Hermosa Beach Mayor Mary Campbell said July 30 during the city’s annual State of the City address, held virtually, that creating a resilient business community is essential during novel coronavirus pandemic.
“I cannot emphasize strongly enough, that by shopping local, eating local, and doing business local, wherever you can, and especially now, we can make a difference in helping our small businesses to survive this extended crisis,” Campbell said.
Campbell said that “one silver lining” of the pandemic is that she believes the city has forged stronger partnerships with the business community. This was done through different measures including expanding outdoor retail and dining opportunities, including patios, to accommodate ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. Gyms, fitness centers and personal care services such as hair and nail salons, were also approved to expand outside for business.
“There's so much goodwill within our community, which has risen to the occasion and is now rallying to stay in the game to create and innovate and to confront whatever lies ahead,” Campbell said.
While the pandemic has forced the country to face a challenge that has not been seen in generations, the death of an unarmed Black man by police led to protests across the country as well as the world. The beach cities were not immune with protests coming to Hermosa Beach and neighboring cities as well.
Hermosa Beach Police Chief Paul LeBaron began his new job in April during the beginning of the pandemic and a month before the death of George Floyd.
“We have to acknowledge that these conversations go well beyond one single incident,” said LeBaron at the virtual State of the City. “And they didn't just start back in May. Topics like racism, bias based policing and a disregard to constitutional rights are all things that the Hermosa Beach Police Department condemns.”
LeBaron said the Hermosa Beach Police Department prides itself on being a leader in police reform and developing strong relationships in the community. Over the past three months, the department has focused on analyzing its internal policies and procedures, he said.
The police chief said the department has eliminated carotid restraints and has emphasized the importance of officers reporting excessive force when witnessed. Also, the use of body and in-car cameras will show accountability to the public, said LeBaron.
“We continue to meet with our community,” LeBaron said. “We continue to listen to their experiences so that we can better understand how we as the police department can be a part of the South Bay community and more importantly, the city of Hermosa Beach community as we continue to police into the 21st century.”
In addition to hiring LeBaron as police chief, City Manager Suja Lowenthal said the city hired two other vital positions in recent months including City Clerk Eddie Sarmiento, who became the first appointed city clerk in Hermosa’s history in May. Public Works Director Marnell Gibson joined the city last year, as a vital part of city staff.
“My sincerest and very special thanks to all the city staff for working on the frontlines of this public health emergency, which has brought such sweeping wide ranging changes to our daily lives, and all while keeping the city functioning every day no matter what,” Campbell said.