Long Beach’s present system of government was established in 1921 when the citizens adopted a new City Charter prescribing the Council-Manager form of government. The Charter sets the powers and duties of the City Council and its election procedures, establishes commissions and offices, details methods of initiative, referendum and recall procedures, and establishes the position and duties of the City Manager.
Under the Council-Manager system of government, the people elect a City Council of nine citizens, by district, who serve a term of four years. The Council in turn appoints a City Manager who manages the operation of the city.
In 1986, by affirmative vote of the electorate, the City Charter was amended to provide for a full-time mayor to be elected by all the voters of the city. In 1988, the city’s first full-time mayor was elected. The Mayor is the chief legislative officer of the city and presides at city council meetings. The mayor is the official head of city government for ceremonial purposes and acts as chief administrative officer for the legislative department, which consists of the mayor, city council and city clerk. The mayor has veto power over various actions of the city council and transmits to the city council, with recommendations, the City Manager’s recommended budget. The mayor also makes recommendations to the city council for appointments to charter boards and commissions. The mayor’s term of office is four years.
In addition to the mayor and city council, the city attorney, city auditor and city prosecutor are elected city-wide for four-year terms. Some 5,000 full and part-time employees carry out the functions of city government in the following areas: City Manager, Financial Management, Fire, Gas & Oil, Health and Human Services, Human Resources, Library Services, Parks Recreation and Marine, Planning and Building, Police, Public Works and Technology Services.
The Long Beach Police Department, under the direction of Chief Jim McDonnell, provides 24-hour service and protection. The Department’s Emergency Communication Center is the central answering point for all emergency 911 calls in the city. Other requests for services are also routed through the Center’s 24-hour non-emergency phone number 562-435-6711. The Long Beach Police Department responds to priority one calls in an average of 3.7 minutes, the fastest among major cities in California.
The Department provides constant patrol of the city by uniformed officers in black and white computer-equipped patrol vehicles. It also provides a host of support units such as Community Policing teams, Police K-9, Air Support, SWAT team, Motor Officers, Bike Patrol, and assorted detective and undercover details. The Department’s Community Relations Division assists a great number of citizens through its crime prevention programs such as Neighborhood Watch, Apartment Watch and Business Watch.
The Long Beach Fire Department responds to both fire and medical emergencies. All Long Beach firefighters are certified as Emergency Medical Technicians. Long Beach was one of the first cities in California to provide paramedic service, and this program is well respected as a training model for the rest of the nation.
Long Beach is fully serviced by air, ground and sea transportation. Long Beach Airport, on some 1,200 acres of land, is municipally owned and operated. Four commercial air carriers – Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and US Airways – fly directly from Long Beach to 13 nonstop destinations, including major hub cities. In addition to commercial air carriers, commuter/charter airlines and cargo carriers utilize Long Beach Airport. Greyhound offers long distance bus service. Extensive local service is provided by Long Beach Transit, Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and Torrance Transit. On downtown’s First Street, the Long Beach Transit Mall serves as the focal point for bus service to, from and within Long Beach. Long Beach Transit also operates the Passport Shuttle which travels through many business and shopping areas. The Passport provides free service in the downtown area and extended service to Belmont Shore for a small fee.
In 1990, the Metropolitan Transit Authority opened the Metro Blue Line, the first light rail service in Los Angeles County in nearly three decades. Rail commuters can travel completely by train or they may transfer to one of the many bus feeder lines to reach their destination.
Long Beach has established its own Public Health Department with local health jurisdiction independent of county and state agencies. Local authority gives the city the opportunity to provide unique, individualized health care and community services including maternal and child health, environmental and hazardous waste monitoring services. In addition, the following full-service hospitals provide 24-hour emergency care.
• Long Beach Memorial Medical Center
• Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach
• Community Hospital Long Beach
• St. Mary Medical Center
• Pacific Hospital of Long Beach
• Veterans Administration Medical Center Long Beach
Long Beach area is fortunate to have two major daily newspapers. The Press-Telegram newspaper reaches 497,057 total weekly audience; includes daily, Sunday, and online audience for Long Beach and 22 surrounding communities. The Long Beach Register newspaper was launched on August 19, 2013 and its coverage is 100% local. All LBR subscribers actually get two papers for the price of one – the LBR, with the Orange County Register inside. Other newspapers in the area include the Grunion and Downtown Gazettes, and the Long Beach Business Journal. The Long Beach Business Journal covers local business and industry.
The major employers in communications and utilities are Southern California Edison and Verizon, which both have regional headquarters in Long Beach.
Southern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest electrical utilities, serves 4.3 million homes and businesses across 50,000 square miles in southern, central and coastal California. SCE manages many energy efficiency programs. Call 800-684-8123.
Verizon provides local, regional toll, voice, data and video telecommunications service to about 7.2 million access lines in 500 communities throughout California.
The City of Long Beach’s Gas and Oil Department operates the full-service natural gas utility in the greater Long Beach-Signal Hill area as the primary service provider to a population base of over 500,000 residents and businesses through 1,800 miles of pipeline.
The Long Beach Water Department is known for being one of the country’s leaders in water conservation and environmental stewardship. The Department operates a state-of-the-art groundwater treatment plant and water quality laboratory. While recycled water satisfies over 10 percent of the city’s demand for water, conservation is seen as another effective resource that saves millions of gallons of potable water each year. The Department’s Award Winning Lawn-to-Garden Program promotes the removal of grass lawns, replacing them with California Friendly plants that use significantly less water.
In order to manage the solid waste, Long Beach has developed an Integrated Solid Waste Management Program which includes source reduction, recycling, composting, household hazardous waste removal, landfill and public education. Waste-to-Energy is the process of turning waste materials, not recycled or composted, into energy that can be used as electricity. The Southeast Resources Recovery Facility (SERRF) in Long Beach processes one-half million tons of waste per year, producing the equivalent amount of electricity needed to service approximately 35,000 homes.
Long Beach State Athletics
The university fields teams in baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, women’s soccer, softball, women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s volleyball, women’s sand volleyball and men’s and women’s water polo. Athletic events at Long Beach State provide an excellent venue for client entertainment and corporate advertising, as well as delight for sports enthusiasts of all ages. Go Beach!