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Privately-Run Non-Profit -- Authorized By City Council (Jan. 16) To Solicit Donations, Pursue Grants And Reimburse City To Advance Unspecified "Economic Development Goals" With City Mgm't -- Hired Firm That Has Produced Draft Report (As March 6 Council Vote Approaches) Claiming LB Needs More Housing Than Draft LUE Calculates, Calls "Problematic" Revised Draft Land Use Maps That Reduced Some City Staff-Desired Density Increases is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(Jan. 30, 2018, 8:50 a.m.) -- has learned that following widespread public push-back that brought Planning Commission recommended roll-backs to some city staff-sought Land Use Element (LUE) density increases, and with a March 6 City Council vote looming on whether to advance, tweak, or "receive and file" the revised draft LUE maps (in the absence of Council discussion to date on the impacts of recent Sac'to legislation), the "Downtown Development Corporation" (a privately-run non-profit whose current leadership is largely shared with the Downtown LB Alliance/DLBA) -- hired a firm that has produced a draft document contending Long Beach needs more housing than the draft LUE calculates, claims the LUE will leave LB with a "continuing housing crisis," calls "problematic" Jan. 18, 2018 released draft land use maps, urges public-limiting CEQA changes and commends state legislation incentivizing [in some cases mandating] local housing/land use actions in SB 35 (enacted in 2017 without City of LB opposition) and SB 827 and SB 828 (introduced Jan. 3, 2018.) has learned that the draft document, dated Jan. 15, 2018 [which includes a reference to Jan. 18 revised maps] and titled an "Economic Analysis of Future Housing Needs in the City of Long Beach-Phase I," is scheduled for review by DLBA's Executive Committee on Feb. 1 (which DLBA Directors and Advisors are customarily encouraged to attend.)

[Scroll down for further.]

The "Economic Analysis," labeled as prepared for the Downtown Development Corporation is a 90 page document with Power Point-style bullet-pointed text and graphics, currently labeled a draft. ( plans to report its contentions and our analysis of them separately.) Downtown Development Corporation Executive Director Kraig Kojian (who is simultaneously DLBA's President and CEO), contacted by prior to our publication of this story, acknowledges the draft document (prepared by "Beacon Economics") "can be used to establish or support an advocacy position" but said the draft document "presents an independently developed forecast of housing stock that will be required to meet anticipated job and economic growth in the city through 2040; contends LB needs more housing density than the LUE allows, based on that forecast; urges public-limiting CEQA changes and revisiting parking requirements, and commends Sacramento housing-related land use dictates in recently enacted SB 35 and now-pending SB 827 and SB 828 to the extent that these policies create incentives for municipalities to more fully address housing needs."

Mr. Kojian said the document "was commissioned to evaluate the information the City had used for its housing projections and the set of 28 recommendations established by the City Council re: its proposed Affordable Housing Policy...[It] was designed to provide information as cited above, not as an advocacy document."



On January 16, 2018, the City Council voted 9-0) to authorize a city management Memorandum of Understanding (a contract, exact terms currently uncertain) with the "Downtown Development Corporation" to [agendizing memo text] solicit donations, pursue grants and reimburse the city for "unbudgeted budgeted programs and services" that advance unspecified "economic development goals" -- not limited to downtown -- with written approval by city management. has learned that the Downtown Development Corporation's boardmembers and officers for 2017-2018 are Ryan Altoon, Chairperson; Toliver Morris, Past Chair; Tony Shooshani, Chair-Elect; Allison Kripp, Secretary; Derek Burnham [former City Planning Administrator], Treasurer; Linda Tatum [current City of LB Planning Bureau Manager] and Silvano Merlo, all of whom are listed as holding present, past or incoming positions on the Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) Executive Committee (webpage here. Clicking on their names displays their backgrounds.)

The Downtown Development Corporation is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) entity that isn't bound to any geographical boundaries, meaning it can re-brand itself in the coming weeks or months without a downtown-centric name. Mr. Kojian confirms that "The exercise in developing a strategic plan for the DDC will also include reorganizing its governance structure."

Asked if the agreement with city management, authorized by the Jan. 16 Council vote, will explicitly allow public access to the Downtown Development Corporation's board meetings or compliance with the Brown Act, Mr. Kojian replied "As a private non-profit entity that was not created by a governmental agency, we understand that the Brown Act does not apply to the DDC." He indicated it's too early to know at this point if the group will allow public access to its future board meetings.


City of LB Director of Economic Development John Keisler told that the Downtown Development Corporation "has already been involved in a few contract for services with the DLBA and managed a project that included leasing land from the City that currently houses the temporary art installation known as The Loop located at the corner of Ocean Blvd. and Pine Ave. It has also worked with the DLBA on some of its economic development projects promoting business recruitment and retention, and job creation. He said the group "was incorporated in 2011, became inactive in 2012 when the State of California dissolved the Redevelopment Agency and re-activated its status following the legal rulings delivered by the California Supreme Court upholding lower court decision to abolish RDA."



At the Jan. 16 Council meeting, Mr. Keisler summarized a city staff report (text here); Mayor Robert Garcia likened the action to groups in other cities and to the "L.A. County Economic Development Corporation" [whose leadership can be can be viewed here] and said "this is really the beginning of the formation of this type of effort locally." Councilmembers Uranga (responded to Mayor, stated "I totally agree with everything you've said") and Mungo (seconded motion "This is something that I have looked forward to since the day I was elected") were joined by Councilmembers Pearce, Austin and Richardson speaking in support, and Mr. Kojian brief remarks at the Council podium. No members of the public spoke. To hear audio of what took place, click here.


At 2:40 p.m., corrected Mr. Keisler's title to Director of Economic Development.

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