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Hiring Hall Proposed for Huntington Beach

TIMES STAFF WRITER

To combat a rising crime problem in the city’s Oakview section, Police Chief Ronald E. Lowenberg on Monday urged the City Council to establish a day-laborer hiring hall and a police substation in the area.

The council members, while taking no formal vote, indicated majority support for Lowenberg’s proposal. The day-laborer hiring hall, if built, would become the fourth such facility in Orange County.

Lowenberg’s proposals, which would cost about $500,000, are not included in the $176-million budget proposed by City Administrator Michael T. Uberuaga.

During a preliminary budget briefing, Mayor Thomas J. Mays told Uberuaga that the 1990-91 budget needs to be revised to cover Lowenberg’s proposals for the Oakview area.

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“We need to support these items in our budget to maintain a safe community,” Mays said.

Councilman Jim Silva added: “I think the people of Huntington Beach deserve this.”

The city’s Oakview area is roughly bounded by Beach Boulevard, Slater Avenue, Gothard Street and Warner Avenue. City officials have said the area is marked by overcrowded housing and has a large proportion of new immigrants, primarily Latino and Asian.

Lowenberg said a hiring hall would greatly aid many adult residents of the area. He proposed using a trailer, manned by city staffers, which would be located on Nichols Street about a half block from Warner Avenue.

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Lowenberg proposed that the hiring hall be modeled on one in Brea and operated in a similar manner.

According to a written report that Lowenberg gave the council: “The Brea Center does not require the day laborer to carry proof of United States residency. The center will provide a designated location within the city where employer and employees can make contact with each other.”

The city’s proposed budget includes no new city funds for the proposed municipal pier. Uberuaga said there is no room in the “lean” budget for more than the $1.6 million that the city allocated last year and which is being carried forward in the new budget. The new pier is estimated to cost $12 million, and the city so far has raised only $7.5 million.

The City Council voted May 7 to hire a professional fund-raising firm to try to solicit the remaining money for the new pier.

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