(August 17, 2006) -- "Leaving Long Beach City Limits" is the sign seen in daily in parts of Long Beach. After twelve years under a delusional Mayor and complicitous Councilmembers who shortchanged the city on police, graffiti vandals now declare widening areas of LB within their city limits.
The graffiti that defaced Nino's Ristorante in Bixby Knolls and afflicts areas beyond announces that civil authority collects taxes but isn't in charge. It tells gangs and other urban terrorists that LB is business-friendly for them.
Carina Cristiano Leoni, whose family built and operates Nino's, says her 16 year-old niece recently visited LB from Illinois...where her father is a police Lieutenant. The teenager immediately noticed how thin LB's thin blue line is. "Aunt Carina, where are the police?"
There are two immediate steps LB residents can take in this. One is to assist the victims, the other is to reverse City Hall policies that have made LB business-friendly for predators.
We can help victimized businesses by voting with our pocketbooks. Stop by Nino's (3800 block of Atlantic @ Roosevelt Rd.) with your friends to enjoy a meal. If you're in an office, call Nino's and have them cater a lunch for you and your co-workers. With those simple (and pleasurable) acts, you will help the business defray the costs of removing the graffiti...and you will be simultaneously defying the vandals. Apply the same principle to other LB businesses. And by all means let the owners know they're not alone and you support them.
Second, email your Councilmember and let them know it's not acceptable to budget zero additional police officers for neighborhoods in September. Tell them you're not fooled by simply fillng already budgeted police positions that City Hall left unfilled. To underscore this, email newly elected City Auditor Laura Doud and ask her to do a blitz audit disclosing how those officer positions went unfilled and where that money went.
Do this to show Long Beach is still our city...and not Vandalville.