Introductory note: Veteran LB activist Dan Pressburg, most recently served as a district aide to Councilman Val Lerch. The views below are Mr. Pressburg's individually.
In September 2003, LB Police Chief Anthony Batts publicly told the City Council that he needed roughly 130 more officers (at that time). In early March 2005, Chief Batts delivered a Council presentation methodically detailing the Department's accomplishments and reiterating the need for more officers.
(April 17, 2005) -- I believe that we need more police NOW. I also believe that with a growing budget deficit, well, we're in a rut. All the old ways of looking at things need to be reassessed.
Creating new and limited taxes are a way of fattening the General Fund without any accountability or doing any of the heavy lifting. Why is it the Mayor and Council haven't opened the problem to citizens other than just a hand picked team whose recommendations were not followed? Why can't the citizens do a mock budget that balances and then present that to the Mayor? I guarantee it would be creative and ingenious.
Right now every vote for a program, function, or just "feeling good" costs the taxpayers. The beat still goes on whether we want to stop it or not. The problem is there is an action taken but no consequence for the programs that fail. There are also no consequences for those who do not play by the rules from high recidivism to charging-back to the County hours it takes to police repeat offenders.
A simple vote on a parade costs money. The police are strapped because we have failed to adjust to the demographics and the population growth. So in review here, the past four chiefs have done more with less. Chief Batts is leading the way with less than his predecessors. If we do not do something now however, crime will become extremely unmanageable and we will need to figure out how to either contract with the Sheriff or other law enforcement agencies. The alternative is martial law.
In reality, the economics of all this is, we do not have decent manufacturing here and we are shipping all the work out so we can pay low wages and sell or consume so we can have things we "want". Until we realize we need industry to put people to work and we need tariffs on goods to level the playing field we will create two classes of society: the very rich and the very poor.
Unfortunately, the simple poverty rates bear this out. If no one sees this, they are ignorant of the poverty rate in Long Beach, down to seventh in the country and sliding.
Desperate times create desperate people and some of them do wind up in prison. As far as my first note, I believe Public Safety is the number one priority and we do need to find ways to help the police without digging the budget into bankruptcy which I believe is becoming more inevitable. Still, we need more police!
I still don't see the Three Year Plan balancing the budget yet nor have we heard of any long term forcasting to address future needs of the police or public. Considering we have spent ourselves into this mess, we cannot borrow or tax ourselves out of it.