Friday, May 2, 2014

LA Mayor Suggests Port ‘Integrate’
with Long Beach

By Mark Edward Nero

On the heels of a report by an independent commission that urged the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to merge, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti this week expressed his desire that the adjoining ports work together much more closely.

“We are a single entity, and it is part of my leadership quest to make sure we start acting as a team in the region,” Garcetti said. His comments came April 29 in LA during an annual luncheon put on by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association.

The Port of LA is the larger, busier of the two ports and the most trafficked port in North America. Long Beach is the second-most trafficked. Combined, they’re one of the five busiest port complexes in the world.

“We need to talk about ways we hopefully can integrate more with the Port of Long Beach,” he said. “Not a merger, but an integration where we can look at how we can invest our needs.” Garcetti’s remarks came a few weeks after the early-April release of a report by the LA 2020 Commission, an independent, private commission formed to study and report on fiscal stability and job growth in Los Angeles.

Among the recommendations in the 2020 Commission report is that the ports merge.

“Los Angeles and Long Beach should parlay their individual successes into a combined port to enhance their overall competitive position,” the 21-page report states in part, citing a five percent lost market share over the past 10 years and a need for more tax revenues and regional jobs as the reasons.

Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster previously slammed the report, saying it was “disrespectful” that the 2020 Commission never bothered getting his city’s input before making the recommendation. He also rejected the report’s merger recommendation, saying the status quo should remain in place.

However, Foster’s second and final term as mayor is set to expire this July. On the same day he addressed the PMSA gathering, Garcetti endorsed Long Beach Vice Mayor Robert Garcia, who is set to face real estate developer Damon Dunn in a June 3 runoff in the race to be Foster’s replacement.