2024 City Council District 6

Compare your candidates' answers to our reporters' questions below. You will find a section of each candidate's interview highlighted that editors felt best summarized each answer. Click on the highlighted portion to read the candidate's full answer.
Cristino Pinto
Suely Saro

Cristino Pinto

→ Read Cristino Pinto's complete answers here

1. After more than a year under a state of emergency in response to homelessness, it remains one of the most pressing issues facing Long Beach. What would you do differently to address this crisis of housing, addiction and mental health? 

I feel sympathy, I think no one should be living in the street facing those conditions, they are someone’s brother, sister, cousin, uncle or friend. I think at any given moment anybody can be homeless due to the economy and social inequality. We need to continue pressing on the issue for immediate solutions at the leadership level, If we don’t, it may become a cycle. This is collective leadership work. 

If elected:

In 60 days in office, I will streamline the urgent execution action plan to de-escalate the homeless problem.

I will call a town hall meeting with every local homeless agency, community leaders, residents and local churches, even exchanging visions with other community leaders that already experienced homeless problems to help reevaluate and foresee immediate solutions for housing, addiction and mental health.

And then I draw up an action plan to reach out, call different levels of government entities, federal, state and county agencies for shelter and resources for mental and addiction issues, and finally reach educational experts and leader programs to help them for self-sustainability. 

2. The city has recently had extensive hiring shortages affecting everything from trash pickup to police and fire response. How would you speed hiring and improve retention? 

If elected: in-depth, I will take analyses of a variety of sources including city data, jobs reports, private-sector best practices, have extended dialog with council member team and experts representing diverse fields and interest of the workers and city. Also may inform the community residents affected by the services.

3. Long Beach has long been dependent on oil revenue, but that stream of money is going away. How should the city make up that revenue to avoid major budget deficits? 

When there is the prospect of serious budget shortfalls, I think it is important to impose across-the-board budget cuts or at least to work with department heads to identify a special level of cut, at the same time promote economic growth through fiscal policies. 

4. Next to Downtown, Central Long Beach has been one of the areas that has had the most amount of recent construction in the city. What are your specific plans to ensure new housing and businesses do not displace existing residents? 

Understandable that the city of Long Beach continues to grow, and there are challenges and complexities. The city depends on urban planning for functionality, growth, and to bring in new businesses. That’s why developers should follow planning rules and trends. As construction and technology is one of my career trades, if elected, I will enhance city living as a core idea. The following factors go into proper city planning: public welfare, equality, efficient emergency measures and community participation. 

5. The 6th District includes many “high-injury” streets and intersections that the city knows are dangerous for pedestrians and drivers. What will you do to make streets like Pacific Coast Highway and Anaheim Street safe and push Long Beach toward its goal of zero traffic deaths? 

I’m so glad you asked! I have seen so many injuries in my district. The Vision Zero goal is to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2026. It’s time for action. 

If elected in 60 days in the office, I will streamline the urgent execution action plan to avoid injuries and save lives in the community.

Suely Saro

→ Read Suely Saro's complete answers here

1. After more than a year under a state of emergency in response to homelessness, it remains one of the most pressing issues facing Long Beach. What would you do differently to address this crisis of housing, addiction and mental health?

Yes, it continues to remain one of the most pressing issues facing Long Beach and our nation. The mission of the emergency is to reduce the number of persons experiencing homelessness in the city and the region by increasing housing opportunities and by enhancing current initiatives that provide field-based outreach, engagement, and supportive services while maintaining the safety and security of people experiencing homelessness. I would not change that mission and would continue with the plan that is set forth in the short-, mid-, and long-term plan to address the needs of our unhoused communities. We cannot do this alone. We must continue to work together with other cities, and the county, state, and federal government to coordinate strategy, activities, and resources. For example, Long Beach received $1.3 million in state grants to fund support services and temporary housing for people experiencing homelessness in clusters of encampments in Cambodia Town. This has provided immediate access to shelter, case management to get people into permanent housing and finally permanent housing.

2. The city has recently had extensive hiring shortages affecting everything from trash pickup to police and fire response. How would you speed hiring and improve retention?

This is a challenge facing many other cities including the city of Long Beach. However, we have done everything from increasing incentive bonuses to working hard to conduct recruitment. The city of Long Beach is addressing the shortage. We have fully filled positions for refuse collection. We have 39 graduates from the Long Beach Fire Academy ready to serve in the department. We have 29 Long Beach Police Department recruits and three Redondo Beach Police Department recruits who have successfully completed five months of intense academic, physical, and practical training and are ready to serve in the department.

3. Long Beach has long been dependent on oil revenue, but that stream of money is going away. How should the city make up that revenue to avoid major budget deficits?

I voted to approve the mayor’s Grow Long Beach initiative which asks city staff to put together a detailed plan to foster the growth in aerospace, education, health care, and the Port of Long Beach to offset oil revenues that may disappear in the coming years.

4. Next to Downtown, Central Long Beach has been one of the areas that has had the most amount of recent construction in the city. What are your specific plans to ensure new housing and businesses do not displace existing residents?

District 6 is in Central Long Beach and we have two affordable housing projects that will be opening in early 2024. It was particularly important to me that in the development of these affordable housing units, there was minimal disruption and displacement for the community. The city has been able to provide housing to existing residents who meet the criteria.

5. The 6th District includes many “high-injury” streets and intersections that the city knows are dangerous for pedestrians and drivers. What will you do to make streets like Pacific Coast Highway and Anaheim Street safe and push Long Beach toward its goal of zero traffic deaths? 

It’s been a priority for me to ensure that streets are safe for pedestrians and drivers. When I previously served as the chair of the Public Safety Committee, I brought forward discussion to address how we may meet the city’s Vision Zero goals to reduce pedestrian and bike rider fatalities. And the conversation continues as I am the chair of the Mobility, Ports, and Infrastructure Committee. I am holding Caltrans accountable for increasing street safety for drivers and residents. I invited CalTrans, who has jurisdiction of Pacific Coast Highway, to our September 2023 committee meeting to provide information on an overview of their Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1) project and to provide a schedule of the project’s timeline. I raised questions regarding how they will ensure increased street safety for pedestrians and drivers as they have plans to make improvements to streets and sidewalks. Furthermore, we will begin implementing the Anaheim Corridor Improvement Project in 2024 that will utilize the Vision Zero goals and recommendations to ensure we move towards zero traffic deaths.