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Port Wealth Also Creates Many Jobs

February 06, 1992

Your article ("Share the Wealth?" Times, Jan. 12) provided a balanced view of the controversy regarding the Port of Long Beach's success and resulting wealth. I applaud reporter Bettina Boxall for explaining the port's contributions to the city of Long Beach, including the $8 million the port pays for its share of city services, $2.7 million that port tenants pay in local taxes, $30 million paid by the port for the purchase of land for the World Trade Center, and the port's $80-million contribution to the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center expansion.

Boxall also did a fine job of explaining the state restrictions imposed by the tidelands trust laws which prohibit municipal harbors from paying for certain city services.

Yet the article overlooked one important point: the Port of Long Beach also generates thousands of regional jobs and pumps millions of dollars into the economy of Long Beach and the entire region.

A survey taken by the port in December, 1990, indicates that approximately 6,000 persons are employed within the harbor district, including those who work for the port, within its terminals and for other properties owned by the port. If that number is expanded to include all persons employed in jobs related to international trade through the port, it would include 17,500 Long Beach residents--or one in 12 workers in Long Beach.

These numbers are substantiated by a 1989 study conducted by Temple, Barker and Sloane Inc. that indicates that international trade through the Port of Long Beach generates 180,000 regional jobs in industries including water and land transportation, wholesale and retail sales, manufacturing, importing and exporting, agriculture, port-related construction and hundreds of service occupations.

According to the study, all of this employment adds up to about $20 million a year in regional business revenues, $4 billion in wages and $800 million in state and local taxes paid by workers and businesses.

The Port of Long Beach is a vital part of the Long Beach economy. It has become so only because it has had the revenue necessary to expand and provide facilities to attract and maintain major shipping interests from around the world. Siphoning money from the port would restrict its ability to compete internationally and would ultimately weaken the already fragile regional economy.

JOEL B. FRIEDLAND

President

Board of Harbor Commissioners

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