By Cory Bilicko
Earlier this week, Long Beach Councilmembers Robert Garcia and Gary DeLong, along with Tom Modica, director of Government Affairs and Strategic Initiatives, visited Washington D.C. to advocate on behalf of the City of Long Beach as part of its Federal Legislation Committee, of which DeLong is chair and Garcia is vice chair. They met with federal officials and had meetings with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Justice, the Department of Transportation, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Major issues discussed during the trip included a continuing resolution by the House Appropriations Committee proposing a $100-billion cut for the Fiscal Year 2011 federal budget. Cuts are proposed to Community Development Block Grants and the elimination of Workforce Investment Act groups. Both actions could have significant impacts to the Long Beach community, according to Garcia and DeLong.
The city representatives also addressed: proposed cuts to state and local Department of Homeland Security grants, which help maintain security in Long Beach; federal funding for advanced crime-fighting technology, such as mobile surveillance cameras; additional funding for the Colorado Lagoon Restoration Project; federal appropriations to begin the authorized feasibility study for the East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study; and major transportation projects like the realignment of Shoemaker Bridge and bike mobility.
“The trip went well,” said Garcia. “It was great to see so many supporters out in DC. We had a great discussion with the Army Corps of Engineers about the Breakwater.”
He noted that Long Beach has stepped up to support the Long Beach Breakwater and Ecosystem Restoration study, and now it’s time for Washington to do the same. “Cleaning our water and restoring our shore will transform our coastline and be an economic boon to the city.”
DeLong said he had been looking forward to meeting with Congressional delegation to discuss the issues that are important to Long Beach. “Federal support for the Colorado Lagoon is extremely important as we move towards restoring this citywide asset,” he said.