Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia hosted three meet and greets at cafes throughout the city on Saturday.
The events allowed the mayor to share news about the city’s progress and gave residents the opportunity to share their concerns for the problems that remain.
“I’ll spend some time at three Long Beach cafes to say hello to residents, share news about the city, and answer your questions,” he said in an email. “It’s an opportunity for me to hear feedback and input from you and your neighbors.”
Many residents filled Grounds Bakery Café to hear what the mayor had to say.
Garcia shared news that Long Beach unemployment rates have turned around from 14 percent in 2007 to 6 percent in 2015.
“The economy right now is strong, always can be stronger but it is doing really well,” said Garcia.
Education in Long Beach is also flourishing as both Cal State Long Beach and Long Beach City College were praised for CSULB’s high application rates and LBCC’s free first-year tuition program for any LBUSD graduate.
“The education system in Long Beach has never been better,” said Garcia. “Cal State Long Beach this year became the fifth most applied-to university in the country.”
Garcia spoke of the challenges regarding the city’s lack of funds for infrastructure. He also mentioned the city’s steadily rising crime rates and that low-level offenders receive little outside help to move on with their lives.
“Up to the day, we have received zero dollars from the state or the county to help these folks back into our community,” said Garcia. “That’ll be a big challenge in the future for us to work on.”