No on Measures A & B
Friday April 29
Current and former politicians have overspent and now want the taxpayers to pick up the tab by voting to increase our sales tax to 10 percent. Don’t be fooled by the misleading title of Measure A or the buzz words: public safety, infrastructure and water that cause concern. Measure A does not legally require city hall to provide anymore police, firefighters or repair infrastructure. Measure A is a general sales tax that goes into the general fund and can be spent on anything current or future mayors and councils want.
Increasing the sales tax to 10 percent will negatively impact everyone, especially seniors on fixed incomes, the working poor and middle class and will make Long Beach the highest sales tax in the area. This will harm local businesses as customers will buy in surrounding cities to avoid paying higher sales taxes
Measure A does not guarantee that we will have more police or firefighters, it’s a safe bet they will be higher paid. Temporary taxes have a way of becoming permanent. And they added that the tax increase would be for water supplies, knowing full well that water supplies are paid for by our water utility bills and not sales taxes.
City employees are backing Measure A. They want raises, which will increase pension costs. They paid for the questionable mayoral survey and donated $170,000 to promote Measure A. About 30 percent of police and firefighters live in Long Beach but only Long Beach residents and its visitors will pay this tax.
The biggest drivers of future deficits that reduce city services are: (1) Employee compensation: 80-plus percent of the general fund budget, (2) Skyrocketing pensions costs: $100 million a year and increasing by five-ten percent per year, (3) The new city hall: Worst financial disaster to hit our city in years. Cost estimates range from $500 to $750 million after paying escalating rent for 45 years.
Vote NO on Measure A and on any other tax/bond measures. Our governments have plenty of money in their coffers for funding pet projects like rainbow crosswalks, high-maintenance planters, confusing roundabouts and outlandish pension/benefit packages.
But, they use scare tactics to coerce us into believing that we must pay more taxes for our children to have an education. They further attempt to deceive the public by telling them that money from new taxes will be spent solely on the certain projects/issues. This is a lie.
What they fail to tell naive citizens is that the extra tax revenue “for public safety and infrastructure” is actually general fund money that can readily be funneled off to fuel their continuing irresponsible spending.
The only weapon that tax-paying citizens have against this out-of-control spending is to vote responsibly – and that is to vote “no” on any new tax increases.
It must be election time because once again for my mailbox is showing the signs with political campaign mailers beginning to appear more frequently. The first mailer of this election is a Yes on A & B initiatives that are being endorsed by our current and two previous Long Beach mayors, as well as both the police and fire departments.
The brochure points out there are $2.8 billion in unfunded structure needs. It says the city is spending $65 million a year on capital infrastructure and that is simply not enough. What can be costing us $65 million a year on capital infrastructure that we need another $2.8 billion to fund for structural needs? Whatever happened to all that offshore oil drilling revenue or the income the port supposedly generates to fund these needs?
Remember Proposition I, the one that Mayor Foster tried to float on us that would cost a mere $58 million in a bond? It sounds like now he is playing the same tune only to a different drum by creating two initiatives and then staggering the duration of each initiative to vary from another.
Maybe it is time for our three leaders to look at reductions in pay and (retirement) benefits for not only themselves but those of our fortunate city government employees earning six digit retirement incomes annually for the rest of their lives. How deep of a debt do we owe these high rollers? Would it be possible to add being practical and sensible to the design and framework of each of the pension plans we are paying for so they can proportionately be remunerated with salaries that are competitive to those of the private sector?
Maybe it is time for many of our fortunate city government city employees to return their city cars they have been issued and go back to driving their own personal vehicles for city business. They are paid enough even with their initial salaries to be able to easily make this switchover.
Maybe we don't need the new Gerald Desmond Bridge to be rebuilt to begin with since most of the port traffic will be diminishing and relocating to the new World Port in Corpus Christie, Texas, in the next few years. It is less travel on land from there rather than Long Beach when delivering goods to the East Coast or any other point in the continental United States from Corpus Christie saving untold amounts of gasoline, diesel from the 18 wheelers on the road.
Maybe it is time we stop allowing our leaders to force their environmental or domestic pet ideologies and policies upon us, particularly since they do more damage than good and end up just costing you and me more of our paycheck. Stop brainwashing retailers and pet owners.
Maybe it is time to look into contracting out for these expensive services mentioned in this flier. How much would it cost the City of Long Beach to combat the increasing crime rates by contracting with the Los Angeles County Sheriff instead of maintaining its own police department? Of 88 cities in Los Angeles County there are 45 cities who contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff. How much would it cost the City of Long Beach to maintain the 9-1-1 paramedic response times if it were to contract with the Los Angeles County Fire Department the way 58 cities are presently doing, and saving huge sums of money by doing so?
These are just a few considerations by this citizen who is tired of watching city servants continue to rake in the cash while crying poor mouth every election – expecting us to fund their lavish lifestyles. It just is not right.
Ward G. Johnson
Friday April 29
Thank you for the story on the human remains and coyotes. It seems as if almost overnight the coyotes have become a huge problem. I live in Lakewood and on August 8, 2015, my friend’s 19-year-old daughter came home to find her little dog, Lucy, torn to shreds.
If any one of you could have listened to her screams of horror and anger for days and days, I guarantee you, more would be done at this point. For her 19 years that she has lived in Lakewood she never saw one coyote. And then her little dog and best friend was murdered by a coyote.
One week later sitting in her car, three coyotes ran right past her. Most likely the ones who killed her dog and attacked and injured the two other dogs. And no one in the City of Lakewood has done one single thing to help her. How pathetic is that?
Thank you for informing the public about this huge problem that has been swept under the rug for way too long.
What on earth was that story [about my brother’s death]? Six months after? Who did you talk to? The social worker trying to help him into assisted living care? The undertaker who told me he doesn’t think it was coyotes. Why do you think that might be? The family kept their distance – because that’s what Terry wanted – but don’t think we didn’t try.
If Terry was that bad why didn’t someone call the police? The door to the house was open for months. Now people are saying he was eaten alive by coyotes. He smoked. He left the door open. Animals got in. My brother was known for feeding strays.
There’s just so much more to this story. My brother wanted to live alone and to die alone. He was haunted by Viet Nam. He was a hero. He saved men’s lives. He came back and wasn’t the same. Now you’re dragging him into the open; he’d die all over again.
Kitty Griffin Lagorio
Thank you for publishing the article regarding the skeletal remains found in Long Beach. It is a subject that most newspapers have chosen to ignore. Just as our mayor and city council members have ignored and continue to ignore the growing problem of coyotes in Long Beach.
The problem with coyotes has escalated and now the citizens of Long Beach have something to fear. If you are elderly or have young children you may want to rethink leaving windows and doors open. Some of us know of a man who had a coyote crash through his window screen and chase his cats into the upstairs bathroom.
And now, the coyotes have taken the next step. Although we can not prove that this man was eaten alive, we know that a large predator removed several pounds of bones from the site and left the man’s scattered remains for his neighbors to find.
Thank you for bringing this story to light when so many want to cover it up.
The coyotes run our streets night and day with free abandon. The part about them being a dangerous predator should now finally be understood by our city leaders. We tried to educate them with science based data from coyote experts from UC Davis and Cal Poly Pomona who have 30-plus years of experience in wild and urban coyotes. The city ignored it and chose the special interests who have no science-based data on wildlife management but come with money and a dangerous co-existence ideology.
In our city’s zeal for being “progressive,” they missed an important lesson. You cannot base public safety policy on “feel good” ideologies. If this tragic incident does not prove that, nothing will.
How sad to realize our city has allowed the coyote problem to get so bad that they have now eaten and carried off the bones of a dead person.
And then to have someone say, it might not have been coyotes, who are they kidding?
The problem has gotten so out of hand, that they are showing up all over the city day and night. Just ask the people who have lost a family pet to them, because many have been lost, and in their own back yards, in many cases.
When is our city going to get their head out of the sand and remove the wild predators that live among us? The next tragedy might be a live child or adult. What then? Coyotes do not belong in cities; simple as that.
In regard to the article “Coyote Suspected Following Discovery of Skeletal Remains,” Terrence Michael Griffin Jr.’s shredded remains were found scattered in his Long Beach residence. It is highly suspected that coyotes were involved in damaging the body after Terry passed away. Therefore, the residents of Long Beach should be more aware of the increasing activity of coyotes in the Long Beach/ Lakewood surrounding neighborhoods.
With a growing coyote problem primarily from the East Long Beach Area, Theresa Hew does mention that there is a good possibility of the dismembering of Terry’s remains to involve such predators. Her social media Coyote Watch Long Beach page does indeed report activity on Hackett Avenue from September through December, the same neighborhood and time the incident took place. She also points out on the coroner’s report that the deceased body was missing ribs and bones, doubting the possibility of smaller rodents or birds being capable of carrying off with the bones.
It was stated that the residence was unlocked, with the backyard sliding glass door left wide open which led straight to the den where the remains were found. Traces of fur were discovered by an opening next to the back gate, which could’ve been easily accessible by animals as big as coyotes.
However, there are those who think the odds of a coyote committing such act is highly improbable. Such as coyote expert, Tim Revell, Ph.D., who believes it more likely could’ve been a group of rodents such as rats, raccoons or even crows responsible for what occurred. These common critters live in copious amounts in the area and have the ability to access any openings in a home much more easier than a larger animal as a coyote. Even though Revell presents a reasonable argument, there is no doubt a growing heavy coyote population with more and more sightings and encounters reported every year by residents and local law enforcement.
Whether it be the drought or lack of food causing these animals to migrate south more frequently, the public in Long Beach and surrounding the cities should be more mindful about the rising presence of coyotes in our neighborhoods and the harm they can cause to our community.
Freedom to Decide
Friday April 29
I have been following your articles in the Beachcomber for some time and you hit the nail on the head as to what some police officers will do. Unfortunately these are not remote situations but have been going on for years in Long Beach and other police departments. I was a reserve police officer with LAPD and I could tell with 20 percent of the officers that nothing was off the table as to what they would do.
When the [Long Beach] City Council brought in the sheriff’s department things changed for getting more out of the [LBPD] officers. What we also got was a union that played the city council and citizens for less time spent on the job and mediocre policing with the best pay package and retirement anyone could ever hope for. You would think that we would at least get some better police officers out of this but I still find numerous situations where some of them just don’t have common sense.
You would think that at least the police department would leave City Manager John Mansel alone as he was considered the strongest city manager in the US in the early ‘70s. I watched as an LAPD motorcycle officer followed Mansel from a bar and stopped him a block away for a made-up story of drunk driving. Two LBPD cars showed up within two minutes as well. The story in the newspaper as to the LAPD officer’s claim about Mansel was all made up. We never heard much about it after that and apparently the union got what it was after and let everyone know that there was nothing they would not do if you did not play ball with them.
I know the code of silence is a big problem in every police department. Failure to back up a fellow officer – even with lies – could mean an officer would forever be ostracized in the department or even accused of failing to back an officer up, which could lead to other officers trying to get the person fired.
Name Withheld by Request
Friday April 29
Don’t separate families. Remove the Civil War era anchor baby law and make it retroactive to 1986 when democrats agreed to secure the border leaving four million with amnesty of the proclaimed one million thought to apply.
Reagan should never have trusted democrats in congress to secure the border as they agreed. Had they done so it would have stopped the added 12 million, at least, new illegals from entering since 1986.
We have millions of citizens out of work, massive social program spending and increased criminal problems due to illegals. If criminals are caught and sent to jail should they be released because their families are separated? This family separation argument is completely without merit.
When Hillary Clinton was asked her thoughts about illegal immigration she answered “They just came here for a better life.” If she thinks it is alright for Hispanics to come from Mexico and other countries from south of the border to come here to have a better life, then it must be okay with her for other people to come here illegally from all over the world “for a better life.”
To not think so would be racist.