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During this Thanksgiving holiday, it is also important to remember those who work to make our city a great place. They usually don't get the credit for moving Long Beach forward, but we should all be thankful for all the people that clean our streets, fix our sidewalks, help our kids with library books, maintain our parks, and patrol our neighborhoods.
These dedicated city employees rarely get the credit for the hard work they do, and I wanted to take this time to thank them. Thanks to their hard work and your support, we have a lot to be thankful of this year in our city and the First District:
We enacted pension reform with our Police and Firefighter Associations that will save taxpayers over $100 million over 10 years. This is significant pension reform we can be proud of, and we should be thankful that our employees worked with us to bring this important economic change.
Violent Crime Continues to Drop
Crime is at a historic low citywide, and if our current trends continue, our crime statistics for 2011 homicides will be the lowest they have been in over 30 years. As Chair of the Public Safety Committee, I am proud of our Police Officers for a job well done. We still have more work to do, but these numbers are going in the right direction.
Homelessness Down 12% in Downtown Long Beach
Thanks to the hard work of our city, social, and faith-based groups, homelessness is down 12% in Downtown Long Beach since 2009. A huge thank you goes out to all of employees in the Health Department and LBPD for these great results.
Leading in Technology
Thanks to the hard work of our Technology Services Department, we have made major progress on technology - one of my top priorities on the City Council. In this last year alone, we launched the "Go Long Beach App", expanded social media for the city, enhanced streaming video to allow the public to view live and archived council meetings, implemented new online services like online permits and licenses, and funded a proposal to launch a new city website that will go live sometime in 2012.
A More Open Government
Government is more transparent than ever with new policies and technology improvements. These include the city's first open government policy, placing completed contracts online, creating a system to offer public comment on agenda items via the internet, and web enhancements to empower citizens. These improvements could not have been possible without the support of our City Clerk's Office and Technology Services.
New Parks & Open Space in First District
Thanks to our Parks & Recreation Department and the support of the Redevelopment Agency, we have also opened some great new parks and open spaces including the Mike Green Skate Park, the 14th Street Basketball Courts, Seaside Park, Mary Molina Community Garden, New City Urban Farm, and the Willmore Heritage Garden.
Better & Cleaner Neighborhoods
Thank to our dedicated Public Works and Neighborhood Services employees, we have:
- Planted over 230 trees
- Installed over 100 bike racks
- Placed over 60 new trashcans
- Created more than 500 new parking spaces
- Removed more than 50 thousand instances of graffiti
- Removed more than 3,300 illegal signs
- Removed more than 1,400 abandoned shopping carts
- Closed more than 1,700 code enforcement cases
These are just some of the reasons I am thankful for the thousands of dedicated women and men who make our city a great place to live. Along with our dedicated Police and Firefighters, our front line city employees deserve our thanks - they sure have mine.
Happy Thanksgiving, and Go Long Beach!
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