February: Black History Month Page 10-11 T R I B U N E S erving B ixBy K nollS , C alifornia H eigHtS , l oS C erritoS , W rigley and tHe C ity of S ignal H ill Your Weekly Community Newspaper Vol. 32 No. 35 SH City Councilmembers voice opposition to Gov. Brown’s proposal to end redevelopment agencies CJ Dablo Staff Writer Signal Hill City Councilmembers voted Tuesday to adopt a resolution stating opposition to Governor Jerry Brown’s intention to end redevelopment agencies (RDA) in the state. In his “State of the State” address on Monday, Jan. 31, the governor had underscored his desire to end redevelopment agencies as part of his overall budget plan. Cities have argued that the “redevelopment funds leverage other funds and create jobs,” Brown acknowledged. “But I also understand that redevelopment funds come directly from local property taxes that would otherwise pay for schools and core city and county services, such as police and fire protection and care for the most vulnerable people in our society,” Brown said. “So it is a matter of hard choices, and I come down on the side of those who believe that core functions of government must be funded first. But be clear, my plan protects current projects and supports all bonded indebtedness of the redevelopment agencies.” Signal Hill City Councilmember Michael Noll joined the voices of the other members of the council who criticized the governor’s plan. Noll said that at a recent meeting of the League of California Cities he and other city representatives from around the state attempted to send a message to legislators that these redevelopment funds were used for the public good. “We worked very hard to. . .use this money to develop the city, clean up blight and increase revenue,” said Noll. “And for every dollar that we get, the state gets $7. And we create jobs with this also. So it’s the worst thing that we could see. And we tried to explain this to them.” Signal Hill City Manager Ken Farfsing’s report on see council page 6 J. Steinhauser describes as the worst he has seen in his more than 30 years in education. The school district already has cut more than $170 million in the last three years. The cuts approved this week are part of preparations for a worst-case scenario at the state level, which could occur if the state legislature and California voters do not approve the extension of certain temporary tax increases in the coming months. Even under a best-case scenario budget, the school district must still cut about $53 see cutbacks page 13 Town hall meeting presents split opinions on plastic bag ban Stephanie Raygoza Editorial Intern CJ Dablo/SignalTribune Signal Hill City Councilmembers Michael Noll (left) and Tina Hansen (right) hold up a sign to promote redevelopment at the council chambers on Feb. 2. Earlier this year, Governor Jerry Brown announced his intention to end redevelopment agencies. City councilmembers criticized the governor's plan at Tuesday's City Council and redevelopment agency meetings. CJ Dablo Staff Writer see Discovery page 7 LBUSD cutbacks could affect more than 620 certificated positions The Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education approved nearly $27 million in cuts this week, including the closure of two schools and the elimination of 429 teaching positions because of a new policy of increased class sizes. In all, the number of certificated positions affected by layoff notices could rise to more than 620 as the school board considers further cuts in the coming weeks. The school board is facing well over $100 million in cuts to be made over the next two years in response to the state’s ongoing fiscal crisis, which LBUSD Superintendent Christopher New site for adolescent treatment to take over former site of Boys Town A new group home to treat adolescent and behavioral problems will soon move into the former site of Boys Town on Wardlow Road and Pacific Place. Boys Town, a nonprofit organization that helps at-risk kids, had suddenly closed the doors to its treatment center more than three years ago. Until it closed, the organization had served troubled kids in Long Beach since 1993. Many of these youth were runaways or had been abused, abandoned or neglected, according to a former report last year by the Signal Tribune. The Center for Discovery has taken February 4, 2011 Hearing a panel of experts heavily weighing in on both sides of the proposed ordinance to ban plastic grocery bags in Long Beach, residents who attended 5th District Councilmember Gerrie Schipske’s town hall meeting at the Long Beach Water Treatment Plant, 2950 Redondo Ave., on Saturday, Jan. 29 were split on the issue, with the majority of those who addressed the audience speaking out against the issue. The open discussion started at 10am with Schipske addressing the topic at hand by saying her email box has been flooded with messages from constituents with their opinions. The purpose of the meeting was to encourage Long Beach residents to discuss the ordinance which was passed on Dec. 7 that would ban single-use plastic bags in large grocery stores. As part of the ordinance, a 10-cent per paper bag fee would be imposed in an attempt see ban page 12 Stephanie Raygoza/Signal Tribune CJ Dablo/Signal Tribune The Center for Discovery, a group home for adolescents, will soon move into the former site of Boys Town, at 350 W. Wardlow Rd. During last Saturday’s discussion at the Long Beach Water Treatment Plant, representatives from the Surfrider Foundation, Heal the Bay, California Grocers Association and the Sierra Club discuss the adverse effects of plastic bags on the environment and the community.