' At Council Budget Session, No Councilmember(s) Propose Adding (Restoring) Any Further Citywide Neighborhood Deployable Police Officers For Taxpayers After Mayor/Mgm't Propose Adding Zero In FY18 '


At Council Budget Session, No Councilmember(s) Propose Adding (Restoring) Any Further Citywide Neighborhood Deployable Police Officers For Taxpayers After Mayor/Mgm't Propose Adding Zero In FY18

Councilman Supernaw also mum on Mayor/Mgm't budget's failure to restore Fire Engine 17 at Station 17

LBREPORT.com is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(Aug. 9, 2017, 9:50 a.m.) -- At Tuesday night's (Aug. 8) City Council budget hearing on police/fire services, no Councilmembers attending (Andrews absent) proposed or advocated budgeting additional police officers (citywide neighborhood deployable) for taxpayers after Mayor Garcia and city management proposed to add zero such officers for taxpayers in their proposed FY18 budget.

As previously reported by LBREPORT.com, the Mayor/management FY18 budget proposes 848 officers total...but 93.25 officers are contracted (and paid for) and thus restricted during their shifts to specific venues: Port, Airport, LBCC, LBUSD, LBTransit, Carmelitos and Metro. The 93.25 contracted officers aren't available during their shifts to handle policing needs and calls for service in neighborhoods citywide. The Mayor/Management FY18 budget proposes 754.25 citywide deployable officers (848 total - 93.25 contracted/restricted = 754.75 citywide deployable), a figure lower than the 791.4 budgeted officers that exiting Mayor Ernie Kell handed incoming Mayor Beverly O'Neill in mid-July 1994.

[Scroll down for further.]

Unless a Councilmember(s) proposes changes to the Mayor/Management proposed budget (with votes scheduled for the first two weeks of September), LB taxpayers would end up zero additional citywide deployable officers restored in FY18 after the Council restored 17 citywide deployable police officers in FY17 out of 208 officers erased by Councils since FY10. In June 2016, LB voters approved a Mayor/Council-sought sales tax increase (Measure A) that has left LB consumers paying the highest sales tax rate in CA (tied with only a few other cities.



During the budget hearing, Police Chief Robert Luna noted said citywide crime is "down" overall (in all but a few categories), and gang related shootings are down and noted that the City has budgeted four back-to-back Police Academy classes...but no Councilmembers asked how many of the replenishment/new hires replaced officers that retired/exited or are expected to do so in the next few years. The omission was spotted by retired Councilwoman Rae Gabelich who waited until nearly 10:30 p.m. for roughly three minutes to speak.

Ms. Gabelich said two matters are very important to her: the Airport (neighborhoods' quality of life) and public safety, and she urged Councilmembers to ask Chief Luna to publicly disclose how many officers LBPD expects will retire/exit from 2018-2021; no Councilmembers did so. Ms. Gabelich noted that the proposed FY18 budget would leave LB with fewer budgeted police officers [for citywide deployment] than the number former Mayor Beverly O'Neill had when she took office in mid-1994; Mayor Garcia's response as Ms. Gabelich's left the speakers' podium: "Thank you, next speaker."

No representatives of LB's Police Officers Association or LB Firefighters Association (which are among several city employee unions that have received raises new Council-approved contracts) testified at the Council budget session on police/fire services for taxpayers. The two unions were the largest contributors to the Mayor/Council sought Measure A sales tax increase (currently used by the Council for public safety and a infrastructure items, effectively freeing up other general fund sums for other purposes.)


Mayor Garcia and Councilmembers pointed to actions taken in FY17 that increased police/fire services, including restoring Fire Engine 8 in Belmont Shore and Paramedic Rescue 12 in NLB. No Councilmembers mentioned that the proposed FY18 budget is "balanced" by relying on riskier "reasonably optimistic" or reasonably "expected" revenue projections (based on recent years' surpluses) instead of using the 2013 Council-specified financial policy of using "reasonably conservative" revenue projections. At the July 25 Budget Oversight Committee meeting, city management acknowledged that if it had applied the specified "reasonably conservative" revenue projections, the FY18 budget would show a roughly $7 million deficit, requiring cuts and/or new revenue.) City management has already acknowledged that the FY19 budget is expected to be roughly $7.7 million in deficit...with no plan currently in place to deal with it (with management proposals coming at some future point, likely after 2018 elections.)

Vice Mayor/9th dist. Councilman Rex Richardson stressed that response times have significantly dropped as a result of restoring Paramedic Rescue 12 in early 2017 [a budget change he consistently urged] which LBFD Chief Mike DuRee said has reduced paramedic response times in NLB from roughly eight minutes to roughly five minutes, and reduced citywide response times by roughly 30 seconds.



Councilman Daryl Supernaw didn't mention or advocate restoring Fire Engine 17 at Fire Station 17 (2200 block Argonne Ave.), which he tried and failed to accomplish in previous budget years. [Supernaw's weekly e-newsletters have also omitted mentioning the issue in connection with the proposed FY18 budget.] In January 2014 (roughly 17 months before Supernaw took office), a residence burned across the street from Station 17, with its firefighters unable to douse the flames without its Engine 17, and another Engine had to travel from further away as the fire doubled in size every minute.

Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce likewise didn't urge restoration of the second fire engine no longer provided at downtown Fire Station 1 (Magnolia south of Broadway), an added safety measure previously provided due to high rises and downtown density.

Near the end of the Council budget session, Mayor Garcia summed up how he views the record: crime down, response times down, hiring more police officers, hiring more firefighters.


Long Beach previously had 1,020 budgeted officers (which included 59 contracted officers, for 961 citywide deployable officers, including 17 half-budget-year police academy recruits.) When the economic downturn began in late 2008, new contracts that included raises recommended by Mayor Foster (for three major city employee unions that endorsed him in 2006) failed to include taxpayer-advocated pension reforms and became unsustainable. Mayor Foster responded by belatedly advocating pension reforms and advising Councils to enact so-called "proportional budget reductions" that erased roughly 20% of LBPD's officers. (Other cities weathered "the Great Recession" without such measures.) Long Beach now has a citywide deployable police level roughly equivalent per capita to what Los Angeles would have if L.A.'s Mayor/Council erased roughly 30% of LAPD's budgeted officers.

On Saturday Aug. 12, Long Beach city staff will begin holding a series of neighborhood meetings on the management/Mayor proposed FY18 budget. Elected Councilmembers may or may not attend to hear what the public says in response. The neighborhood meetings aren't formal Council sessions where Councilmembers can make motions and take voted actions. The neighborhood meetings are currently scheduled as follows:

  • August 12, 10:00 a.m., Grace United Methodist Church, 2325 E. 3rd St.
  • August 16, 6:00 p.m. (Tentative), Molina Healthcare, 650 Pine Ave.
  • August 21, 6:00 p.m. (Tentative), Houghton Park, 6301 Myrtle Ave.
  • August 28, 6:00 p.m., Miller Family Health Center, 3820 Cherry Ave.
  • August 30, 6:00 p.m,, Birria Tepechi Mexican Restaurant, 1440 Santa Fe Ave. (Spanish)
  • August 31, 6:00 p.m., 3rd Council district office, 340 Nieto Ave.

Only two remaining full Council meetings are currently scheduled (Aug. 15 and 22) before Councilmembers are scheduled to vote on the FY18 budget on Sept. 5 and (if necessary) Sept. 12.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Recommend LBREPORT.com to your Facebook friends:

Follow LBReport.com with:




Return To Front Page

Contact us: mail@LBReport.com

Adoptable pet of the week:

Carter Wood Floors
Hardwood Floor Specialists
Call (562) 422-2800 or (714) 836-7050

Copyright © 2017 LBReport.com, LLC. All rights reserved. Terms of Use/Legal policy, click here. Privacy Policy, click here