Mary's Accomplishments & Priorities
Housing and Homelessness
My first agenda item on the Long Beach City Council was to close the substantial remodel loophole which was unanimously adopted by the City Council. The policy prohibited “no-fault” evictions in the cases where building owners claimed to be remodeling the apartments in question but had not asked, paid for, and received the building permits necessary to do the construction. I also played a pivotal role in the City of Long Beach adopting a historic inclusionary housing policy that requires new housing developments to set aside units specifically priced for low-income residents. I also supported the adoption of a housing bond which, had it passed, would have raised the funding required to create enough affordable housing to meet the city’s needs.
I have also helped with the development and opening of hundreds of additional housing units in the First District — with a focus on the lower AMI tiers for low-income families and residents. I have been a longtime advocate for motel conversion to help meet the need for permanent supportive housing in Southern California and, in coordination with the State of California and Los Angeles County, I helped to bring three Project RoomKey and, later, Project HomeKey locations to the City of Long Beach. These motels are in the process of being converted and will result in hundreds of housing units for people experiencing homelessness. Through these programs, they will receive case management and the support services they need to help them stay in housing long-term. Lastly, my colleagues and I passed the Long Beach Recovery Act which has set aside more than $30 million in rental assistance for housing-insecure tenants and those behind on rent payments due to the pandemic.
Public Safety and Public Health
I am committed to the safety of the First District. When violent crime became a heightened concern around the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, I responded by directing the Long Beach Police (LBPD) and Health Department to create a plan of action to address the surge by focusing on community building, expanding opportunities, and building safe neighborhoods through various diversion programs. I also worked with the LBPD on implementing their community walks program in the Washington neighborhood, as well as bringing a $1.1 million grant program to Long Beach to help get firearms off our street and through activating parks and community spaces in Central Long Beach.
Additionally, one of my central priorities has been helping to mitigate the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on First District residents, people of color, and our immigrant communities. I have worked with city staff to implement increased outreach, testing, and vaccinations in highly impacted communities, and helped to organize numerous neighborhood clinics at Washington Middle School and César Chávez Park. My Latinos Contra COVID task force has been lifted up as a model for community organizing and collaboration in response to this profound challenge of equity. We are continuing the work of addressing disparities in COVID-19 outcomes by fighting to ensure that public health and economic recovery resources — especially those provided by the Long Beach Recovery Act — are distributed based on need and equity.
Economic Recovery and Development
The passage of the Long Beach Recovery Act was critical to the long-term success of our local economy. Through the federal American Recuse Act - Long Beach will see hundreds of millions of dollars that will backfill our reserves, provide grants and loans to small businesses, and provide rental assistance while folks get back on their feet. I have also worked with my colleagues to loosen restrictions on outdoor dining, allow for zoning amendments in downtown to bring new businesses and industries to the core of the City, and provide much-needed revenue to move our city forward in a more equitable way. I have also stood up for the rights and dignity of frontline workers by sponsoring an item extending HERO pay to frontline grocery workers helping to keep our city fed during the worst months of the pandemic. The item was supported unanimously by the City Council and has been upheld by courts to ensure that workers got the additional pay they deserve.