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Long Beach City Council postpones vote on Pike Hotel

by Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC) Saturday, Jul. 18, 2009 at 8:45 AM
epcc_la@hotmail.com 818-749-0272 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

Another victory for Hotel workers and Coalition in South Bay! Led by dozens of members of the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community (LBC) who were in the crowd, with their concerns on whether the hotel would provide decent wages for its employees, they told the council to work for workers interests. Urged on by a crowd of hotel worker's-rights supporters, the City Council on Tuesday voted 7-1 to continue for one week a vote that would move a proposed hotel at the Pike one step closer to approval.

EPCC News
Contact; Jerry Esguerra
Phone: (818) 749-0272

Long Beach City Council postpones vote on Pike Hotel

Long Beach – Another victory for Hotel workers and Coalition in South Bay!

Led by dozens of members of the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community (LBC) who were in the crowd, with their concerns on whether the hotel would provide decent wages for its employees, they told the council to work for workers interests.

Urged on by a crowd of hotel worker's-rights supporters, the City Council on Tuesday voted 7-1 to continue for one week a vote that would move a proposed hotel at the Pike one step closer to approval.

The council held a hearing on amending the Downtown Shoreline Planned Development District to allow the construction of a five-story, 125-room hotel, called Hotel Sierra, at the Pike.

Development for whom?

The development district needs to be amended because it only allows for one hotel up to 80 feet high, the existing Avia hotel, though the Hotel Sierra wouldn't quite reach the height limit at 70 feet tall.
The coalition has been a vocal supporter of unionization in Long Beach's hotels.

"The Long Beach hotel industry can and must invest more in its workforce," said Gary Hytrek, an associate professor of sociology at Cal State Long Beach.

The Long Beach Coalition members also questioned the validity of a 7-year-old environmental report that is being used for the project approval and an arrangement proposed for the hotel to allow the business to lease parking spaces for its guests at a nearby city-owned parking garage.

Representatives of the hotel touted its design, LEED environmental certification, and financial benefit to the city by producing hotel bed taxes.Irene Madison, a downtown resident, the project was moving too fast and that "our community's voice is being circumvented.

Second District Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal, who represents the Pike area, said that the project will have a positive impact but that there should be more dialogue between the developer and stakeholders before the council advances the project. She moved to have it delayed a week, closing the public hearing but postponing the council's vote.

Hotel Industry’s Interests

Chris Gebert, of the hotel's developer, Lodgeworks, said that in the current economic climate, financing isn't easily obtained and delays could hurt the project. "Will it kill us? It might." Gebert said.

Only Councilman Gary DeLong voted against Lowenthal's motion, saying that the city should be expediting, not slowing, new development that can produce tax revenue.

"Candidly, we need the money," DeLong said.Councilman Patrick O'Donnell was absent from the meeting.

Almost a third ( 1/3) of hotel workers in Long Beach are Filipinos. Long Beach was a traditional Filipino American city in South Bay in the early 1970's . But with the closing of the US Naval Base in the late 1970's, the Filipino community dimminished while the nearby city of Carson grew faster with a larger Filipino American residency.

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