|(August 2, 2016, 9:10 a.m. ) -- On Aug. 1, LB Mayor Robert Garcia and city management proposed a FY17 budget that would add eight LBPD officers.
Since Sept. 2009, the LB City Council has eliminated roughly 200 officers, erasing roughly 20% of LBPD's citywide deployable police level.
What Mayor Garcia and city management propose -- despite the whopping sales tax increase to 10% they sought -- fails to restore 96% of LB's previous police level...with no plan by the Mayor or city management to responsibly restore officers that LB taxpayers previously had.
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In just weeks, LB's City Council will decide how many police officers to restore when it adopts a FY17 budget. A Council majority can add officers in Council votes scheduled for Sept. 6 and 13. The Mayor has no vote, only a veto that six Council members can override.
Long Beach neighborhoods are enduring increasing crime. This is no time to let actions by previous Councils persist under our current Council. LB officials try to blame "the Great Recession," but other cities experienced the bad economy and didn't do what LB Councils did...which included approving city management raises (Nov. 2013) and imposing a costly new Civic Center (Dec. 2015) without seeking bids for a less costly City Hall seismic retrofit.
On Sept. 6 and Sept. 13, the City Council should vote to restore a minimum of 35 officers in FY17 (to start): 8 officers (proposed by mgm't) plus 22 to restore LBPD's field anti-gang unit plus five more. Other cities -- including L.A. and Signal Hill -- manage to deliver higher police levels per capita for their taxpayers than LB City Hall provides. If they can do it, we should be able to do it.
To those who think adding 35 officers is too many, consider what the "Measure A" sales tax hike political committee told voters in seeking their votes, officially an "Officeholder [or Candidate] Controlled Committee" in which the officeholder is Mayor Robert Garcia.
After getting that tax increase, proposing to leave Long Beach with 192 fewer officers than our City had when then-Councilman Garcia first took office (especially after Sac'to imposed "realignment" and voter-enacted Prop 47) is in our opinion disrespectful to taxpayers and demonstrates continuing failure. LBREPORT.com believes Long Beach shouldn't be the "can't do" city. Anti-crime tips and community watches are very nice but they're no substitute for the City providing sufficient police for its taxpayers.
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