RSSAuthor Archive for ldugger

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Community Leader: Annette Quintero

For the past 10 years, Annette Quintero has been active in numerous organizations dedicated to a variety of local and international issues.

Her most recent involvement encompasses international, national and regional advocacy and service work with the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition. She has organized educational forums regarding multi-ethnic migration, health, education, and housing; advocated for comprehensive immigration reform and undocumented students’ issues; and raised $3,000 for immigrant families in sanctuary at local churches and over $8,000 in scholarships for CSULB immigrant students.

Quintero is also a member of the steering committee for the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community. She has conducted media interviews about the need for good jobs in Long Beach, addressed the Long Beach City Council about the “working poor” and the need for a livable wage, and helped to organize many community delegations, marches, and educational events.

Since 2006 Quintero has served on the board of the African Well Fund, an organization dedicated to building and maintaining fresh water wells in Africa. She has organized various educational forums for the community, religious institutions, and schools; forged partnerships with leading international organizations; and worked to provide clean drinking water to more than 200,000 people in over 12 countries.

Quintero is a monthly volunteer with the Long Beach Community Action Team, which is dedicated to promoting social well-being among the Long Beach community by implementing youth programs, environmental stewardship, and animal welfare. She has also been involved in the CSULB community since becoming a student in 2005. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology at CSULB in 2007 and will complete her certificate in geographic information systems this month.

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Photo Gallery: Creating A Stronger Community

The Coalition for Good Jobs And A Healthy Community is committed to building a stronger Long Beach where civic participation is active and engaging.
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Long Beach Candidates’ Forum Features Five City Council Candidates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2010

Media Contact:
Nick Sifuentes (310) 866-1692

Long Beach Candidates’ Forum Features Five City Council Candidates

Incumbents and Challengers Answer Community Questions on Good Jobs, Development, Governmental Accountability

LONG BEACH – In anticipation of the Long Beach City Council elections on April 13, the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community sponsored a candidates’ forum on February 18th. That forum brought community and candidates together so that constituents could hear from each hopeful where he or she stood on a series of issues. The candidates also submitted written responses to questions posed by community groups in Long Beach and their responses were made available to residents at the forum. The forum sponsors also asked the candidates to sign a community pledge indicating their support for a set of policy initiatives aimed at creating good jobs for working families in Long Beach and creating healthy communities.

Of the candidates in attendance, those who signed the pledge were Tonia Reyes Uranga, Tom Marchese and Steve Neal. Reyes Uranga, after signing the pledge, stated, “I don’t think there’s anyone who can disagree with the points in the pledge. It’s a real common-sense, realistic approach to making this a better community.” Tom Marchese said after signing, “I believe signing the pledge is the right thing to do. I believe in equity and fairness for all, and I believe that Long Beach should be a community where everyone has opportunity and a living wage and the ability to try and grow and prosper.”

The Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community also released results from a community survey of over three hundred Long Beach residents, conducted from December 2009 through February of this year. According to those survey results, 92% of residents considered “Access to affordable, quality health care” very important to them; 87% reported “Access to living wage jobs” very important and 82% considered “Better air quality” very important. “Very important” was the highest importance ranking in that survey. Sixty percent of residents described their financial situation as either “Struggling to make ends meet” or “Facing serious financial difficulties,” underscoring the challenges posed to Long Beach families by the lack of quality jobs in the city.

The forum was co-sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement, Housing Long Beach, the Women’s Democratic Study Club, the Immigrant Rights Coalition, the Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization and Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. All candidates running for City Council offices were invited to attend; those that attended the forum were: Jana Shields, Dist. 1; Tom Marchese, Dist. 3; James Johnson and Tonia Reyes Uranga, Dist. 7; and Steve Neal, Dist. 9.

The Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community is a community organization which advocates for a fair and sustainable economy that works for every Long Beach family. For more information, contact Nick Sifuentes at (310) 866-1692.

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Community Coalition Calls for Greater Transparency and Community Input in Development Approval Process

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 11, 2009

Media Contact:
Nick Sifuentes (310) 866-1692

Community Coalition Calls for Greater Transparency and Community Input in Development Approval Process

In Light of Murchison Lobbying Affair, Coalition Delivered Long Beach City Council a List of Demands for Reform

LONG BEACH, CA – The Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community delivered a list of demands to the City Council Friday afternoon, calling on the council to increase transparency and means for community input in the development project approval process.

The coalition also called for Community Benefits Agreements to be attached to projects that benefit from taxpayer subsidies. A study by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy found that the City of Long Beach has invested $750 million public dollars into its downtown tourism industry since the early 1980s.

“We need a great shift in the way business is done in Long Beach,” said Kristine Zentgraph, a coalition member and California State University Lon Beach professor. “Development, particularly that which benefits from taxpayer dollars, needs to work for our entire community.”

The announcement came about a week-and-a-half after the Press-Telegram revealed that Long Beach Director of Development Services Craig Beck has vacationed with a hotel lobbyist with business before the council. On one such trip, Beck received a significantly discounted hotel room.

Beck and the lobbyist, Mike Murchison, who represents LodgeWorks, were staying at a LodgeWorks hotel in Napa. LodgeWorks received City Council and California Coastal Commission approval to build a new hotel called the Sierra Suites on the Long Beach coast.

The coalition re-iterated its call for a moratorium on tourism development projects until there is a thorough investigation into the Beck-Murchison matter. Coalition members said they do not believe this is the only incident of back-room deal making, but emblematic of a broader problem of insider influence that has plagued Long Beach for years.

“During Council meetings, Mr. Murchison and other developers walk in and out of City Council Chambers, chatting in secret about deals that greatly affect us all,” said Casey Terrazas, a Long Beach resident and coalition member, who spoke at the Long Beach City Council meeting last week.

On Friday, the Coalition also urged the City Council to hold a public hearing on the matter and adopt a policy calling for full disclosure of communication between city officials and company representatives with business before the council.

The Coalition also stressed the importance of allowing community input in development decisions.

“The Coalition has asked the City Council and project developers, such as LodgeWorks, to come to the table and talk with residents,” Zentgraph said. “By attaching specific community benefits to projects that receive public subsidies, we can ensure that residents get a positive return on their investments.”

Community Benefits Agreements ensure that future development is responsive to the affected communities and that taxpayers’ money is spent on projects that are accountable to the city. Examples are ensuring that jobs created by the development provide a liveable wage and affordable health benefits, committing to local hiring and putting aside money for worker training programs.

“The point is, if taxpayers are asked to put up the money to help developers build multi-million dollar projects in our city, then we deserve to get something in return,” Zentgraph said.

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Coalition Files Suit Against City of Long Beach, Claiming Community Input Circumvented during Hotel Development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2009

Media Contact:
Nadia Afghani (714) 612-6390 cell

Coalition Files Suit Against City of Long Beach, Claiming Community Input Circumvented during Hotel Development

Community Group Says City Council is in Violation of Brown Act and California Environmental Quality Act

LONG BEACH — On Friday, August 21, the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community filed suit against the City of Long Beach claiming the development of the 125-room Hotel Sierra at the Pike needs a new Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to assess the possible impact the hotel development will have on the environment and local communities.

The city also denied members of the public the chance to directly address concerns about the project and its environmental impacts to the community. The Brown Act requires the City of Long Beach to “provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the [City Council] on any item of interest to the public, before and during the legislative body’s consideration of the item”. Unfortunately, this did not happen at the July 21st City Council meeting.

“A few weeks ago, we spoke to City Council about this project with regard to the environmental, social, and economic impacts on our community. In response, a majority of the Council voted to postpone the vote to provide an opportunity for the community to voice its support for responsible development,” said CSULB Sociology Professor Gary Hytrek and Coalition Steering Committee Member. “We met with the developers of the Hotel Sierra and expressed our concerns for the lack of quality jobs and community input. While the developers listened, there was absolutely no indication of any intent to engage in a meaningful conversation about real community input into this process.”

The Coalition filed suit against the City on the grounds that Lodgeworks, the developer and operator of the proposed hotel, was permitted to use an addendum to the original Environmental Impact Report (EIR), despite the fact that the project is substantially different than the original plan. The 7-year old EIR was modified to allow the construction of a single 275-room hotel at the Pike. Developers used that EIR to construct the 140-room Avia Hotel in 2005. In 2009, developers asked for an addendum to the EIR that would allow for the development of Hotel Sierra, their second hotel at the Pike.

The city amended the plan to allow the construction of two hotels totaling 265 rooms at the proposed site. Although the total rooms would be lower than the original provision, the city does not take into account the negative environmental impacts caused by having two separate hotels in lieu of one. There was no consideration for the impact that a second hotel, with separate facilities, would have to air quality, hazardous materials, water quality, water supply, and greenhouse gas emissions.

“The Brown Act and CEQA are two of the most important laws the public has for preserving our democracy and protecting public health and the environment,” said environmental attorney Cory Briggs of Brigg Law Corporation. “Long Beach’s violations of both laws is a serious injury that the public should not have to endure.”

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