"Bring a dozen roses or a dozen rocks" was Pat's opening line to describe this monthly meeting to any newbies in attendance.
Next he quickly noted the noteworthy people in the room. List too long to mention here.
First up to bat was our East Division Commander Paul LeBaron
, who said crime isn't any worse than usual. His two goals for the year are increased community watch and quicker reaction to repeat crimes. He told a story of a recently arrested crook who had a pawn shop of stolen goods in his house. The also discovered that between this gentleman, his father and three sons, they had 157 incidents on their rap-sheets Next he introduced Ruth Ann Zalou the new community liason out of the east division. She is looking for volunteers to host neighborhood meetings within one or two blocks of their home. They have found that small groups of well-informed neighbors are more effective than larger community groups. Also she is newly transplanted from New Jersey so I assured her after the meeting that she will come to love this place, but since she already misses the weather, I am a bit worried about her.
O'Donnell took the lecture to talk about the improvements to infrastructure at Whaley Park and Stearns Park. Both are getting improved diamonds and should be ready for the March 9 first day of season games. Also the nature center is receiving some funding from this one-time oil money. The fence along Willow is part of this improvement. Orizaba Park, which O'Donnell helpful noted was on the way to Joe Jost, is getting a brand new recreation building and improved skate park. All this should be done by June. Mary Mattheissen sang O'Donnell's praise, describing him as wonderful and many other positive adjectives, for his involvement in getting funding for El Dorado Dog Park.
Snow Day is February 22 and is the most well attended community event of the year. They are looking for volunteers for set-up and clean-up. Contact Mark in the 4th district office for more information. 562-570-6918.
Next we had Fire Chief DuRee say a brief hello, literrally, and then he went on to talk about the new fire station in North Long Beach, the 28 new firefighters that just came out of the academy and the 24 more due to enter the academy soon. The question of the home fire across the street from the Station on Argonne was questioned. He said that the Fire Truck (think hook and ladder) arrived from across the street in 3 minutes and the Fire Engine (think water truck) in 4 minutes. He was quite proud of the department for this short response time. Fun Fact: DuRee's great grandfather became a fire chief in 1933 after the Long Beach Earthquake.
Next 7th district Council member James Johnson came to discuss his pet project; installing more LED lights to improve safety conditions. The upfront fees are greater but he argues the lighting is better and cost less due to increased time between replacement and less energy use. There were no questions on the lights but someone in the back of the room wanted to talk about the living wage that was adopted. O'Donnell who is spearheading this vote was quick to rise to answer the question, saying that the city employs contractors and the city should have say in how much the contractor's workers are paid. Next some asked about the Medical Marijuana situation. Johnson had the most memorable line of the night when he said that at one point there were so many pot stores by his house near Wardlow, it became known as Weedlow! He also urged the council to come to some agreement because if it goes to a ballot initiative and wins, the council will never have a say in the rule and regulations.
Lastly O'Donnell had Terri Carbaugh, head of media relations at CSULB, give a short presentation. She started with a well-done video advertisement for the college, the type you see between halves for Division I schools. I sat at the front so I could hear the audio just fine but people in the rear of the room missed that portion. Terri went on to give the following facts about the school: it is due to celebrates its 56th year, it has graduated over 275,000 students, and the 7th incoming president is the first female. Dr. Jane Close Conoley will be starting in July. She has served as interim Chancellor for UC Riverside and is looking forward to reaching out to business and community leaders. Terri noted that CSULB made the Princeton and USA Today list of best value colleges. Also she went on to talk about the Promise Program started a few years ago that has become a model for other colleges. The promise program is helping to move children through the school system more successfully.
And lastly O'Donnell draw attention to Dr. Kim at the rear of the room. Dr. Kim is the head of our local Memorial Care Center which opened about a mere 13 months ago.
And that's a wrap folks. Any questions, first call Patrick and if that doesn't work, you know you can always call me!
Better Living in Long Beach!