The Downtown Long Beach Alliance’s (DLBA) Clean and Safe Teams perform some of the most visible and important work the organization can provide. This quarter, meet Brandon Kiper and Daniel Battles, two team members who were recently recognized for outstanding support to Downtown.
“The one word I would use to describe Brandon and Daniel is ‘dedicated,’ ” said Cesar Garay, DLBA’s new Clean and Safe Program Manager. “They are committed to helping keep Downtown clean, attractive, and welcoming.”
Brandon Kiper is contracted by DLBA through the company Block by Block to pilot a mini-sweeper through the streets of the Business Improvement District starting at 5am, five days a week. He has been doing it for about a year. “Often, people will approach me on the street and thank me for what I’m doing,” said Kiper. “I appreciate that — and, I see lots of things that make me grateful for what I have.”
Kiper, 37, grew up in nearby Hawthorne and attended Leuzinger High School. He lives near Downtown now, and likes to commute to work on his bicycle. On days off, he will often enjoy the amenities of Lincoln Park or the Beach Path with his two daughters, ages 2 and 8.
Daniel Battles, 45, has been working for the Clean Team for about seven and a half months. He has a set route, sweeping and cleaning the streets by hand. An engaging fellow who hails from Downey, Battles enjoys talking to people while performing his duties. “Days vary,” he said. “Some days it’s light and on other days there is quite a lot to pick up, perhaps after a big party or two.”
One of Battles’ favorite off-work activities is helping a friend in South Gate who runs Souls of Charity, a nonprofit homeless outreach center. Battles assists with the center’s efforts to provide food and hygiene for the local unhoused population. “I’m going over there after work tonight,” Battles said.
During their daily duties, both men encounter the full spectrum of Downtown street life. They rely on fellow Clean and Safe Team members and management for daily support. “I couldn’t do it without my team,” said Kiper.
Months on the job have also made Kiper and Battles aware of the many great food opportunities in Downtown. Kiper praised the Java Junction Cafe at 111 West Ocean Boulevard for its diverse menu, and Battles mentioned the pizza slices at the Wabi Sabi Village Market at 146 Linden Avenue as a lunch favorite. They both get excited at the mention of Doly’s Delectables, the cafe at 245 East Broadway. “Great bakery,” Battles told us.
DLBA will continue to recognize and celebrate the fine work of its Clean and Safe Teams as they meet the challenges found on the sidewalks and public spaces of Downtown on a daily basis. Please offer them encouragement when you see them on the streets doing some of Downtown’s most vital work.