|(August 13, 2019. 9:10 a.m.) -- Our hearts are with every person who attended last night's (Aug 12) candlelight vigil for Toko Tasi, the talented reggae artist shot to death August 10 on Willow St. @ Eucalyptus Ave. in LB's Wrigley district. Our hearts were similarly with those who attended the candlelight vigil for Genoveva Rivera Robles, killed inside her home on July 20 by a bullet fired outside in her 10th St./Alamitos Ave. neighborhood.
LBREPORT.com didn't cover these events. We are done covering candlelight vigils. We believe they are too easily exploited by others for emotional photos/video and accomplish nothing. LBREPORT.com instead encourages action we believe can produce change.
Mr. Tasi was LB's 18th homicide victim this year. He was the 6th homicide victim this year in LB's 6th Council district (which leads all other districts in homicides.) Ms. Robles was unsafe inside her own home on the border of LB's 1st and 6th Council districts. In July 2019, these two LB Council districts combined had a rate of fatal shootings per capita higher than Chicago. It wasn't a one-month fluke. We found the rate was basically the same for the past seven months (Jan-July 2019) (story here. These two mainly working class districts also lead the city in the number of non-fatal shootings (persons wounded or "no persons hit.")
In our view, letting these conditions continue is a major injustice and the greatest single inequity in the City of Long Beach. To date, LB's current Mayor and City Council have restored only 22 of 208 police officers that LB's previous Mayor and City Council erased. This has left LB without 186 officers (including its 22 member field anti-gang unit) despite LB voters approving (June 2016) a sales tax increase (Measure A) now bringing City Hall over $60 million more each year. Restoring 30 of the erased officers would cost one tenth of that, roughly $6 million.
What to do?
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In just weeks, the LB City Council will vote on how many, if any, police officers to restore starting in October. Mayor Garcia has recommended restoring no additional officers. A City Council majority will decide by voted action in the first half of September.
In November 2019, 1st district voters will elect a new LB Councilmember. In March 2020, voters in districts 2, 4, 6 and 8 will decide whether to re-elect their current Councilmember or replace him or her with a challenger.
If you and your friends took part in those candlelight vigils and can vote, you can take actions that can make change. If you live in Council district 1, you can choose a new Councilmember in November. Listen closely to see what candidates commit to make a motion promptly on taking office to restore those officers that the previous incumbent refused to do. To date, not one candidate has publicly done so.
If you live in districts 2, 4, 6 or 8, you can vote in March 2020 to re-elect or replace your current Councilmember. Watch to see what he/she does in September. If he/she restores those officers, make sure to thank them and vote accordingly. If he/she doesn't, resolve to replace them with a candidate who commits publicly to make a Council motion promptly on taking office to restore those officers.
LBREPORT.com stands with you in our hearts. We urge you to take action with your votes. The entire city is watching.
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