|(Feb 4, 2019, 7:15 p.m.) -- The current leadership of the union representing Long Beach Police Officers (LBPOA) has just used that union's political action committee (PAC) to endorse Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez for the LB-Huntington Park state Senate seat.
In a statement today (Feb. 4), LBPOA President Jim Foster said: "Councilmember Gonzalez has a proven record of supporting public safety and providing our officers with the resources needed to keep our neighborhoods safe. She has consistently worked to build bridges with stakeholders from all aspects of our community, and we believe she will do a tremendous job representing California’s 33rd State Senate District."
With all due respect, in our opinion, this statement (we presume crafted for inclusion in future mailers) mocks reality. In our view, it damages the ability of LBPOA's current leadership to be taken seriously on public safety.
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|It's regrettably consistent with other troubling actions. LBPOA's leadership failed to testify in opposition to, and then endorsed LB electeds who erased, the largest number of budgeted police officers in the more than 100 year history of the City of Long Beach. It then helped City Hall convince voters to impose the highest sales tax rate among CA cities (tied with only a few others), a blank check now sending City Hall over $50 million more annually.
Councilwoman Gonzalez's response? While families and businesses in her 1st Council district endure what we consider LB's worst inequity -- the highest number of shootings (fatal, non-fatal and "no persons hit") among LB Council districts -- she has coldly failed to support restoring any more than 22 citywide deployable officers out of 208 such officers (including LBPD's former field anti-gang unit.)
Below are maps showing her record in terms of shootings (fatal, non-fatal, no-persons-hit) during the period of her incumbency. (Top map shows Jan. 1, 2014-Dec. 31, 2017, and includes the last six months of her predecessor Garcia as Councilman.)
Map below shows period Jan. 1, 2018 to Feb. 4, 2019. Arrow shows most recent (Feb. 1, 2019) "no person hit" shooting.
In August 2016, we asked Councilwoman Gonzalez if she'd move to restore more than eight officers then offered by city management and Mayor Garcia. Her response was to try and cover our camera lens.
LBPOA's leadership has too often given political protection to incumbents with terrible records by handing them the union's endorsement. In so doing, it has become part of the problem and not the solution. We fully expect LBPOA-paid mailers will now land in mailboxes with photos using costumed cops-as-props to camouflage Councilwoman Gonzalez's real record, which in our opinion doesn't merit a promotion to Sacramento.
We hope some principled members among LBPOA's rank and file will say: ˇYa basta! Enough.
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