(April 20, 2005) -- After holding a series of neighborhood picnics to focus attention on nuisance and law-flouting activities it said persisted at "14th St. Park," Better Balance for LB has announced that at an April 19 meeting, city officials from multiple LB agencies agreed to pursue a coordinated approach to address and solve problems plaguing the area.
"At a meeting today, a number of Long Beach City Departments have committed to work together to solve the problems at some of our parks, using 14th St. Park as a test case," the group said in a written release.
The group credited 7th district Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga with organizing "unprecedented interdepartmental cooperation." Among those attending the meeting were LB Health & Human Services Director Ron Arias, City Prosecutor Tom Reeves; Assistant City Prosecutor Dan Murphy; City Attorney Bob Shannon; Assistant City Attorney Mike Mais; Parks and Recreation Superintendent Sherry Nixon Joiner; LBPD West Division Commander Keith Kilmer, seven other department members and eleven community participants.
Better Balance co-organizer Jane Kelleher (file photo, left) told LBReport.com after the meeting, "To borrow a phrase, my policy will be 'trust but verify.'" She added, "If progress stalls, I favor taking appropriate action in response."
South Wrigley activist and Better Balance co-organizer Annie Greenfeld-Wisner (file photo, right) told LBReport.com said she's hopefull progress will be made...but added that she's taking a "wait and see" attitude.
"14th St. Park" is the former parking area for the vanished Seaside Hospital, now a street median on which LB Parks & Rec has fenced some areas and installed playground equipment.
As previously reported by LBReport.com, on April 12 a shooting took place near 15th St. and Cedar Ave. On March 27, a midafternoon shooting took place in "14th St. Park" itself. In December 2004, a shooting took place in the area just hours before Better Balance's second picnic.
Following the March 27 shooting, Councilwoman Bonnie Lowenthal's Chief of Staff, Niki Tennant, told LBReport.com:
"Councilwoman Lowenthal [seen in Dec. 2004 photo, right, touring area with LBPD] has been meeting every two weeks large contingent of City staff from various departments including Parks and Recreation, Code Enforcement, Police Department, City Prosecutor, City Attorney and the City Manager's office.
She is using those meetings every two weeks to help guide city activities not just regarding the Park area but the whole Washington School neighborhood area. The City is devoting huge resources to the area, including police resources at the same time as West Division is facing major gang problems in West Long Beach."