+
LBReport.com

News

Price Seeks Dec. 8 "Study Session" (No Council Action Item) On City Health Officer's Three Week Ban On Outdoor Restaurant Dining; Richardson Says He Doesn't "Favor" City Mgm't Order But Stops Short Of Flatly Opposing It, Signals Other Actions In Response



If LBREPORT.com didn't tell you,
who would?
No one in LBREPORT.com's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. LBREPORT.com isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report.

LBREPORT.com 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.

(November 26, 2020, 8:10 a.m.) -- After LB City Councilmembers canceled three of their meetings (including their Dec. 1 meeting, LBREPORT.com coverage here) Councilwoman Suzie Price says in a November 25 mass emailing that she has asked management to agendize at the Council's next regularly scheduled Dec. 8 meeting a "study sesion" (effectively a "no Council action" item on the city management Health Officer implemented (effective 10 p.m. Nov. 25) three week prohibition on in-person restaurant dining.

"Over the past 24 hours I have received hundreds of emails from residents regarding the recent Health Order. I have asked for a study session on the topic of in-person dining at restaurants as it relates to the newly modified City of Long Beach Health Order to take place during our December 8, 2020 City Council meeting, and the City Manager has agreed to put it on the agenda."

Councilwoman Price's request for the study sesion comes less than 24 hours after she sent a November 24 nass email (6:46 p.m.) effectively defending (and clearly not opposing) city management's action, writing in part::

Dear Neighbor,

I have been closely following the discussion surrounding the newest LA County Health Order, which requests the shutdown of all "in person" dining starting Wednesday, November 25th at 10 PM. This Order will allow for "to go" and delivery options ONLY until December 21, 2020 in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City of Long Beach has imposed a similar Order.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors met today to discuss the Health Order, and whether modifications would be possible. After a long deliberation, and numerous public comments, the Board of Supervisors voted to impose the Order, which includes restrictions on "in person" dining.

My office has received numerous calls and emails regarding the new restaurant restrictions. We realize that this will have a major impact on our local restaurants, and their employees, especially during the holidays. This Order was made by the County Health Officer and will be followed in the City of Long Beach pursuant to the direction of our City Health Officer, Dr. Anissa Davis.

Here is a link to the newly revised City of Long Beach Safer-At-Home Order as it pertains to restaurant "in person"/outdoor dining that coincides with the County Order: Link

I have received many inquiries regarding why the City of Pasadena will not be implementing these orders at this time. Pursuant to our Health Department Director, the following information shows some of the disparities between the City of Long Beach and the City of Pasadena.

Here is the information they provided to my office earlier today:

1. The City of Long Beach COVID numbers are much higher than Pasadena and are substantially similar to LA County. Pasadena's 5 day case rate is 21/100,000 and Long Beachís is 34/100,000. Pasadena is tracking their numbers closely and on a day-by-day basis, and if they continue to see increases, they will take additional actions to align with LA County orders as well.

2. The City of Long Beach has seen over 120% increase in cases in the last two weeks.

3. The City of Long Beach COVID hospitalizations (residents and non-residents occupying LB hospital beds) have increased from 25 to 87 in 3 weeks, which is a 246% increase in 3 weeks.

I understand the concerns from businesses and residents regarding the impacts of this decision on our local economy. As a business owner, I have deep concerns about how quickly we will be able to rebuild after the economic devastation of this virus.

I have tried to mitigate the impact of these orders through agenda items and comments raised at council meetings. But, the councilís role is limited at this time. Many people believe that it is the legislative body, the City Council, that makes these decisions. We do not. Decisions regarding what sector to open or close lie squarely at the discretion of the state, county, and local health officials. For an overview of the relevant powers to issue health orders during a state of emergency, please click here: Link

I understand that these are extremely challenging times and that we are operating in an unprecedented environment. My heart goes out to the business owners and their thousands of employees who may have to be laid off before the holidays. This is devastating and with no stimulus package to address the impact of these orders, the stress level on everyone is overwhelming. The crisis is real and we all have to take some personal responsibility at this time. In order for our business sectors to be able to open, we need to keep the guidance of our health officials at the forefront of our minds. face coverings, and proximity to others not in your immediate family is an issue. I am saddened that restaurants have to shut down when there is little data to suggest that itís their operations, as opposed to private indoor gatherings, or large scale celebrations for sports team victories or elections, as the cause of the current increase.

I urge you all to please continue to take personal responsibility during this time. If we all do our part, then maybe our economy can keep moving with precautions in place. Please continue to support our local businesses through online purchases, take-out or delivery, or by appointment, as permitted...

[Scroll down for further.]







At about the same time as Councilwoman Price sent her Nov. 25 mass emailing indicated she's requested a "study session" on management's action, the Long Beach Restaurant Association held a Nov. 25 press event urging a reversal of city management's action. . LBREPORT.com columnist Doug Krikorian attended the press event and reports in his latest column here that Councilman Rex Richardson appeared and when asked point blank if he was in favor of the latest lockdown of Long Beach restaurants, "he replied I thought grudgingly, 'I'm not in favor of it.'" (Richardson's careful verbal formulation that he's not "in favor of it" stops just short of openly opposing it.)

In the 2 p.m. hour Nov, 25, Councilman Richardson sent his own mass emailing describing other planned actions in response:

[Richardson maaa Nov. 25 mass emailng] Beginning at 10:00pm this evening, the city of Long Beach is making a difficult choice, in alignment with the County of Los Angeles, by shutting down in-person dining for at least the next three weeks.

We understand that this significantly impacts our local restaurants and their workers. It is not a decision made lightly, but rather is in response to a significant upward trend in cases, right here in Long Beach...

We need to refocus on addressing what we can control, in Long Beach, which is building an economic recovery rooted in resilience.

On December 1st, the Long Beach Economic Development and Finance (ED&F) Committee will provide feedback on a recommendation to create the Long Beach Restaurant Retention Plan, in response to my request at the August 18th City Council Meeting. Additionally, the ED&F Committee will recommend to the full city council, a recommendation to develop a comprehensive and inclusive Economic Recovery Strategy to ensure damage to our local economy is limited, and that we are preparing to come back stronger...

On December 8th, the City Council will meet to take action on the Restaurant Retention Plan recommended by the ED&F Committee, in addition to other recommendations. These will include new policies to support the restaurant industry, further capital for economic relief, and resources to help restaurants become more resilient during our current shifting health environment.

Finally, on December 15th, the City Council will consider adopting the ED&F committee recommendation to create a comprehensive and inclusive economic recovery strategy. This strategy will allow us to identify and support our most vulnerable sectors, identify opportunities for growth, and coordinate with regional economic development stakeholders to prepare for any future resources or stimulus.

Sponsor

Sponsor

In a November 22 release, LB Health Officer Dr, Anisa Davis, MD said that "as Long Beach has substantially similar data patterns to Los Angeles County with numbers currently at alarming levels, the City will be aligning with the County to prohibit in-person dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars beginning Wednesday Nov. 25 for the next three weeks, at minimum, to slow the spread of transmission [of COVID-19] in Long Beach."

At a November 23 webcast briefing, Mayor Robert Garcia (who doesn't set city policy) voiced no publicly stated dissent to the Nov. 23 order by City Mgm't's Health Officer that prohibits on-site dining, including outdoor dining, at restaurants, brewpubs, breweries, bars, pubs, craft distilleries and wineries. The new order prohibits any service of food or beverages, including alcoholic beverages, where a customer remains on site to consume the food or beveragesa. It allows restaurants (which include brewpubs, breweries, bars, pubs, craft distilleries and wineries) to operate for drive-thru, curbside, doorside or other outdoor pickup and delivery under certain conditions.

Mayor Garcia acknowledged in the webcast briefing that the restaurant outdoor dining ban will hurt some of his friends and cause workers seriou personal and economic damage but said an important aspect of his job is to ensure available hospital beds/vebntilators and discourage gathers that can spread the virus. (LBREPORT.com coverage here.

Sponsor

Sponsor

On Nov. 24, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted 2-3 to defeat a motion by Supervisors Barger and Hahn that sought to continue outdoor restaurant dining.

During Supervisors' discussion prior to the vote, Supervisor Hilda Solis volunteered that LB Mayor Garcia had sent her a text message urging her to "do the right thing" (but didn't say what that was or provide other details.) To hear what Supervisor Solis said and didn't say (audio), click here.

Supervisor Solis went on to join the Board of Supervisors majority in voting down the Barger-Hahn motion and, like other Supervisors, signaled support (at least non-opposition) to new targeted restrictions recommended by LA County Health Officer Barbara Ferrer Ph.D. that would allow multiple activities at specified low levels. To hear details of County Health Dept. staff recommendations (audio), click here.

Sponsor


Pasadena (which has an independent Health Dept. like Long Beach) has discussed but taken no voted Council action thus far to curtail its outdoor restaurant dining.

During the City Nov. 23 news briefing, Mayor Garcia said that earlier in the day (Nov. 23) he took part in a virtual meeting with what he described as a "bipartisan group of Mayors" involving President-elect Biden and VP-elesct Harris. LBRFEPORT.com has learned that the virtual "meeting" was actually a media event involving multiple Mayors staged by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a privately operated membership group (Mayor's dues paid by LB taxpayers) advancing the views of its member Mayors). The Nov. 23 media event was designed to show unity among Mayors with the incoming Biden administration on a number of issues including COVID-19.

After the event, the US Conference of Mayors said in a release that responding to the health and economic crises it has created "will require a significant legislative package like the House has already passed, and we will continue to make the case for pandemic relief for families, small businesses, and cities."

However Mayor Garcia went further in the Nov,. 23 City news briefing, assuring LB residents that cities, including Long Beach, could expect substantial sums from the Biden administration to deal with the effects of COVID-19. "We do expect, with this administration, a significant recovery package that will allow us to make some strategic and serious investments back into the city and into our economy." He said President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris concurred "that this plan is in the works."


Support really independent news in Long Beach. No one in LBREPORT.com's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. LBREPORT.com isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. LBREPORT.com is reader and advertiser supported. You can help keep really 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.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Recommend LBREPORT.com to your Facebook friends:


Follow LBReport.com with:

Twitter

Facebook

RSS

Return To Front Page

Contact us: mail@LBReport.com



Adoptable pet of the week:




Copyright © 2020 LBReport.com, LLC. All rights reserved. Terms of Use/Legal policy, click here. Privacy Policy, click here