By Zamna Avila, Assistant Editor – February 7, 2014
At 67, Long Beach Council District 3 candidate Rosenberg boast 35 years in commercial real estate. He is one of a handful of candidates with similar views vying for the seat that termed-out Councilman Gary DeLong will be leaving this summer.
“My forté, for lack of a better word, is business,” he said. “I’m a fiscal conservative. The council needs somebody similar to Gary. Gary headed up the budget committee. When I win, I anticipate that I will head up the budget committee because of my background and my understanding of finance.”
If financial matters are his strength, he says he lacks knowledge when it comes to issues like medical marijuana.
“I don’t know very much about it,” he said. “It’s an issue that got away from the city. It is similar to electronic cigarettes…. I would have to say I don’t get it.”
Nevertheless, Rosenberg is betting that his business background and focus on the local economy and infrastructure is going to get him through the April 8 primaries.
District Goals District 3 is bordered by the trendy Belmont Shore and Naples’ man-made waterways to the south, Cal State Long Beach to the northeast and has riches in wetlands and waterways throughout the district. Rosenberg’s hopes that the Port of Long Beach tears down the breakwater so that Long Beach can make fuller use of its beaches again. But he’s not holding his breath for it.
“If they lower the breakwater it will cause the water quality to improve because the Harbor will then flush much better,” Rosenberg said. “I’d be very surprised if they said they are going to take down the breakwater completely and return Long Beach to the surf city it was in the 20s and the 30s.”
The Army Corps of Engineers are currently reviewing options for the breakwater, which include: tearing it down completely, tearing down in part, or leaving it as it is. He believes the Army Corps of Engineers will advocate on behalf of the second option.
Rosenberg believes that the Port of Long Beach is too developed and the breakwater too important to tear down either in part or in whole within the port area. But that’s just his personal opinion on the issues, that’s not his take as a candidate, he said.
He is, however, strongly supportive of rebuilding Naples’ seawalls, the concrete canal through which water from the San Gabriel river flows. The deterioration of the walls, caused by the water, may result in the fall of some of the seawalls in the event of an earthquake. The Coastal Commission has already approved city studies for repairs, but there are still some additional steps the city must take before moving to make the repairs.
City Goals The father of two adults is an admirer of both DeLong and Mayor Bob Foster.
“I just that thought it was the right time,” Rosenberg said. “Gary and [Mayor] Bob Foster have done a tremendous job getting through some very difficult economic times and now that the economy is getting better, it’s time to really move the city.”
Rosenberg praises Foster’s handling of pension negotiations with the public employee unions — particularly the police and firefighter unions which made up about half of the public employee costs — these past few years.
“For every pension that’s there, that means we can’t hire new policemen, we can’t hire new firemen,” said Rosenberg, comparing the city budget to a household budget. “All the union contracts are going to be under a microscope in the foreseeable future. And they should be. I’m not saying that they are going to be cut. Don’t get me wrong. But you still got this pie…. If the pie is not getting bigger, you have to figure out a way to operate within the pie. Everything will be looked at. It has to be.”
Rosenberg, who has worked on the Community Development Advisory Commission and the Long Beach Golf commission, sees this election cycle as an opportunity to build a consensus with five new council members and a new mayor.
“There [are] just a lot of changes, and with the changes it breeds opportunity to make things different. And I want to be part of it,” he said.
Because each council district has distinct issues, all too often, each council member votes differently, Rosenberg said.
“We are a little too parochial in representing our district,” he said. “There needs to be more of a connection… My plan is to try to bring everybody together and moving in the same direction.
“All too often the council doesn’t. They are worried about their district. And, they should worry about their district, but they can’t lose sight of the greater good, and that is the city.”
He wants to sit with all the other members of the council and get everybody on the same page.
“That is, for lack of a better word, salesmanship,” Rosenberg said.
As Rosenberg sees it, unemployment is among the bigger issues in the city. According to the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network, Long Beach unemployment rate was 9.7 percent, down from 12.7 percent in 2011.
“Everybody wants to see stability in jobs come to the entire area, not just the third district,” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg is looking to lead the council to entice new companies from diverse industries to Long Beach while retaining the ones that it has by making it easier to operate in Long Beach.
“Anybody who says they want to recruit a certain type of business is being naïve,” Rosenberg said. “If as a commercial real estate agent, if I said, ‘I’m only going to work with technology companies,’ I’d go broke.”
For Rosenberg, recruiting and retaining businesses does not mean he believes in incentives.
“If I give you an incentive to come in and I give you less taxes for 5 years, that costs the city money,” he said. “If you are paying $5 in taxes and I tell you, ‘For 5 years you only have to pay $3,’ well, that $2 has to be made up some place else in that pie.”
Hiring incentives also are not the answer to fighting unemployment in the city, he said. Instead, more should be done to retrain people for jobs that are demanded.
“Our big problem is that we don’t have the jobs out there,” Rosenberg said. “The companies that do need employees … need trained employees.”
He recognizes that growth and development move slowly, especially in less affluent communities. Bringing new business to more affluent communities can also foster employment for people living in other neighborhoods in Long Beach. It’s that fiscal stance of the city and his ability to bring people together that believes makes him the best candidate for the job.
“It’s all based on experience. I am the most qualified candidate to fill the job in the third district. I have the greater understanding than any of the other candidates.”