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Where has the Anti-Gang Unit Funding Gone in the City of Long Beach?

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There have been several articles coming out of the City of Long Beach inquiring as to why there are ZERO dollars allocated to the Anti-Gang Unit for FY 14-15.  With Chief of Police Jim McDonnell on leave to run for Sheriff, questions are being fielded by his 2nd in command, Deputy Chief Robert Luna, his presumed replacement if elected.

According to Chief Luna the primary reasons they don’t have to fund an anti-gang unit is because council has directed more resources towards the city’s Libraries and Parks & Recreation programs.  Prominent philanthropist, Skip Keesal, raises money for the Boys and Girls Club, but is not counted as an endorser of Jim McDonnell.

With nearly 60 gangs, having approximately 6,000 members, the city finds that gangs are involved in more sophisticated crimes such as organized crime, burglary, identity theft and forgery.  It also doesn’t hurt that they have three gang injunctions.

“Our city is only 50 squares miles and policing the city is every police officers job, not just specialized departments.” said Luna.

Deputy Luna went further to state that the department has lost 200 sworn positions and no employees have been laid off as a result.  They were lost to attrition, retirement and unfilled positions were closed.  On the contrary, many officers have been involved in questionable shootings, costing the city millions and former officers have more than a dozen lawsuits in the pipeline.

According to the website GreaterLongBeach.com LBPD started defunding the anti-gang units in August 2012, when then Mayor Bob Foster eliminated funding in FY 2013.   Current Mayor Robert Garcia, is the former councilman from District 1, were apparently crime was rising.  Garcia was Foster’s appointee to chair the Public Safety Committee, which ironically held no public meetings on either the 2013 or 2014 budgets, which discussed the funding.   The exact same occurred on the 2015 budget.

At the July 31st city council meeting it was affirmed that the new budget would include no anti-gang unit funding as detailed on the LBReport.com.

We reached out to Mayor Garcia’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Daniel Brezenoff, on August 12th, to inquire on the reduced funding and his initial response was, “the Mayor thinks Deputy Chief Robert Luna is the best person to fill you in.”  He then provided me a contact information to Luna’s secretary.

We contacted Daniel the following day, August 13th, due to the 14-15 budget being on the previous night’s agenda and he replied “The budget hearing was continued and the full budget has not yet received formal approval by the council.  The PD portion of the budget is not scheduled for any further hearing, but any council member can propose changes by September 15th.”

The 2015 budget calls for a complete elimination of the 22 sworn officers in the anti-gang units, which new councilman Rex Richardson denied.

“[The] gang unit wasn’t cut this year” said Richardson.  Perhaps if the PSC would hold public hearing, which discuss the funding reductions, everyone in the City of Long Beach, city council members included, would be on the same page.

With African-Americans being 13% of the city’s population they also represent some scary statistics.  African-Americans are stopped 4x more than whites and also represent nearly 44% of the marijuana arrests.

When we inquired of Deputy Luna of the history of racial profiling of African-Americans he said, “We have zero tolerance for racial profiling.” Which is a stark contradiction to the recent emails that revealed that yes, Long Beach Police Department teamed up with the Feds to profile attendees on the Super Bowl cruise, that set sail this January 2014.  Are officers engaged in activities without the knowledge of the Chief of Police and his 2nd in command?

This open letter to LBPD Lt. Steve James, who is also President of the Long Beach Police Officers Association, pretty much sums up what a retired LAPD Deputy Chief thinks of the city he pays his taxes to and where he foresees the city headed; under a federal decree like LAPD just got out of.

 


15 Responses so far.

  1. tecumseh says:

    I’m going to stop commenting now, and I want you to know the reason is that I’ve already devoted more time to this than it warrants. Much more.

    Good luck in your endeavors.

  2. 2UrbanGirls says:

    Just to be clear. Paul Tanaka has NO control over what this blog writes. L.A. Times, KPCC and other MSM sources have all but refused to be objective in their reporting of Jim McDonnell. Seeing that said sources have refused to be objective, someone needs to be.

    Again, all of the sources of our articles stem from NON-URBAN sources: OC Register, Press Telegram, LB Report and Gazette News. Don’t be mad that urban sources have picked up on what is going on within the 2nd largest city in L.A. County.

    Let’s also be clear. MSM sources have a responsibility to be objective when reporting especially given they help shape public perception of candidates. It is irresponsible to do otherwise.

    BOTH candidates have blemished records. Tanaka’s has already been well documented. Now it is time for the truth to come out about McDonnell’s.

    Regardless of the advertisement on the site, has anything described in ANY of the articles related to Jim McDonnell been false?

    • tecumseh says:

      Given your use of innuendo and rhetorical questions it’s very hard to show anything is “false”. You don’t make clear, factual claims.

      But if you think the emails in the Super Bowl cruise story really support your claim that “recent emails that revealed that yes, Long Beach Police Department teamed up with the Feds to profile attendees on the Super Bowl cruise” you need a journalism crash course.

      “Are officers engaged in activities without the knowledge of the Chief of Police and his 2nd in command?”

      Questions like this have no place in responsible journalistic articles. It’s like me saying “Do the 2urban girls have an agenda? Are they secretly working for Paul Tanaka? Could they be drug addicts?”

      No evidence. No sources. Just a lot of jumping to conclusions. Nothing in those emails indicates racial profiling.

      You have an axe to grind. Fine. But let’s not pretend you’re an objective alternative to the LA TIMES. This is an opinion blog, and you should present it as such instead of pretending to write straight news.

      • 2UrbanGirls says:

        The “about 2UrbanGirls” page indicates we provide opinion. Its clear we are not an authority, however, your continued commenting, suggests otherwise.

  3. tecumseh says:

    What is this line about skip keesal doing in there? It seems like it’s from another article or something. It makes no sense where it is and has zero to do with the article.

    Also, having the paul tanaka ad placed prominently next to an article bashing his opponent for sheriff is extremely suspect. Is this a journalistic blog, or a campaign mouthpiece?

    • 2UrbanGirls says:

      It’s important because he runs a business in Long Beach and raises a significant amount of money for children in the community. If he doesn’t endorse the current chief of police in the city he does business, that’s newsworthy.

  4. PDQ says:

    I noticed that you reference “Prominent philanthropist, Skip Kessler” I believe you’re talking about Skip Keesal of Keesal, Young and Logan. I’ve noticed that when you try to cover Long Beach, you make a mess of it. Stick to what you know.

    • 2UrbanGirls says:

      You are my favorite Long Beach commenter! I remember the outrage when I wrote about the case study on the Long Beach Post.

  5. PDQ says:

    since the funding cuts started a couple of years ago under Mayor Bob Foster, perhaps McDonnell is looking for greener pastures. He’s not on the city council – he can’t make budget decisions.

    • 2UrbanGirls says:

      Wouldn’t it be the chief’s responsibility to fight for the funding to remain? Three gang injunctions is a clear indication there are gang issues in the City of Long Beach, however, the articles referenced don’t discuss McDonnell’s being outraged or concerned the funding has consistently been reduced.

      L.A. County has a huge gang problem and if his approach is to simply “go along” it is no wonder the L.A. County Board of Supervisors are unanimously endorsing him.


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