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|(June 21, 2020) -- Three weeks after a large, loud but lawful protest morphed into looting and for severalk hours near anarchic conditions from downtown to midtown into uptown and across Central LB into ELB, Mayor Robert Garcia, LB's City Council incumbents and the leadership of the LB Police Officers Ass'n have avoided serious scrutiny for their records in what happened.
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The chart below shows per capita police levels budgeted by the City Councils of Long Beach, Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Signal Hill for their taxpayers.
Do you suppose this might have something to do with leaving LB especially vulnerable to what took place in Los Angeles 24 hours earlier and in Santa Monica just hours earlier?
Do you suppose it might have something to do with Santa Monica police making over 400 arrests (now criticized for targeting protestors not looters a few blocks away) while LBPD arrested five persons for looting among only 29 total arrested on serious charges while handing out 71 citations (tickets) for curfew violations?
Or that it might have something to do with the chronic inequity of leaving mainly working class families in LB's historically disadvantaged neighborhoods to endure disproportionately high levels of shootings and homicides?
For the record, the leadership of Long Beach police officers union didn't object to Council actions that erased a staggering 20% of LB's police level, the largest reduction in police for LB taxpayers over a five year period in the more than 100 year history of the City of Long Beach. Other area cities didn't do this to their taxpayers to weather the 2009-2014 economic slowdown.
Even after LB voters gave City Hall the 2016 Measure A sales tax increase providing $60+ million more in "blank check" General Fund revenue each year, Mayor Garcia and the current Council have restored roughly 22 of 208 erased officers while giving the police officers union (whose contributions helped install the incumbents in office) contracts with generous pay raises.
This isn't about police alone. It reflects the way the City is currently run on multiple levels. To move forward requires breaking the Code of Silence that accepts endless defensive excuses for the status quo. .
At some point it may dawn on those now running things that what has happened has "woke" a lot people. And they vote.
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