Long Beach, CA
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File #: 21-0874    Version: Name: 082021-GPE-Naming the North Health Facility, “The Ronald R. Arias Health Equity Center”
Type: Agenda Item Status: Approved
File created: 8/17/2021 In control: City Council
On agenda: 8/20/2021 Final action: 9/14/2021
Title: Recommendation to approve the naming of the newly renovated North Health Facility, “The Ronald R. Arias Health Equity Center”, in recognition of the legacy, contributions and services of former Long Beach Director of Health and Human Services Ronald R. Arias.
Sponsors: COUNCILMAN DARYL SUPERNAW, FOURTH DISTRICT, CHAIR, Government, Personnel and Elections Oversight Comm
Attachments: 1. 082021.gpe.item3.pdf, 2. 091421-R-25sr&att.pdf
Related files: 21-0672

TITLE

Recommendation to approve the naming of the newly renovated North Health Facility, “The Ronald R. Arias Health Equity Center”, in recognition of the legacy, contributions and services of former Long Beach Director of Health and Human Services Ronald R. Arias.

 

DISCUSSION

In June 2016, the voters approved Measure A, a ballot initiative to fund a number of

infrastructure projects in the city. Among those projects was a remodel of the North Health

Facility in Houghton Park. The newly renovated health center, scheduled to open this

summer, will feature youth violence prevention and reentry programs, workforce

development programs, medical services to North Long Beach residents, a public health

clinic with an emphasis on sexual health, and meeting rooms for program leaders from

different supportive service organizations to provide outreach to local residents.

 

As we approach the unveiling of the newly renovated facility, it is befitting that the City of

Long Beach commemorates former City Health and Human Services Director Ronald R.

Arias' extensive contributions to health equity in our city by naming the newly renovated

health center at Houghton Park, the Ronald R. Arias Health Equity Center.

 

Ronald R. Arias (Ron), a longtime Uptown Long Beach resident, is a public health

champion who has dedicated his career and personal life to social justice, youth

development and better health outcomes for all. Ron served in leadership of our City's

Health Department for more than 22 years, with 12 of those years at the forefront as

Department Director. Under his guidance, the Health Department had many policy and

programming accomplishments, including the development and opening of the Miller

Family Health Education Center, the creation of the City's Healthy Beverage and Snack

Policy, and securing the more than $1 million investment into North Long Beach by Kaiser

Permanente through the Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) Zone Initiative whose main

activities were focused on Houghton Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. Ron's

vision over the years for a healthy and equitable city has allowed Long Beach, but

particularly North Long Beach, to be at the forefront of improving health inequities through

policy and systems change.

 

Today, Ron continues to volunteer his time and efforts to various organizations and

causes throughout Long Beach including the Children's Clinic Community Advisory

Committee, the Earl B. and Loraine H. Miller Foundation, the Rancho Los Cerritos

Foundation, and the Long Beach Latino Cultural Center steering committee. He is a true

example of an advocate, mentor, and compassionate leader.

 

The renovated and expanded Ronald R. Arias Health Equity Center will be the perfect

complement to the Doris Topsy-Elvord Community Center located right next door within

Houghton Park. Both sites will provide needed community space, services and programs

for youth, seniors, and families.

 

According to City of Long Beach administrative policy (AR8-7), "City-owned land,

buildings and facilities will not normally be named after living persons unless the City

Council deems it appropriate to take such action on the basis of a significant contribution,

monetary or otherwise, which warrants a deviation from this policy guideline." Former

director Ronald R. Arias most certainly meets the exception to this policy.

 

Special thanks to the members of the Ronald R. Arias Naming Steering Committee:

   • Hon. Steven Neal

   • Susana Gonzalez Edmond, Vice President, Mercury Public Affairs & Centro CHA

     Board Member

   • Mario Gonzalez, President, Centro CHA Board of Directors

   • Shawna Herrera Stevens,.Principal,-SHS Connections

   • Jessica Quintana, Executive Director, Centro CHA

 

Special thanks to the Offices of Mary Zendejas, 151 District, and Roberto Uranga, 7th

District, for joining us in support of this historic proposal.

 

Equity Lens

 

The proposal is consistent with Long Beach Reconciliation Initiative - Initial Report:

 

Goal 1: Strategy 1.  End systemic racism in Long Beach, in al/ local government and

partner agencies, through internal transformation.

 

A.  Read past research, integrate it, and build on it by continuing to document the role of

     racism throughout the history of Long Beach and incorporate it into the Historic

    Context Statement and racial equity timeline. Immediate

 

B.  Create a process to review the names af public parks, schools (in partnership with

     LBUSD}, buildings, and monuments with a racial equity lens. Short Term

 

In a column in the Hechinger Report in 2017, by Dr. Andre Perry, a contributing writer, is

a David M. Rubenstein Fellow at The Brookings Institution founding dean of urban

education at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Ml, racial equity in naming of public

institutions and landmarks is about making history, not erasing it. "The built environment

is so much more than shelter, urban planning and architecture - it reflects our very

commitment to democracy. Our statues are monuments of the state of our democracy as

much as they honor our beloved."

 

This recommendation is appropriate and acknowledges cultural context. The City of Long

Beach is updating its Historic Context Statement and preparing its first-ever historic

context statement focused on Race and Suburbanization. These documents allow

decisions to be rooted in a deeper understanding of the City's history and evolution,

including the communities of color that have helped shape it.

 

FISCAL IMPACT

No Financial Management review was able to be conducted due to the urgency and time

sensitivity of this item.

 

URGENCY STATEMENT

Due to the upcoming reopening of the facility, urgency is requested for this item.

 

SUGGESTED ACTION

Approve recommendation.