City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

City of Long Beach Selected to Join National What Works Cities Initiative
Joins 99 other cities committed to making city government more effective using data and evidence
Bryan Sastokas, CIO & Director
City of Long Beach
Department of Technology & Innovation

Sharman Stein
What Works Cities

The City of Long Beach has been selected as one of five new cities to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ national What Works Cities initiative – one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance the use of data and evidence in the public sector. The City of Long Beach will receive technical assistance from world-class experts to build its capacity to address local issues using data and evidence.

“We are proud to be selected among many other cities throughout the nation as innovators in the use of technology,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “We look forward to partnering with experts to create positive change in the community.”

The City of Long Beach’s selection, along with that of Columbia, South Carolina; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii and Irving, Texas was announced today by What Works Cities and Results for America, one of the initiative’s five partner organizations and the campaign manager.

With support from a consortium of expert partners, cities participating in the What Works initiative are identifying more effective ways to evaluate programs and improve performance; optimize resources to serve their communities; and address a range of social challenges – from public safety to affordable housing. What Works Cities participants also join the initiative’s extensive learning network of local leaders and global experts actively sharing best practices for outcomes-focused governance.

“Technology has released a wave of new information for cities to work with,” states Bryan M. Sastokas, Chief Information Officer for the City of Long Beach. “By partnering with What Works Cities, the possibilities of how we can use that data to improve the lives of our community and improve the way services are provided are limitless.”

Long Beach will invest in its data management and performance analytics infrastructure to reduce the time it takes for businesses looking to start or grow in the city. Recently, the City has engaged in a number of efforts to help entrepreneurs access support services and navigate the business licensing and permitting process including the award-winning Bizport, Startitup Toolkit, and the Innovation Center at 309 Pine Avenue. 

“For small businesses, time is money,” said Economic Development Director John Keisler. “If we want to help businesses start, grow, and survive in Long Beach we need to find concrete ways to reduce the number of days it takes to receive approval from the City.” 

The What Works Cities team will help City staff to analyze historical business licensing data to identify problem areas where the approval process might slow down. Insights from this analysis may be used to recommend changes to City policies or procedures that can make the process more business friendly.

With today’s new participating cities, What Works Cities is now partnering with 100 cities that together, are home to more than 31 million residents and have combined annual budgets exceeding $104 billion.

“When cities know how to put data at the core of their decision-making, they’re equipped with the tools to best solve local challenges and serve their communities,” said Simone Brody, Executive Director of What Works Cities. “We’re excited to welcome these five cities and very proud to reach our goal of working with 100 cities across the United States.” 

The five new cities joining What Works Cities today follow 95 cities already participating in the initiative, including: Boston, MA; Corona, CA; Denver, CO; Downey, CA; Glendale, AZ; Grand Rapids, MI; Hayward, CA; Las Vegas, NV; Modesto, CA; Orlando, FL; Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Riverside, CA; Salinas, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; Victorville, CA; Washington, DC and more.

The consortium of expert organizations assembled by Bloomberg Philanthropies to deliver support to cities comprises the Behavioral Insights Team, the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School, Results for America and the Sunlight Foundation.

For more information:

The report “What Works Cities: How Local Governments Are Changing Lives” summarizes cities’ accomplishments with the initiative. For more information, visit

About What Works Cities:

What Work Cities, launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies in April 2015, is one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance cities’ use of data and evidence. Cities around the country are receiving support, guidance and resources to succeed through the initiative’s expert partners: the Behavioral Insights Team, the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School, Results for America and the Sunlight Foundation. For more information, visit

About the City of Long Beach

Home to approximately 470,000 people, the multiple award-winning and innovative City of Long Beach offers all the world-class amenities of a large metropolitan city while maintaining a strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods nestled together along the California coast. Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, several museums and theaters, a highly-rated school district, Long Beach Airport, the Port of Long Beach, as well as many award-winning City departments such as Health, Parks, Recreation and Marine, Development Services and more. The City also has a highly-respected university and city college, two historic ranchos, five hospitals, five golf courses, 170 parks, miles of beaches, marinas, bike paths, and a Bike Share program.

For more information about the City of Long Beach, visit Follow us on social to keep up with the latest news: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.