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    In Addition To Councilwoman Reyes Uranga, Port's Rio Trip Included...

    (July 14, 2005) -- In addition to 7th district Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga (with spouse), the Port of LB's Manager of Media Relations & Publications, Art Wong, says a delegation of Port of LB persona attended a July 12-15 event in Rio de Janeiro, organized by the American Association of Port Authorities and Brazilian Association of Ports and Waterways.

    The 14th annual "Latin American Congress of Ports 2005" in Rio was also attended by Harbor Commissioners Doris Topsy-Elvord (president), James C. Hankla (VP) and Mario Cordero (Sec'y), all with their respective spouses.

    Also attending was the Port of LB Community Affairs/Gov't Relations chief Carl Kemp and Executive Secretary to the Board of Harbor Commissioners, Gustav Hein (both traveling sans spouses).

    Mr. Wong says the Port is paying for Councilwoman Reyes Uranga's trip to Rio...and has done so for other Councilmembers in connection with other Port-related trips in the past. Mr. Wong said that to the best of his knowledge, PoLB is not paying for Mr. Uranga. (Mr. Wong noted that, of course, the Urangas share a room and he wouldn't be surprised if the Port picked up the tab for a meal or two.)

    Meanwhile, Councilwoman Reyes Uranga has agendized an item for the July 19 City Council meeting re her Port-paid trip to Rio. We post her office's agendizing memo verbatim below.

    [begin text]

    Subject: Report on XIV [sic, should be 14th] Latin American Congress of Ports 2005

    The City of Long Beach, with the adoption of its first Strategic Plan in 1986, recognized the need to broaden its economic base to provide the jobs and tax base necessary to manage the city’s tremendous growth in population and diversity. Nearly two decades later, the City’s 2010 Strategic Plan established Business Growth and Workforce Development goals to:

    • B 1.7 - Develop, build, and lease versatile and efficient port facilities that make the maximum use of Port of Long Beach; with the objective being to,

    • B.10 - Use Long Beach’s leadership in international trade to create high- paying jobs for Long Beach residents.

    The 2010 Plan acknowledges that what while we have achieved much of what we had set out to accomplish in the 1986 Plan, "It is critical that we understand the forces now reshaping our city so we can recognize both our opportunities and challenges." The economic and social environment that existed 20 years ago have changed dramatically, in the arena of international trade, with Long Beach now recognized as a major component in the regional and global goods movement infrastructure - particularly within the Americas.

    In acknowledging that economic growth should be measured not just in the number of new jobs, but also in the quality of those jobs, the 2010 Plan also stated, "Our challenges are to overcome the potentially negative impacts of growth, to enhance the environment, and to add value to our neighborhoods and life experiences." This is a challenge not only for Long Beach; it is in fact the greatest threat to the ecological and economic viability of our global environment.

    The 2010 Strategic Plan recognizes those challenges and sets forth "sustainability" as the overall guiding principle to achieve our vision. I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2005 Latin American Congress of Ports where topics -- which I believe to be relevant to the goals established in the 2010 Plan -- where discussed by environmental scholars and researchers. I would like to share this timely information with the City Council and public.

    Suggested Action: Receive and File report on the XIV Latin American Congress of Ports 2005

    The website for the event states as follows:

    Brazil trip July 13/05

    The Brazilian Association of Port Authorities and Waterways (ABEPH) and the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) present the XIV Latin American Congress of Ports 2005, which will be held at Hotel Gloria, one of the most traditional and glamorous of the city of Rio de Janeiro, from July 12-15, 2005.

    This is an important initiative taken between both associations in order to discuss technological innovations and reformulation proposals by the means of exchange information and experiences among professionals of the portuary and waterway sectors.

    That´s our way of envisioning the upcoming future, a reason why the XIV Latin American Congress of Ports will happen for the first time in Brazil. In resume, these are some of the most important and relevant issues to be approached during the conference:

    • Safety
    • Dredging
    • Environment
    • City/Port
    • Mercosur
    • Waterways
    • Transhipment Ports
    • Feeder Ports Cabotage
    • Automation, Taxation and Customs

    Additionally, Representatives and High Administration Personnel of the main ports of North, Central and South America (including the Brazilian Port Authorities), Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Africa will act as Moderators, Presenters and Speakers.

    It is important to add that Simultaneous Translation will be provided during all lectures and that each registered participant will receive a Certificate of Attendance after the end of the Congress. Finally, we strongly recommend Accompanying Persons to check out our very Special Program destined to them.

    In 2004, Councilwoman Reyes Uranga joined Harbor Commissioners Hankla and Cordero for a 2004 visit to a Boston-area Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility. The Councilwoman was scheduled to be in DC during the same period and arranged her itinerary to dovetail with the visit to Boston.

    During their Boston area LNG-related visit, Hankla, Cordero and Reyes Uranga met with the LNG facility operator and local Coast Guard officials but (unlike an April 2005 visit to the area by LB fire and police officials) didn't meet with local elected officials or first responders. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, (a former president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the post now held by LB Mayor O'Neill) has tried unsuccessfully to close the LNG facility as a post-9/11 security risk.

    In May 2003, shortly before Commissioners Hankla and Cordero took office, the Port of LB entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a Mitsubishi subsidiary that seeks to build and operate an 80+ million gallon LNG facility in the Port of LB roughly two miles from downtown. The Port's MOU facilitates the firm's pursuit of approval for the facility by other agencies but does not commit the Port to approve it. The Port entered into the MOU without seeking concurrence from the LB City Council (and under the current LB City Charter concurrence from the Council is not required).

    In a May 2005 Council action, Councilwoman Reyes Uranga made a motion (carried 5-4) to continue a companion City Hall MOU with the LNG project applicant (also entered into in 2003) relating to the possibility of a future connecting gas pipeline from the LNG site and natural gas costs for City Hall's utility.)

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