By Nick Diamantides
Congresswoman Laura Richardson (D-37th District) has made good on her promise to open an office in Signal Hill City Hall. Last Saturday morning, she and her staff held a grand opening celebration at City Hall. Although it was pouring rain at the time, about 20 residents showed up for the event. City council members and city staff were there too.
Richardson’s aide, Henry Rogers, who is primarily based in the congresswoman’s downtown Long Beach office, will be in the Signal Hill City Hall office on Fridays from 9am to 4:30pm. “In our downtown office, we get numerous constituent issues– everything from situations involving the Veterans Administration to immigration problems to Social Security issues to Medicare issues,” he said. “We will be dealing with those same types of issues here, but this will just be a more convenient location for the residents of Signal Hill who need our help in dealing with federal agencies.”
“It was really amazing to come here today and to see constituent Signal Hill residents excited about us being here,” Richardson said. “It was also exciting to see the Signal Hill City Council because really the success for all of us as elected officials is if we can work together.” She explained that, when the officials of the federal and local governments talk to each other, there is a higher likelihood that the real needs of the people will be met. She added that she was glad to see Connie Sziebel, assistant to Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, at the grand opening too. “When everyone works together, we can accomplish a whole lot,” she explained. “The whole point of us opening up an office here in City Hall is so that we can all work together.” She added that programs initiated by local governments have a better likelihood of success.
Although Richardson said it was important for the new office to open in Signal Hill, she noted that the downtown Long Beach office already had lots of contact with Signal Hill residents. “Actually, we have provided much more access to our staff for local constituents than my predecessor (Juanita Millender-McDonald) had provided,” Richardson said. “My staff person Henry Rogers is assigned to this community, and Signal Hill residents have been coming to our downtown office, but this office will just make it more convenient for them.”
Richardson added that she is very involved in getting federal funding for Signal Hill projects. “When you look at the Cherry Avenue widening project, we helped get federal transportation dollars for that,” she said. “There are also other projects that we can help with, for local governments and even for businesses.” She explained that sometime next year her staff will host a grant-writing workshop to help local business people get federal grants for projects that will help their companies and stores prosper. “There is a lot of funding that is available that people either don’t know about or don’t know how to access,” she said. “By us having offices closer to the residents, it is easier for them to come in and ask their questions. We even have teleconferencing available at our downtown office where we can have discussions with our constituents and a federal agency at the same time.”
Charlie Honeycutt, Signal Hill’s deputy city manager, said he is pleased by the number of people that came to the grand opening of Richardson’s office. “We are very pleased to have the congresswoman here to be able to serve the community,” he added. “It just shows her dedication to be responsive to the needs of our community.” Honeycutt praised Richardson for being a strong supporter of Signal Hill. “She has fought hard for a lot of funding for the city,” he said. “She represents us very well.”
Signal Hill Vice Mayor Ed Wilson agreed. “She has been instrumental in us getting federal funding for the things we are doing,” he said. “We are very excited about her office being opened here in Signal Hill. It’s going to be very beneficial to our residents.”
“We are really looking forward to having Signal Hill residents come to our office in City Hall,” Rogers said.