NO to "Economic Development" Bureaucrat, YES to Restoring Gang Officers Cut By Council


(Oct. 9, 2012, updated with Council vote) -- urges a substitute motion at tonight's Council meeting (Oct. 9) to "receive and file" -- stop in its tracks -- the latest spinning proposal by Vice Mayor Robert Garcia, joined on this occasion by Councilmembers Patrick O'Donnell, James Johnson and Gary DeLong, to ask the City Manager to report "on the feasibility and costs of creating a new position of "Business and Economic Development Officer" with the preference that existing General Fund dollars be used to create the position. (To view the agenda item, click here).

Agenda items like this are what Council incumbents do when their districts look like this:

On map above, Red X's indicate 2011 and 2012 murders; Blue X's indicate shootings since Aug 2, 2011 (when Mayor/City Mgr. debuted their proposed FY12 budget); Purple X's=shooting with person not hit; Green X=shooting at a residence/building. Yellow X=shooting at vehicle. Not all non-fatal shootings are shown, only those we learn about.

Does any sane person believe these conditions attract economic development? For the record, three of today's agendizers -- Garcia (1st dist), O'Donnell (4th dist) and DeLong (3rd dist) -- are among the five Council incumbents (with Andrews and Lowenthal) whose votes since Sept. 2009 have cut the largest number of police for taxpayers in the history of the City of Long Beach.

Just weeks ago on September 4, 2012, Councilman O'Donnell made a substitute motion to approve another LBPD budget cut that -- as recently reported -- will result in LB taxpayers losing half of LB's gang enforcement officers.

It could have been worse. Mayor Bob Foster proposed a budget that would have cut twice that number. (Budget Oversight Committee chair DeLong and co-member Suja Lowenthal proposed a PD budget larger than the Mayor but less than O'Donnell's motion, which they ultimately supported.)

Tonight's agenda item comes as a study by the Center for American Progress (a group founded and headed by Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta and featuring numerous prominent Dems) concluded that reducing violent crime can generate significant savings for municipal budgets and large benefits for residents, with the biggest part from increases in housing values.

To view the study, reported yesterday by, click here.

The study's methodology and scope are different from, but some of its reasoning and conclusions are similar to, a 2010 Rand Corporation study that showed the benefits in cost-benefit terms for hiring police. To read the Rand study, click here. To read's report on that study (and on how LAPD Charlie Beck cited it in urging the LA City Council not to cut police), click here.

It's been roughly two years since Mayor Foster [reelected to a second term in 2010 with nearly a third of LB residents voting for his only opponent, a college age socialist] told Art Levine's Straight Talk TV that he hadn't read the Rand study [!] but had learned a lot about policing since becoming Mayor. That's impressive. Long Beach residents and taxpayers have also learned a lot since Bob Foster became Mayor.

After promising to put 100 more police on the street during his first term, Mayor Foster has recommended budgets that have decimated [the verb used by LB's Police Chief] LB's police levels. LB taxpayers now receive a budgeted police level at or below what City Hall provided when Ernie Kell exited and Beverly O'Neill entered office in 1994. Long Beach currently provides its taxpayers with a police level roughly equivalent per capita to cutting L.A.P.D.'s officer level by over 25%.

All this, as the study by the Center for American Progress shows what should be self-evident: violent crime steals from homeowners daily and costs cities revenue they could otherwise receive.

As we've commented elsewhere: poverty doesn't always cause crime, but crime ALWAYS causes poverty. It steals from people -- and cities and taxpayers -- daily.

Instead of changing this, LB's Wrong Way Corrigan Council majority has in our opinion by its voted budget actions invited shootings and murders. Those violent crimes too often afflict good and decent residents and hard working businesses in parts of this city's 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th Council districts.

Changing this isn't a job for a City Management bureaucrat. It is the job of anti-gang police officers that Councilmembers recklessly voted to cut...and now need to fully restore.

The last thing LB taxpayers need now is another City Hall bureaucrat (we predict at or about a six figure salary, plus taxpayer paid staff and an office) who'll try to legally bribe businesses with "incentives" or sales tax "rebates" that effectively give taxpayers less than they deserve, or lure less than desirable businesses with offers to waive neighborhood protective zoning at the expense of nearby impacted homeowners.

And just in case there aren't enough paid lobbyists and suited lawyers to argue against the interests of neighborhood residents, today's agenda item proposes to have City Hall's new bureaucrat serve as "the business owners advocate throughout the planning and licensing process."

Neighborhood residents and homeowners concerned with their quality of life have no such lobbying arm at LB City Hall...despite the fact that property tax revenue greatly eclipses the penny-on-the-dollar City Hall receives from sales tax.

Today's agenda item won't adopt the proposal, but it starts the ball rolling. In our view, LB's Councilmembers should have the ball taken from them before they break more windows with it.

We urge a substitute motion to stop this wrongheaded proposal...and in the coming weeks, we (again) urge a motion to revisit the FY13 budget vote and fully restore funding for LBPD's gang officers.

And if there's any other General Fund money lying around, providing core services that long-suffering LB taxpayers need and deserve.

UPDATE: Council votes 9-0 to direct City Manager to report back to the Council within 90 days on the feasibility and costs of creating a new position of "Business and Economic Development Officer" position in the City Manager's office, adding preference to use existing General Fund dollars to create the position.

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