(Sept. 19, 2006) -- Well-governed cities provide taxpayers with sufficient police and pay them well. Long Beach City Hall does not provide taxpayers with sufficient police or pay our officers as well as other cities.
Those undeniable truths are why police officers are leaving LB while urban terrorists (from graffiti vandals to murderers) are arriving to exploit LB's too-thin blue line that LB's Police Chief has warned about for roughly three years.
LB faces these problems now because in our view, LB's former Mayor and her enablers too often treated the public safety and the public interest as less important than serving the interests of others.
The damages they did will only be reversed if LB's new Mayor and City Council begin putting the public interest -- the taxpayers' interests -- ahead of the interests of others.
Mayor Bob Foster has proposed what amounts to triage, emergency first aid. It's painful medicine, raiding a one-time energy lawsuit settlement that ought to be paid to LB consumers who paid the oppressive bills, not to City Hall that shortchanged the public on public safety.
We urge LB's new Mayor and Council to reject the advice of those whose civic malpractice weakened LB's police levels in the first place. We urge the Mayor and Council not to embrace another "long range police plan." That's an invitation to shortchange taxpayers as City Hall did with its last "long range plan," its heavily hyped 1994 Police Dept. "Strategic Plan."
We challenge anyone to cite a single Press-Telegram editorial that criticized LB's now former Mayor, now former City Manager, and now former Councils when they flouted the police staffing levels recommended in that plan.
LB taxpayers deserve real change now, not promises later. We reiterate measures we believe are overdue to provide taxpayers with increased police, properly paid:
- Layoffs of selected city management positions, trimming LB's six figure club members first.
- Layoffs of non-public safety city employee positions, whose union leaders thought a taxpayer-gouging 2002 post-election pension spike was such a smart idea.
- Closing City Hall every other Friday, or every Friday, as a cost saving measure.
In addition, LB's new City Auditor has the power to report on deals engineered under the former O'Neill administration that may have disserved or shortchanged taxpayers. We believe that where there are sacred cows, there is often sacred bull---t...and it's time to put on some boots and start clearing the barn.
No more "plans." Changes, not promises.