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Long Beach city council discuss city workers, 2018 budget

DACA rescission prompts responses from council members.

Cris Rivera, Staff Writer

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City workers demanding fair wages filled the Long Beach city council chambers at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

At the start of the meeting, the chambers were at max capacity as people stood along the sides of the room waiting to fill in. The majority of the people there were members of the Association of Long Beach Employees. This group includes jobs like gas and building construction workers, auto mechanics, and harbor maintenance mechanics to name a few.

Since many city workers are only part-time employees, ALBE has been in negotiations with the city seeking fair wages and insurance benefits.

“We purify your water, we haul away your trash, we fix your vehicles, we keep your gas going, we maintain your street lights, we keep your Harbor open,” Wendell Phillips said, a spokesperson for ALBE who according to him represents about 750 Long Beach workers.

Philips stated that he does not feel the city workers have been treated or compensated fairly.

“They deserve your respect and they deserve your acknowledgement,” Phillips said, “We want to negotiate a fair deal, what you offered isn’t going to get it done.”

The city council will be made aware of the workers’ demands and negotiations in the coming weeks.

Before voting on the budget the public had an opportunity to comment on what they wanted to be included in the budget.

Multiple people spoke up on behalf of skate parks. Patrick Goddard asked the council to fund the Michael K. Green park, located at 14th street and Pacific Avenue, for skate park improvements.

Amber Sullivan, a resident of Long Beach and a single mom whose son frequents skate parks also supported the request for additional funding for skateparks across the city of Long Beach.

“As a single mom, having somewhere for him to go is priceless,” Sullivan continued, “Through skateboarding he’s had opportunities to travel to Minnesota to [skate competitively].”

Steffie Hands, a mother who understands the importance of skateparks, said, “I see skateparks as something that brings together the community and the kids.”

Though there are currently no funds allocated for the skate parks in Long Beach, council members are open to finding a way to renovate and create more skateparks.

On Monday, President Donald Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a program which aimed to give legal residency to those who immigrated to the United States without documentation as children, and are law abiding members of the United States.

Protests and demonstrations in support of deferred action recipients and undocumented people were held many cities across the nation, including Cal State Long Beach.

Councilmembers Roberto Uranga, Lena Gonzalez and Jeannine Pearce were among those who vocalized their support for students and employees under DACA in Long Beach and throughout the nation.

“President Trump has rescinded DACA today, and it’s a dark day for DACA students everywhere,” Seventh District Representative Roberto Uranga said. “I have a student employee who was a DACA participant in my office, so it hits home for me.”

District one representative Lena Gonzalez said, “It was a sad day for many of our students locally. My support and gratitude goes out to them.”

Jeannine Pearce district two representative advised those affected to not give up.

“Do not go back into the shadows, because we need you guys to be able to secure our communities for you,” Pearce said.

The next city council meeting will be on Tuesday Sept. 12.

https://www.albestrong.com

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