A weekly newsletter on the latest local government news from the lens of the Long Beach Post's City Hall reporter, who sits through so many city meetings for us.
All politics aside ...

I want to start off this week by thanking YOU for reading MY newsletter about CITY happenings. I really do APPRECIATE the kind words some of YOU have sent over the past few WEEKS.

If you’re wondering why the aggressive tone, you probably didn’t watch the City Council meeting this week. Councilmember Suzie Price was using a similar all-caps, read-between-the-lines cadence while thanking Long Beach Police Department Chief Wally Hebeish for HIS proposal to add more bicycle cops to the city’s streets in HIS budget recommendation.

The recommendation calls for 16 additional bike cops and four quality of life officers to be added to the LBPD’s ranks this budget cycle to improve community relations by putting more officers outside of department-issued cruisers.

Despite Price prefacing her comments with "all politics aside" (wink wink), we know that is typically followed by something very political. It was—and that was clearly her intent.

At this point we should remind you that it’s election season, and Price is in a heated runoff for mayor with her colleague on the council, Rex Richardson.

In laying out a detailed, prosecutorial timeline of events, Price was not-so-subtly alleging that Richardson was privy to the budget details before anyone else, and his publicly-stated "idea" to add bike officers had already been included in the budget proposal he made public late last month.

Claiming responsibility for boosting the city’s police budget is an election-year equivalent of taking a picture with a baby at the Iowa State Fair.

Richardson, for his part, denies having any special access (in his exact words, "it’s BS"). The city, he said, has been moving toward community-facing policing for a while.

This budget tit-for-tat started at the July 5 City Council meeting. As I was trying to settle in after driving home from Joshua Tree for what was supposed to be a somewhat uneventful meeting, my phone began to buzz with messages alleging that a council item authored by Richardson was based on a leak of the budget.

All council members had been advised that the budget handed over to Mayor Robert Garcia’s office July 1 had a similar proposal in it, however, no members of the council had access to the document.

I started making calls the next morning.

If there was a leak, the mayor’s office denied it was from their office. James Ahumada, Garcia’s chief of staff, said he didn’t receive the budget until the late afternoon on Friday. The mayor—who has not endorsed anyone in the race to decide his successor—had remarked during the July 5 council meeting that he had yet to read through the budget.

Richardson said it’s common knowledge that the budget is crafted, sometimes tacitly, by what city management hears from the council over the entire year (his proposal, however, was approved days after the budget was finalized).

Hebeish declined to discuss his proposal, which wasn’t made public until last week.

That left City Manager Tom Modica. Modica said his office certainly didn’t leak anything and confirmed he alerted individual council members that something similar to Richardson’s idea was already in the budget.

"Very similar but not exact," Modica told me last month. "If it was exactly exact, it would be more concerning."

So whose bike cops are they anyway?

Well, Garcia included the proposal in his official mayoral recommendations for the budget but that doesn’t seem to match up with the timeline of him receiving the budget on July 1, admitting to not reading it as of July 5. And Modica says the additional cops were already in the budget when it was turned over to Garcia’s office.

Richardson has taken to social media to celebrate the inclusion of "our" budget recommendation for more police officers. Again, if everyone is telling the truth, that also doesn’t seem to match up.

It seems to be that these are Hebeish’s bike cops, which makes sense, given that he’s the chief of police. Hebeish’s full budget presentation this week put a focus on improving community relations and cops on bikes are one way that the department is hoping to do that in the coming years.


For some people, parklets have been a very negative addition to our city’s streets. Some of them present real issues, especially for people with disabilities. The temporary program that has allowed them to exist for the past few years is coming to a close in the next few weeks and the city has determined which spaces are eligible for a permanent one. I put together a map last week to illustrate where those could be located. However, it’s important to remember that just because the city says they can exist there doesn’t necessarily mean that business owners will go through with making them permanent. The process is very expensive and for those near the coast, will likely include some sort of approval from the California Coastal Commission. Please, enjoy my map.


My colleague Kelly Puente has been grinding away at a story we finally published this week about the Long Beach Convention Center and allegations that officials may have misused public funds to buy over $1 million in furniture, some of it during a period when the center was closed due to COVID. It’s an important story and one that took weeks to get right. We never know where story tips will take us (feel free to send them) and sometimes it takes time to package them into responsible and accurate journalism. We couldn’t do this work without your support. While my newsletter and most of our stories are free, it isn't free to produce. If you’re able, consider becoming a Long Beach Post member. Even if you don’t, make sure to read Kelly’s story. It’s a real yarn.

Please feel free to contact me at with questions, suggestions, or story tips.
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