalk repairs last year and will spend $6 million on repairs this year.

Early reports from the Census 2000 indicate we were very successful in our mail back responses and we look forward to the final count, and that would be in April.

Investors and developers must think Long Beach is heading in the right direction because private interests in our downtown alone are investing a total of over $1 billion.

These are just some of the events and occurrences that made the year 2000 so special for our community and the future so appealing. And there are others.

We have had forecasts by Cal State University that regional employment will continue to outperform the nation into 2002. And Dr. Joseph Maggadino says the region is embracing a more sustainable growth over the next two years and Cal State graduates are much in demand. Our unemployment figure of 4.5%, the lowest of a decade and appears to support that forecast.

Growing Trade Presence

Looking at international trade, our strength and presence in the global marketplace was enhanced this past year when shipping records at the Port of Long Beach broke more records in handling the equivalent of 4.6 million 20-foot containers. The total is 6% more than in 1999, and the Port expects a bigger increase in containers this year.

The Pacific Ocean is now the ocean of choice for shipping companies. The Port recently signed a lease with Hanjin Shipping for a new 375-acre terminal on former Navy property. The terminal will be the Portís largest and the first of five mega-terminals to be built over the next decade as we continue to position ourselves for continued growth in global commerce.

The Portís investment of $1.8 billion in the next decade and the Alameda Corridorís scheduled completion in the Spring 2002, on time and on budget, will ensure its place among the worldís busiest ports. And we need to say thank you to Jim Hankla for the Alameda Corridor. (applause)

International trade accounted for 8 million containers passing through the two Ports of San Pedro Bay last year, and cargo forecasts indicate that number will grow to 12 million in 2010, creating 300,000 trade-related jobs. Jack Kyser, the Chief Economist for Los Angeles County, recently stated that the two Ports in San Pedro Bay are the 800-pound gorillas of the west coast and are evolving from regional to a national economic force.

Long Beach commitment to trade is evidenced by more than just the Port. Support services are provided by a variety of organizations; including the World Trade Center Association, the US Export Assistance Office and the Long Beach International Trade Office, which has contributed over $40 million in new export sales since 1993. The Cityís World Trade Center is the busiest trade center in the world, and is linked to 338 offices in over 100 countries. This is our link and the regionís link to international commerce. The Cal State Long Beach Center for International Trade and Transportation and the Long Beach City College's Center for International Trade Development also have trade-support services and they are available at the World Trade Center. Technologyís Future Promise

In technology, we are becoming and benefiting from the emerging technology sector. Technology holds the greatest promise for our future. The growth and potential are unlimited.

The Milken Institute in a recent ranking of metropolitan areas with the greatest concentration of high-technology companies listed Los Angeles-Long Beach as the third largest behind San Jose and Dallas. According to Milken, these are the areas of the country most likely to continue to create high technology business clusters.

One of the most dynamic changes in our economy over the last decade has been the emergence of a number of technology companies that have joined our business community in helping move Long Beach into the 21st century. No longer do one or two firms dominate our technology sector. Boeing is still a major player in our community and our largest employer, but they no longer stand-alone.

Long Beach is now the Western Hemisphere headquarters for Epson America and its 700 employees. Gulfstream continues its growth in Long Beach with over 1,000 employees, servicing nearly 300 aircraft this year and completing the interiors of 24 others. AASI, Spectria, Pajo and Astralcom are all helping to define our technology future. And Cim Vision and Product Data Integration Technologies were both recently recognized in the Los Angeles Business Journal as two of the fastest growing private companies in L.A. County. All of these new or newer firms add depth and credibility to the emergency of Long Beach as a technology center.

But Boeing really continues to lead our technology efforts and their achievements in the past year only enhanced their stature. This is especially true for the international Sea Launch program. This multi-national consortium involving partners from Russia, the Ukraine and Norway, in addition to the United States, brought worldwide attention to our city this year with two successful launches of communication satellites.

The second launch on October 20th was the heaviest commercial payload ever put into orbit, and is providing telecommunications services to 99 countries on three continents, helping to bring one billion people into the future. In addition to its successful launches, Sea Launch relocated its headquarters to Long Beach from the Cayman Islands. The transition of all the companyís activities to Long Beach enhanced our status as a center for international commerce.

In Long Beach is Californiaís only production of military aircraft, the C-17 Globemaster. It continues to perform military and humanitarian missions brilliantly. Boeing has delivered 70 C-17 to the Air Force and is under contract for an additional 50. This year they also received the first international order for 4 aircraft from the United Kingdomís Royal Air Force. The company is also producing the only commercial jets in California and in 2000 delivered thirty-two 717 aircraft, and we congratulate Boeing on these outstanding programs. (applause)

A unique opportunity

Possibly Boeingís biggest contribution to the technology future of our City is the 230-acres they will be developing on the Westside of Lakewood Boulevard. The 230 acres, near the airport and the freeway, will be a site for technology firms that want production and administration on their same site. The development will take Long Beach a long way towards becoming one of the most significant technology developments in all of southern California. In addition to the creation of thousands of jobs, PacifiCenter will be significantly adding to the property values in the surrounding areas.

We have much to offer technology companies. We have the most affordable office space available in the South Bay area; we have Southern California accessibility and a quality of life that is unmatched anywhere in Southern California. But just to make sure we're not missing any bets we formed a Technology Advisory Group where senior executives from Long Beach-based technology companies tell us firsthand what needs to be taken, steps, for our City to maximize and build on its technology future.

One of the two issues we hear often is for a skilled workforce, and the Cityís Workforce Development Board is working with businesses, public agencies and educational institutions to ensure that our City has the necessary labor pool to meet the needs of this growing segment of our employement.

As part of its responsibility, the Board also has a youth council and a Youth Opportunity Center to focus on necessary services for youth. These services relate directly to the goals and objectives that we have in our Strategic Plan. As part of the Cityís career development efforts, we have the nationís largest Job Shadow program, which is where students spend days shadowing employees, workers. Our job shadow efforts stretch over 6 weeks, involve 4,300 students and 82 businesses, and I want to take this opportunity to say thank youto the businesses that have participated, opened their doors and offices to these young people. (applause) I like that. Thank you. It does take additional effort to take that time.

The other primary concern among technology companies is for more residential living spaces, especially downtown. Apartments and condominiums or town homes that fit the needs of todayís young professional for living space in a downtown urban environment.

Meeting Housing Needs

We are also addressing the requirements for additional downtown residential development. A total of five projects will add 1800 high-end living units in our downtown, and they will be the first developments in the area since the early 1990ís.

Camden Properties has broken ground on the former Pike property for construction of the "Park at Harbour View." The initial phase of this urban development includes 538 apartment units, 246 condos and a 500-room hotel in phases 2 and 3. On Pine Avenue, the historic Walker Building, vacant for many years, is now being turned into 39 luxury condominium lofts, 7 penthouse units and a ground floor retail that will retain the art deco historic elements.

Lofts are also being planned at the historic Masonic Temple on Locust on the 800 block and at the Insurance Exchange Building on the Promenade. Residential apartments are part of the plans for the new shopping Plaza, re-named CityPlace.

All of these residential living units will increase the critical mass downtown, giving our central core more of an urban look and feel. There are a number of developers anxious to build multifamily housing in our downtown area. And driven by the force of our diverse economy, a study by Keyser Marston found that we have a need for thousands of luxury units within a three-mile radius of downtown.

This just reinforces a statement that I said in an earlier speech, in the past -- the time to expand or buy downtown is now. The price is going up today. And as our philosopher Mae West would say, "He who hesitates is last."

There is also a need for housing throughout the city. Renaissance Walk, a 40-home affordable housing project on Atlantic between 20th and Hill is under construction. And ten of the homes are reserved for low-income, first-time homebuyers. The project includes a childcare facility for up to 65 children, and has already won an architectural design award from the Sales and Marketing Council of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

The HUD $1 Home Program offers the opportunity to purchase foreclosed HUD properties for rehabilitation and resale to first-time homebuyers. The City has purchased seven properties to date.

During the September visit by HUD Secretary, Andrew Cuomo announced a grant to provide affordable housing for the disabled. And we also havenít forgotten those who have no homes. We opened a Multi-Service Center for the Homeless, providing comprehensive case management; transportation, childcare, housing placement and other services so vital to help people move into the mainstream of our society.

And the Villages at Cabrillo, on the old Navy property, is considered a model program nationwide for transitional and permanent housing for the homeless, focusing on the veterans. Just recently HUD announced an additional $3 million grant to assist Long Beach in creating more low-income housing.

Retail Expanding

As we look at our retail, all of our residents, whether downtown or throughout the City, will need the retail amenities, and we're slowly catching up.

Trader Joeís opened its Bixby Knolls store, and we thank the residents and businesses for the aggressive letter-writing campaign that helped convince Trader Joeís to open a second store in Long Beach. And the maager nationally told me that it was because of this aggressive approach, they knew they would be welcomed, and they haven't been disappointed.

Wrigley Marketplace is completed.

The Long Beach Towne Center is booming and drawing customers from throughout the region. The Edwards Theatre complex at the Towne Center is the 7th highest grossing theatre complex in the United States.

Two new retail centers are Long Beach Town Square at Cherry and Carson and Los Altos Gateway at Bellflower and Spring. I heard a little rumble about the Towne Center, you can never find a place to park, (laughter), so they'd be bigger but there's no place to park.

Marina Pacifica and Los Altos shopping centers continue their rebirth from the dismal days of the late 80ís and the early 1990ís.

Downtown shopping options will open up new opportunities with the development of CityPlace; it replaces an outdated retail mall with a mixed-use urban complex combining retail, residential and a hotel. This revitalization along with the European boutique DíOrsay Hotel, to be built on the Promenade, will create additional critical mass downtown.

And we have had some developers leave us. But, to quote again our famous philosopher [Mae West], "All discarded lovers should be given a second chance...but with someone else." (applause) I'm gonna have to tell Mae she gets more applause than anybody.

Tourism Continues to Grow

The tourism sector continues to grow as the Convention and Visitors Bureau books conventions and exhibits many years into the future. Business people are staying longer in the City and coming back and bringing their families. The Transient Occupancy Tax increased 11% over the previous year indicating that visitors are now attracted by more than just mild climate and balmy evenings.

The Queen Mary, our oldest icon, is embarking on a 45-acre expansion.

Carnival Cruise Line will break ground shortly for a new dock and terminal near the dome for cruise ships that will relocate from the Ports of Call area in San Pedro.

Aquarium of the Pacific, with the new Jellies attraction, has attracted 3.6 million visitors.

And our newest icon, the Lions Lighthouse for Sight was dedicated in September [sic: means December] at Shoreline Park and will be a beacon for the many ships sailing into our harbor.

And Pine Avenue continues to be a draw with its outstanding restaurants, and shops and active nightlife.

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, each year seems to be getting bigger and better than before, attracting participants and fans from all over the world. Still the second largest automobile race in the country, it is also a favorite of the CART drivers who make Long Beach the center of the racing world for one week each April. And we still, each year, have to thank profoundly, Chris Pook. (applause) Chris, I know you're here, but did you get as much applause as Mae, wherever you are?

But for our visitors who would rather enjoy serenity and beauty of a museum, we now have an expanded Long Beach Museum of Art in its beautiful waterfront setting, the Museum of Latin American Art, that of course was started by Dr. Robert Gumbiner, with its exciting and changing location, and a growing East Village Arts District with its trendy collection of artisans and galleries celebrating the cultural diversity and artistic expression.

And whether it's the symphony or the International City Theater, or the Edison Theater, the arts are alive and booming. The PCA brought us our Smithsonian Week celebration last year featuring lectures in Blues Music, Egyptian Anthropology and Latino Folk Life. This will be repeated this March with three new visiting scholars in the Pony Express early mail adventure, (and we'll have to see how they get a party out of that), American Jazz and Deep Sea Creatures.

And for our visitors who are more sports minded we can offer the speed and thunder of the Ice Dogs, and beginning in May, the grace and summer evenings of the new Long Beach Breakers, the newest entry in professional baseballís Western League. Long Beach will also be hosting the Menís NCAA Volleyball Championships this year.

And for those who are nimble of feet, Long Beach opened its first dedicated Inline and Skateboard facility at El Dorado Park.

As most of you know, we welcome Tiger Woods back home to Long Beach in April! As one of only four cities in the country chosen to host such an extraordinary event, the Tiger Woods Jr. Golf Clinic. It will return golfís greatest player to where he started playing golf, in Long Beach.

Youth in the Cityís Junior Golf Program, from throughout our diverse neighborhoods, will benefit not only from the enhanced access to the great game of golf and presentation of this young manís remarkable talent, but they will benefit from the exposure to the outstanding values by which he lives his life. And today with us we have Greg Marshall, who's the Executive Director of the Tiger Woods Foundation. Please join me in welcoming him to Long Beach and thanking him and the foundation for their vision for choosing Long Beach. Where are you, Greg? (applause)

You know, I also want to take this time to thank the City Council. You know, John Galsworthy [sp?] said, "Idealism increases in direct proportion to the distance from the problem." And the City Council is at the core in making these decisions. They are dedicated to Long Beach.

The decisions have been and are very tough. The discussions have been thorough, intense and sometimes impassionated. I think sometimes a Valium salt-lick would be good in the conference room. (laughter) I have to throw a few things like this 'cause Jim Gray goes to sleep. (laughter) And let me tell you, we're also getting really good at knowing if there's a full moon without even going outside. (laughter). But I would like them to stand again. I appreciate them so much. Please, Councilmembers. (appluse).

Youth and Education

We've been talking about adding the needs expressed in the Strategic Plan on safety, jobs, economic opportunity, and technology. But the Strategic Plan is very specific about how we address the issues dealing with youth and education, and we cannot afford to ignore the needs of our youth in ensuring that they are prepared for a successful future.

We developed a directory of information, the first "Teen Yellow Pages," from hotlines and hobbies to job training and volunteer opportunities. It was underwritten with the generosity of Verizon, and in cooperation with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine. And we've given out 50,000 of the Yellow Page directories to students, schools, libraries and teen centers throughout Long Beach. We're also creating a second pocket directory of after-school programs, which will be out later this year. A safe place to go after school, a place with supervision and structure is becoming not just a Long Beach but a national need.

And as Liam was saying, seamless education is more than just a phrase used by the leaders of our Unified School District, City College and Cal State Long Beach. The transition from high school to college has been made easy and it will be made easier with the new Middle College/High School at LBCC, which will allow high school students to complete 30 units of college credit during their last two years of high school and transition to Cal State Long Beach. (applause)

Itís important to know that our newest high school, Cabrillo High School on the west side, already has the highest ratio of computers to students than any high school in Southern California, and that Poly Highís graduating class of 2000 sent more students to Cal State [sic: believed to be Cal Tech] and UCLA than any other high school in the nation. (applause)

And itís important that two of our middle schools, Rogers and Hughes, were awarded the national Blue Ribbon Award, the nationís highest honor for public schools, awarded for exceptional levels of community and parental involvement, student achievement and safety records.

We continue to be proud of the outstanding progress shown by the [LB] Unified School District, and we are so lucky to have the three leaders of education that we have, Carl Cohn, Jan Kehoe and Bob Maxson.

Conclusion

We have accomplished much and we must accomplish much more. We still have challenges ahead. Challenges that must be turned into opportunities. The challenge of a waterfront development. Building respect for one another in our diverse population. Youth challenges, infrastructure needs and environmental concerns as well as the national and state challenges that face our country in energy and economy that also affect the City of Long Beach directly.

During the year our residents voted for a reduction in our utility tax. Obviously it poses a challenge to our city. The utility tax is the largest revenue producer for our general fund.

We now have a case of "RAIDS": Recently Acquired Income Deficiency Syndrome. (slight laughter)

The City Council and City Manager Henry Taboada and his staff are working hard and exploring ways in which the city delivers its services. But one thing should be made clear. We do not solve this revenue shortfall in just one way. It will take a broad look at all of our City services.

And we all know that whatever hits the fan will not be distributed evenly. (slight laughter) That's kinda bad for me, I think, but (laughter), I tried it on a couple of people, they said, "Oh yeah, that's OK." (laughter) I'm gonna get back to 'em.

And we're always asked to bring in the Auditors. The Auditors old saying has it that, when -- I have to say it the right way -- the Auditors are people that come in after the battle and shoot the wounded. (laughter and applause) I tried that on [City Auditor] Gary Burroughs and he says, no, you're saying it wrong, it's they come in and bayonet the wounded, which is worse. (laughter)

We have to be more creative. We need to discover additional revenue. We need to be more efficient to make up the shortfall.

The reduction threatens to impede our progress, but it will not defeat us. We must continue to make improvements to our city and the life our residents enjoy because standing still in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get hit by traffic on both sides.

Our city is much more than it was ten years ago. More economically and ethnically diverse, and more vital with more opportunities for our future. But it can be even more in the next decade.

We can take what has strengthened us in the last ten years and leverage that to face the challenges for an abundant future.

The progress weíve made wasnít accomplished alone. The Federal government played a major part. But all of you have been a part of it. New businesses have created additional jobs and expanded opportunities. And many of you brought your professional conferences to the City of Long Beach.

And I have just about a three sentence statement that was in the L.A. Times in 1998. It's about the City of Los Angeles, but this could be said about any city in the United States, and it was written by the California historian, Kevin Starr [sp?], who was the Librarian for the state also. "The problem is that no one is standing up for Los Angeles, all of it, the entire city. No one is holding on to a vision of L.A. as a great world city that is more than the sum of its pats. More than the complaints of some of its districts, and more than the ambitions of hundreds of aspiring leaders who want to get ahead." That being said about Los Angeles could be said about Long Beach.

We must stand up. All of you will continue to play a vital role in our future, because it cannot be done in isolation. We canít do it without the thousands of volunteers who donate over 200,000 hours to various city projects and programs this last year. We canít do it without the non-profit organizations, and we canít do it without the help of over 370 people serving on our boards, committees and commissions, and the hundreds who serve on homeowners and business organizations. Youth, senior citizens, long-time residents and those who have settled here from other nations need to be involved in the betterment of our city.

This is our city, and all of us need to be involved in what kind of city it will become. We cannot take what we have for granted.

We have an exciting future, a future that's filled with the economic and educational opportunities for all our citizens, a future that predicts safe streets, cultural diversity, a future that promotes the development of parks, libraries and a clean environment.

We need to clean up our rivers, protect our water and beaches and make every effort to improve our neighborhoods. We need to work with our neighborhood leaders, so we can empower them to make them part of the process.

We need to continue what we started a decade ago. The noted German poet, novelist and playwright, Goethe, has said, "Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of being."

The same is true for cities. If we treat Long Beach for what it can become, it will become that city. A city filled with hope, optimism and opportunity for everyone. A city of which we will all be proud.

After seven years, I can still say, "Long Beach, it's morning again, and I still love you." Thank you for being with us. (ovation)

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