|If your neighborhood is among those pounded by illegal fireworks and explosives during the New Year period, consider the LB City Council's record in 2020 on the issue:
A December 23, 2020 city mgm't memo to the Mayor and Council describes City Hall's current plans, which amount mainly to repeating practices of previous years:.
("[T]he City will reiterate to our community, through our ongoing Celebrate Safely campaign, that fireworks activity is illegal in Long Beach. Social media posts with holiday themed Celebrate Safely graphics will be shared across platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. A graphic with messaging will be placed on the Cityís website on the homepage carousel, and messaging will also be placed on the freeway billboard and digital message boards deployed throughout the city. A press release will also be issued that provides the community with: information about the illegality of fireworks; the repercussions of using them; how to provide the Police Department and the City Prosecutorís Office with information and evidence of people illegally using fireworks; and, ideas on how to Celebrate Safely.social network messaging,,,[LBPD] will dedicate additional police officers [comment: how many, after the Council voted in Sept. 2020 to defund nearly sworn 50 officers?] to "conduct proactive enforcement while providing high visibility patrols...[T]his enhanced posture will be data driven, focused in areas previously identified as having high fireworks activity, and strategically deployed..."
Management's Dec. 23 memo gives no indication that LB city staff have discussed with the City of Lakewood that city's use of administrative enforcement which applies the city's fireworks laws with higher fines that avoid the criminal justice system. (LBREPORT.com coverage here.)
Administrative enforcement lets Lakewood (and multiple other cities using it) more readily prevail in its fireworks cases with a easier burden of proof for the city to meet. (A hearing officer instead of a court judge can rule for the city based on a preponderance of the evidence instead of criminal law's "proof beyond a reasonable doubt.")
Administrative enforcement also avoids delays encountered in the criminal justice system. LB City Prosecutor Doug Haubert notes that his office (tasked with filing misdemeanor criminal cases) has filed a total of 76 cases, nearly all based on LBPD citations (including cases from seizures of large quantities sold to undercover officers.)
However courts frequently grant "continuances" (delays) for reasons that now include COVID-19. City Prosecutor Haubert says the Superior Court has continued misdemeanor cases for some time and some fireworks cases have been continued several times with new court dates now into February. And on Dec. 31, 2020, a broadly based Superior Court order continues misdemeanor criminal trials through at least Jan. 28, 2021.
Administrative enforcement would avoid these issues while admittedly raising others..but LB's policy setting City Council hasn't seriously discussed applying administrative enforcement here. One may speculate that Long Beach, which has a politically powerful police officers union (LBPOA PAC) that has helped elect/re-elect several Councilmembers (most recently Cindy Allen in CD 2 and Al Austin in CD 8) may not favor having non-sworn personnel perform tasks currently performed by LBPOA-represented sworn officers.
Happy New Year.
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