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Councilmember Steven Neal's Weekly Message

This Thanksgiving weekend was bittersweet for North Long Beach communities. Despite a year of historically low crime levels, North Long Beach neighborhoods were tragically faced with multiple shooting incidents, throughout the Ninth and Eighth council districts. Two young men, an African American and Pacific Islander, lost their lives to gun violence.

I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of those young men, and the communities that are shaken by these events.

Throughout the weekend, the Long Beach Police Department North Division officers did their very best to respond to these incidents, and I applaud them on their dedication. However, with unemployment levels among African American male teens and young adults as high as 49% in Los Angeles County, now, more than ever, is the time for the community and its leaders to demonstrate its commitment to youth opportunities, public safety, and gang intervention.

With new law enforcement technology, such as "ShotSpotter," and an emphasis on youth opportunities, we can all work together to make a difference in our communities. In the weeks to come, I will work with local religious leaders, law enforcement, and the community, to provide a platform to seek solutions to reduce and prevent gun violence in our neighborhoods.

Secondly, it is my pleasure to report that the California Coastal Conservancy, at their November 10, 2011 meeting in San Diego, authorized $1,500,000 grant to the City of Long Beach for the DeForest Park Wetlands Project. Upon approval, this project will go out to bid in early 2012.

Have a great week.

Steven Neal
Long Beach City Councilmember, 9th District