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Signal T Vol. 34 No. 11 R U N E Your Weekly Community Newspaper Photos by Cory Bilicko/Signal Tribune Mike Jensen, a Naples resident and president of the real-estate company Pacific Retail Partners, was the sole survivor of the 2011 plane crash that claimed the lives of Mark Bixby, Tom Dean, Jeff Berger, Bruce Krall and Kenneth Earl Cruz. Jensen was among those at the Mark Bixby memorial unveiling last Friday, and he led attendees in a prayer. Managing Editor B See page 9. SERVING BIXBY KNOLLS, CALIFORNIA HEIGHTS, LOS CERRITOS, WRIGLEY AND THE CITY OF SIGNAL HILL Friends, family and city officials gather to memorialize community leader Cory Bilicko I Light installation from the show Lightspiel by Ben Phipps That it is the form of a wave rather than a bicycle may have come as a surprise to some, but Brett Bixby says the swell is indeed an appropriate figure to honor his late brother, Mark Bixby, an avid bicyclist and biking advocate who perished in a plane crash along with four other men last year. Brett was one of about 100 in attendance at the Aug. 10 unveiling of the sculpture that memorializes his brother. The sculpture, called “The Forming Wave,” is now a fixture outside Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool. Brett said it is actually the best representation of his brother’s life because Mark loved waves and they are expressions of potential and regeneration. He described the sculpture’s wave as one at its peak, brimming with energy, direction and grace, driven by the forces of the sea. On the morning of March 16, 2011, a private twin-engine Beech Craft King Air Turbo-Prop plane crashed on the runway at Long Beach Airport during takeoff. Aboard the plane were: Mark Bixby, a member of one of Long Beach’s founding families and a leading bicycling enthusiast; Tom Dean, a developer who lived in Naples; Jeff Berger, a Manhattan Beach resident who was also a developer; Bruce Krall, a banker and Orange County resident; and Kenneth Earl Cruz, who was the plane’s pilot. Also on see MEMORIAL page 5 Not a typical affordable-housing community, Las Brisas finds success through its enrichment programs and police presence Nick Diamantides Staff Writer Approximately five years after the completion of the Las Brisas affordable-housing community in Signal Hill, programs offered at the site are still succeeding in improving the lives of the people who live there. The project was developed in two phases under the auspices of Los Angeles-based Abode Communities with funding from the now-defunct Signal Hill Redevelopment Agency, as well as financial assistance from other public and private sector entities. According to Robin Hughes, president of Abode Communities, Las Brisas contains approximately 160 rental units, varying in size and number of bedrooms. She was not able to provide the population of the community. Hughes explained the process a person or a family must go through to move into a Las Brisas apartment. “Because of the funding sources that we used to build the property, we do require that households are income-eligible before we place them on our waiting list,” she said. “We are serving individuals and families who are at 30 percent of median income up to about 60 percent of median income. That means that a family of four that’s earning from $20,000 to about $45,000 per Cory Bilicko/Signal Tribune Signal Hill’s Las Brisas affordable-housing community contains approximately 160 rental units, varying in size and number of bedrooms. year would qualify.” Hughes also noted that before an individual or family is placed on the waiting list, Abode Communities checks their credit and previous rental history. “We want to make sure that people get into affordable housing and are able to keep it over time,” she said. Valarie Williams-Siler, Abode Communities director of resident services, noted that the organization also has a department that helps residents overcome obstacles in their lives. “Abode Communities Beyond Homes serves low-income families along with the special-needs population consisting of the formerly homeless, survivors of domestic violence and HIV/AIDS victims,” she said. According to Williams-Siler, Beyond Homes offers the following programs at Las Brisas: on-site case management provides referrals, workshops and other services to help residents find employment, job training, and resources for other issues in their lives; on-site child care is available to residents and the surrounding communities; parents pay a minimal, incomebased fee for the services, which are only available to parents who are what state lawmakers call “non-violent,” “non-serious” and “non-sex” offenses and is sentenced on or after that Oct. 1 cut-off, he or she shall serve the time in the county jail system, instead of the state prison system. He also noted that not all sentences involve incarceration, but when incarceration is imposed in these types of offenses, the offender would go to county. There have been grave predictions by critics of AB 109 that crime rates would increase. So far, 10 months after AB 109 was implemented, it’s difficult to quantify just how much Long Beach and Signal Hill crime is directly affected by realignment. Crime statistics for the City of Long Beach for the first half of 2012 revealed an overall increase in violent and property crimes when compared to the first half of 2011. For the first half of 2012, violent crimes are up 3.1 percent or 42 crimes, according to a July memo to the Long Beach City Council from Police Chief Jim McDonnell. Crimes in this category include murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. The report noted that property crimes are also up by 11.9 percent, or 749 crimes. Property crimes in this category include residential burglary, garage burglary, petty theft and grand theft auto. Signal Hill’s crime statistics are very different than those of Long Beach. The rates of crimes against property have slightly increased in Signal Hill, according to a report that Langston presented to the Council last week. From January to May 2011, about 167 property-related crimes were reported by Signal Hill. For that same five-month time period in 2012, about 192 property-related crimes were reported. Violent crimes are down for 2012, Officials weigh in on realignment’s impact on Long Beach and Signal Hill CJ Dablo Staff Writer The realignment program has been praised by the California governor but disparaged by some key figures in law enforcement. Ten months after it took effect, that program, which aimed to make significant changes to California’s incarceration system, still faces scrutiny in Long Beach and Signal Hill. The realignment program under legislation AB 109 that has been criticized by some law-enforcement officials, and especially by both the Long Beach prosecutor and the Los Angeles district attorney, has been in effect since Oct. 1, 2011. The legislation is complicated, but one of its aims is to reduce the state prison population. Long Beach City Prosecutor Douglas Haubert confirmed in a written statement Wednesday that if a person is convicted of Weekly Weather Forecast August 17-21, 2012 Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday 86° 84° 81° 80° 81° Partly Sunny Lo 65° August 17, 2012 Mostly Sunny Lo 64° Party Cloudy Lo 65° AZTECA M R Mostly Sunny Lo 66° Mostly Sunny Lo 68° This week’s Weekly Weather Forecast sponsored by: EXICAN ESTAURANT 12911 Main Street Historical Downtown Garden Grove (714) 638-3790 see LAS BRISAS page 6 see PRISONER page 15


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