Wrigley, NLB Neighborhoods Hammered (Again) By July 4th Mortar-Launched + Ground Based Explosives
|Publisher's perspective: On March 28, 2019 LBREPORT.com reported that city management had recommended against the use of administrative enforcement -- used by a number of other cities that impose fines not requiring police resources or "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" -- to fireworks scofflaws. LBREPORT.com followed-up on June 16 in reporting that no Councilmember(s) chose to agendize the issue for discussion (including a possible "pilot" test of some administrative enforcement methods.) Instead, the Council allowed management to expend taxpayer resources to disseminate signs and social network messaging to "celebrate safely."
(July 5, 2019, 8:10 a.m.) -- LB's Wrigley neighborhoods (6th and 7th districts) and mainly southern parts of NLB (8th district) were hammered on July 4th by mortar-launched and ground based explosives (contraband statewide.) Wrigley residents had been reporting the conditions for days (and in some cases weeks) before July 4th.
North Long Beach News publisher Dan Pressburg livestreamed what he could see and hear from his front porch (looking south and east from South St. at Dairy Ave.)
Multiple messages in the Wrigley Neighborhood Group Facebook pages voiced anger and frustration over conditions in their neighborhood, with a number of residents reporting scofflaws igniting the explosive devices in the days and weeks leading up to July 4th.
And on the morning of July 5th, a Wrigley resident told LBPD that a bullet went through a window in her residence (area Burnett St./Chestnut Ave.) on July 4th and showed police the bullet casing. It's LB's 32nd documented shooting crime scene (fatal + wounding + no-persons-hit) since May 7.
At roughly 9:00 p.m., ELB neighborhoods (4th/5th dist.) heard/saw scattered mortar launched bombs with a near continuous distant rumble from neighborhoods to the west and northwest. Initial reports of conditions along LB's shoreline (downtown to southeastward) aren't yet complete.
[Scroll down for further.]
|As reported by LBREPORT.com on March 15, 2019 with follow up on June 16, the City Council received but took no action in response to a memo fron city management recommending against using administrative enforcement -- methods that carry hefty fines but don't require police resources or proof "beyond a reasonable doubt" and currently used by a number of other cities -- to deter fireworks scofflaws in LB.
Management's March 15, 2019 memo acknowledged the following:
Management offered the following reasoning to recommend against using administrative enforcement in Long Beach:
Given the significant immediate and long-term costs, legal concerns, potential lawsuits involving privacy issues, and the substantial administrative resources required, it is not recommended that the City implement and online reporting tool or a drone surveillance tool for fireworks enforcement. Implementing an extensive administrative citation program to enforce fireworks violations will require additional analysis to determine exact costs for additional resources and staff time...There are also significant concerns with the increased risk and danger to City staff when conducting enforcement of large crowds in areas of high activity during the Fourth of July holiday..." and added:
On May 23, 2019, city management sent the City Council a follow-up memo (to its March 15 memo) describing its "Fireworks Communications Campaign." It can be viewed in full at this link. It stated in pertinent part:
This is the first year the City is using a branded fireworks education message and campaign across departments. A branded campaign will immediately enhance communications efforts, as the cohesive design and messaging across departments creates recall with our residents. The campaign uses multiple strategic methods:
What's taking place now occurs two years after a number of LB neighborhoods experienced what residents described "warzone" levels of contraband fireworks.
July 21, 2017: LBREPORT.com followed-up by doing some basic research and published a Perspective piece titled: "Fireworks Fiasco Follow-Up: Council's Public Safety Committee Makes No Voted Recommendations To Council; Unmentioned: Some Cities Impose Administrative (Non-Criminal) Fines Up To $1,000, Some Aided By Smartphone Video...So Why Isn't Long Beach?" at this link. Our report described how other cities use administrative citations -- civil notices, not misdemeanor criminal charges -- that don't require police or other sworn peace officers because non-sworn city employees can issue administrative fireworks notices of violation carrying fines. Our piece acknowledged that administrative citations aren't a panacea (cities that use administrative enforcement still have fireworks scofflaws) and the process differs from city to city and could range from handing out an administrative citations in the field to using online emailed reports from residents to send a mailed notice of violation to an alleged scofflaw.
Separate from LBREPORT.com, a group of 3rd district residents [whom we've never met] approached Councilwoman Suzie Price and volunteered to form a "Residents Fireworks Committee" to examine ways to deal with the situation. Councilwoman Price encouraged them to do so.
June 19, 2018: LBPD/LBFD presented a pre-July 4th report that didn't mention using administrative citations. However Councilwoman Price separately agendized a Council item inviting the volunteer "Third District Residents' Fireworks Committee" to present the results of its independent nearly-year-long research. The volunteer committee's multiple recommended actions included administrative enforcement. Councilwoman Price thanked the volunteer Committee for its work and said: "The administrative citation option is something that my staff is researching now to bring back as a potential agenda item in the future."
July 4, 2018: Residents reported another year of "warzone" contraband fireworks.
July 24, 2018: Councilwoman Price, joined by Councilmembers Jeannine Pearce, Daryl Supernaw and Al Austin agendized a request (passed 8-0 [Mungo absent on vote]) for a city staff report on the "feasibility of implementing expanded fireworks enforcement/administrative remedies."
March 15, 2019: Management sent a non-agendized "To-From-For" memo to the Mayor and City Council at this link not agendized for public discussion, recommending against use of administrative enforcement in Long Beach.
Management's memo stated in part:
The graphic below is visible (as of June 16 and for some days preceding) on the City of LB's website front page (and we've seen some similar graphics elsewhere.):
Any Councilmember(s) could have agendized management's position on the issue for public input, Council discussion and possible Council action that took a different policy stance. None did.
June 11, 2019: Councilwoman Price agendized an item to "receive and file presentation of a Public Safety Announcement video funded by the Third Council District on the dangers and impacts of illegal fireworks." Her agendizing memo noted that her residents' advisory group met with city staff and other cities and developed a series of recommendations on how Long Beach can better manage the issue of illegal fireworks" that led her the July 24, 2018 Council agenda item seeking a report on the feasibility of implementing expanded fireworks enforcement and administrative remedies. Her agendizing memo noted that "[t]he City Manager provided a detailed memo on March 15, 2019 as a response to the request for a feasibility report on the various recommendations made by the Fireworks Committee." In a footnote, it included a link to management's memo but didn't mention or comment one way or the other on management's recommendation not to pursue administrative enforcement. During Council discussion, no Councilmembers raised the issue of administrative enforcement. To view the Council's June 11, 2019 discussion and see the "Public Service Announcement" produced by a former CSULB film student, see the Council video at this link and scroll to 3:38:20 for start of item.
June 18, 2019: Councilwoman Price agendized an item to "Receive and file a presentation of the Public Service Announcement video funded by the Third Council District on the dangers and impacts of illegal fireworks." In her agendizing memo, Councilwoman Price wrote:
Throughout the weeks approaching the 4th of July it is important to highlight the harms. that come from fireworks. In 2017, the Third Council District office developed a residents advisory group to focus on addressing the issue of illegal fireworks in Long Beach. This group held numerous meetings with City staff, and other cities to develop a series of recommendations on how Long Beach can better manage the issue of illegal fireworks. This led to a presentation on June 19, 2018 from the Third District Fireworks Committee and our Fire Department, 1 and the submittal of a City Council agenda item on July 24, 2018 requesting the City manager to report back on the feasibility of implementing expanded fireworks enforcement and administrative remedies. [footnote to link to Council agenda item] The City Manager provided a detailed memo on March 15, 2019 as a response to the request for a feasibility report [footnote to link to management's memo] the various recommendations made by the Fireworks Committee.
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