Unholy Alliance

I wanted to reach out in regard to the article titled: “City Attorney Conceals LBPD Overtime Fraud. It was an eye opening piece and I appreciate the steps taken to cover the story. I hope justice prevails and the LBPD can change in a better direction.

Johnny Walker

 

Thank you, Beachcomber, for taking on the challenge of bringing to light the unholy alliance between our City Hall, city prosecutor, city attorney and Police Department in covering up misdeeds by and within our Police Department. Too bad you seem to be the only news agency willing to do the job, and I include the other printed free paper with beach-themed title among those neglecting to report on these issues.

Years ago, in the 1970s I believe, the Los Angeles Times printed a series of articles on corruption in Long Beach and the role the Press-Telegram’s management played in influencing city government. It seems that a reversal has taken place. Now, to curry favor and gain access I assume, most local media are loathe to risk the ire of city officials. Or maybe it’s a case of being politically aligned with those who run our city and therefore turning a blind eye when a little muckraking is needed.

Gary Hastings

 

While president of the Belmont Shore Residents Association, another boardmember and I met with Police Chief Luna and City Manager West regarding a Public Records Act (PRA) request I submitted for data on police staffing in my Belmont Shore community. Luna and West provided the data verbally and not in writing, citing terrorist concerns for releasing the information in writing. We later learned both Luna and West lied to our faces.

The BSRA boardmember and I both wrote down the data Luna and West provided and recited it back to them for confirmation we had written it down correctly.

When later reviewed with a police department source, we were told the information we had received from the chief of police and the city manager was not correct. I resubmitted my original Public Records Act request asking for the data in writing this time.

After four months of stonewalling by the city, I spoke before City Council about the increased crime and difficulty I was facing getting data on police staffing in my community. The mayor instructed the chief of police to provide the data to me. Two months later I again spoke before City Council about not having received the PRA request data. The mayor got upset. I received the data in writing two days later.

The written data was significantly different than what was provided verbally by West and Luna to the BSRA boardmember and me when we met in City Manager West’s office. The written data indicated police staffing in our community was less than half what we had been told verbally. It was obvious, both Luna and West lied to our faces.

Considering the lengths Luna and West went to concealing simple police staffing data, its not hard imagining them covering up police misconduct and corruption.

Mike Ruehle

Category:

Comments

Most Long Beach newspapers rely on Long Beach police to provide them with crime stories and news releases because they have no investigative reporters to otherwise provide those stories. Because the stories are supplied by LBPD staff, the stories ALWAY spin a favorable light toward LBPD and often smack of outright lies and victim blaming that is evident years later when the rare case goes to court. Any newspaper that attempts to question the conduct of LBPD is cut off from being supplied with crime stories and news releases. Though no excuse, that would likely spell the end to most newspapers.

Long Beach City Hall does the same with the media it controls. City hall even goes a step further by threatening to pull advertisements from those papers who defy their wishes or make them look bad. For instance, the Press Telegram receives the majority of their advertisement revenue from Long Beach City Hall. Without that revenue, the PT would go under. To stay in existence, the PT has more or less become the public relations media outlet for City Hall. That's probably not what the PT employees thought would happen to their careers when they graduated from Journalism school.

I heartily commend the Beachcomber for sticking its head out by challenging the status quo and reporting both sides of the story.

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