City council votes to approve measures expanding protections for Long Beach workers

At its May 12 meeting, the Long Beach City Council discussed increasing the number of pets residents can own, protections for workers impacted by COVID-19 and funding for the Long Beach Airport. 

Protections
The City Council unanimously voted to approve protections for Long Beach workers affected by COVID-19. 

The three ordinances were debated by the council at a previous meeting, where they instructed the City attorney to return with drafts about how to extend more protections to local workers. 

The new ordinances will apply to hotel workers who lost their jobs or had their hours scaled back due to the safer-at-home order from the City. 

The first ordinance will require employers to hire back workers who laid off after March 4 due to the coronavirus shutdown. 

Employers must bring back workers based on seniority once the same, or similar, position becomes available. The employee then has five business days to accept the job. 

Under the resolution, Long Beach City Manager Tom Modica will report back to the council every 90 days to provide updates on how the ordinance is working and whether changes should be made. 

The council also voted to approve a separate measure that will also apply to workers and janitorial staff at hotels or commercial property businesses. 

Under the ordinance, when a business is sold, the new owners must retain workers who were working for the previous company for at least 90 days.  

The final ordinance extends sick leave for employees not covered by the Federal Emergency Sick Leave Act. 

The order will apply to companies with 500 or more employees nationally who are not required to provide full or partial paid sick leave to its workers. 

Full-time employees will be entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave, and part-time employees are allowed paid sick leave relative to the average number of hours worked over two weeks. 

Pets
The city council voted to receive documentation recommending a measure to increase the limit on the number of pets residents can own from four to six. 

Even though the measure to increase the number of pets was not controversial, some councilmembers expressed their concern about a lack of safeguards against people owning too many pets. 

5th District Councilmember Stacy Mungo did not oppose the ordinance but stated that her community generally does not have many animals due to noise complaints. 

She advocated for safeguards to determine if a family was able to house six animals adequately, and said she would be open to an easy or strenuous process. 

Mungo also expressed concern about an apartment building with multiple tenants housing pets and the impact this could have on a neighborhood. 

“We have a process to apply to be a breeder. We have a process apply to be on the menagerie,” Mungo said. “There should be a process for pets, and what we’re talking about right now is a triplex that could have 18 animals, and maybe that’s not the greatest idea.”

Seventh District Councilmember Roberto Uranga tried to raise a motion to send the ordinance back to the city attorney for more clarification. Still, the council chose to move forward with the vote. 

In the end, the council voted 8-1 to approve the potential change– Uranga voted nay. 

Airport
The council voted to adopt a resolution to give the city manager authority to enter into a contract for the continued construction at Long Beach Airport. 

Under the resolution, the City will enter into a contract with Anser Advisory, LLC dba, Simplus Management, LLC, of Cypress, CA, for the construction management services. 

The construction will be for the project known as Phase II Terminal Area Improvements and will be for the amount of $3,947,343, for three years– with an option to renew for two one-year periods after that. 

Cynthia Guidry, the director of the Long Beach Airport, also provided updates on how the program is expected to move forward now that the airport has lost revenue due to COVID-19. 

“The airport is spending a tremendous amount of our reserve cash,” Guidry said. “We were in a very good financial position before COVID, but you know for you save money for rainy days, and it’s pouring right now.”

Guidry stated that the airport did receive $18.4 million in funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, but that it will cover expenses for roughly six to seven months. 

The airport is considering halting certain parts of the second phase as a cost-cutting measure, one of which is TSA funded. The other, the new ticketing building, will continue until a “logical hard stop.”

Stephan Lum, the Phase II project manager, also stated that the airport is delaying the baggage claim project for 17 months. 

The Long Beach City Council meetings are held on Tuesday, except for the last Tuesday of the month. Council meetings are held in council chambers in the civic center plaza, 411. W. Ocean Blvd.

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