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    Election Sound Off

    Your Words, Replying To Ours

    Responding to: Editorial: Foster v. Colonna On Police (second in a series)

    (received May 31, 2006, posted June 1) -- I feel it is necessary that I respond to a letter written to the editor of regarding Councilman Frank Colonnaís support of the gay community.

    Written by Mr. Dan Rafferty is an eight page diatribe that includes a laundry list of false accusations against Councilman Frank Colonna.

    I would like to specifically address the false claim that Frank Colonna "has done nothing for the Gay Community in the past" and that Frank is "not even willing to fight for equal rights for each and every one of us."

    As one of two openly gay staff members working for Frank Colonna, I would like to let the Long Beach public know that Councilman Colonna is a supporter of the gay community and always treats people, without regard to sexual orientation, in an equal manner. This is one of the reasons why I love working for him on the City Council. Frank has always treated me equally to my co-workers, and he has always known I am gay. I divulged my sexual orientation to Councilman Colonna when I interviewed for the job, and he thanked me for my candidness and moved on.

    The writer also claims that Frank was not invited to the 2006 Gay Menís Health Summit, but attended anyway as a political move. Well, I also manage Frankís calendar, so I know that he received a personal invitation to the summit. When I asked Frank if he would like to attend, he insisted, and the event turned out to be a success. He was a guest speaker and he received a very good reception following his heart-felt comments. Perhaps Mr. Rafferty attended a different Gay Men's Health Summit that day???

    This June, Frank walked in the Gay Pride Parade, as the 3rd District City Councilman, for the eighth year in a row. Does this sound like someone who "has done nothing for the gay community in the past"? His record in the gay community goes on and on. Politics can be nasty, but I'm proud to say that I work for a man, Councilman Frank Colonna, whose record in the gay community is excellent and speaks for itself on the merits.

    Miles Nevin
    Long Beach

    (May 31, 2006) -- The editor of and I see eye-to-eye on most issues, but I'm going to have to differ with our city's savviest political observer over his favorable treatment of Frank Colonna regarding the public safety issue. I know exactly where the editor stands and, as he points out in his editorial, he has been consistent for over a decade in calling for "guarantees on per capita police and fire levels." I happen to agree with LBReport's position in theory, however, many years have passed and the Council has repeatedly refused to fund a constant pipeline of additional officers to be consistent with the city's strategic plan.

    Which leads us to our current predicament. Perhaps neither Foster nor Colonna are correct with their campaign pledges to beef-up our police force. Utilizing our own police academy, it is safe to assume that we can offer two academy classes per calendar year. Accounting for retirements, attrition, washouts and lateral transfers, this would produce a net annual increase of about 40-55 new cops. We should have been doing this for the past decade, otherwise we wouldn't be having this discussion. Nevertheless, if we were somehow to figure out a way to hire even more, we would ultimately create a future nightmare retirement scenario. To hire more, we would have to farm out to other area academies, which have lower standards than ours. We've done that before and it didn't work out very well because we ended up with a higher percentage of washouts and public complaints.

    Now comes the dilemma of how to pay for a net increase of new cops. According to Colonna, our city is in fine fiscal shape, and Foster is challenging our ability to pay for 300 new cops. Instead, he proposes to hire about 100 new cops. Both candidates are reticent to raise taxes, but that is exactly what our council wants to do. We are potentially faced with competing tax increase proposals on the November ballot. City Hall wants to foist a confiscatory property tax measure on its citizens and Sheriff Baca is pining for a quarter-cent sales tax increase for all of L.A. County. It seems like the main issue now for our two remaining mayoral candidates is whether or not to support such schemes.

    Frank Colonna has served on the Council for 8 years and he has obviously been a part of the problem with the Council's lack of resolve to adequately fund public safety. Now that it's showtime, he is insisting upon hiring 300 cops over the next four years. Just how is he going to accomplish that? Being that he voted in favor of increasing pensions, I really don't see any fiscal discipline that he's going to be able to instill on the Council. Foster, on the other hand, is advocating for 100 new cops. While he remains fuzzy on the details, he's probably closer to the mark. Perhaps it's time that both candidates stop straddling the fence on higher property taxes. Along with a strong stance on higher property taxes, what we need is strong leadership on how we can establish a long-term policy of hiring more cops without raising taxes. City Hall has a spending problem. Which candidate will step forward to turn off the spigot?

    Ron Noe
    Bixby Knolls

    (May 31, 2006) -- Regarding your recent editorial on Mayoral candidates and hiring of police --

    I find it ironic how you highlight the mistakes of the past regarding promises to increase police hiring and then turn around and endorse a candidate that pulls a random number that can not be financially justified. Suppose you would then criticize that prior endorsement for then bringing the city to its financial knees.

    Suggest you learn / understand mathematical truth / logic tables...

    Jeff Toelsin
    Long Beach

    (May 30, 2006) -- You know I could only get through about a third of your piece on Colonna vs. Foster on Police, before I just wanted to scream. I usually enjoy reading most of your editorials, but all I could think is what planet is this person and Frank Colonna living on? Do they both live in some Fantasy land? I mean come on already! At least Bob Foster is a realist and knows what the city can handle right now. I hear in his comment 100 police and then maybe a few more than that provided the funds are there.

    Frank Colonna is very good at "Oh yeah we can do that, I can do that, we can hire 300 more police, yada, yada, yada". Yet he never seems to be able to follow through and fulfill those promises!

    Three years ago the city council held a special meeting, "The State of AIDS in Long Beach". Let me tell you, I recall Mr. Colonna making all kinds of promises on "helping the HIV community in fighting this, more funding, more programs, more affordable housing, blah, blah, blah".

    Well, in the last three years, one of, no probably, the largest HIV health care facility in Long Beach has lost their Executive Director, several case managers, a supervisor, a couple nurses, a physician's assistant, a doctor, and now we're losing our new Executive Director next month. We have had more programs cut than any other facility in the city of Long Beach. We are facing another 5% cut across the board. We are in dire need of Section 8 housing for people with AIDS so they don't have to be homeless. Several other HIV facilities have had to cut programs and close their doors. So where is the help Mr. Colonna promised us at that meeting. WHERE IS IT?

    Another thing I don't like about Frank Colonna is he has done nothing for the Gay Community in the past, which is fine if that's the kind of politician he chooses to be. But don't go and act all concerned for our community when it's going to benefit you, when you're not even willing to fight for equal rights for each and every one of us. We don't want more....we just want equal. This past March we had our 3rd annual Gay Men's Health Summit and Frank Colonna showed up to talk to us, even though he didn't campaign at the event, he spoke briefly something about health issues. Does he think we were that stupid to not know the real reason he put in an appearance? Doesn't he know we could see right through that? The people running the event sure didn't know why he was there. From what I found out, he wasn't invited to speak he asked if he could speak briefly, at least that's what I was told by one person running the event.

    Do you honestly think he's going to come through with 300 more police officers when we can't even pay the ones we have comparable wages to other agencies?

    You may want to investigate how many of the officers at LBPD have gone to other agencies because we pay about the lowest of all departments. You better figure a way to pay the officers we already have more money before you start promising that you're going to hire 300 more. They sure as Hell deserve more. I'd like you to do an editorial with the statistics as to how many officers have left and what agencies they transferred to. The word I'm hearing is we've lost many to Anaheim PD. They're willing to lose their seniority and rank so they can make more money to take care of and support their families.

    The other thing I think I got from your editorial before I just quit reading it all together, was that you feel Bob Foster will more or less be 4 more years of Beverly O'Neill?? Isn't that strange given the fact that she can't seem to endorse Frank Colonna enough! I think Frank Colonna will be more of the same! And do we really need a Republican as Mayor of our City - look how good that's worked for our Nation having a Republican in charge. This Administration will go down as the worst in history.

    We need change in this city and in my humble opinion - Bob Foster is the man for the job!

    Dan Rafferty
    Long Beach

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