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“El Dorado Park” Oil on canvas by Wendy Hultquist See page 11

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SERVING BIXBY KNOLLS, CALIFORNIA HEIGHTS, LOS CERRITOS, WRIGLEY AND THE CITY OF SIGNAL HILL

Vol. 35 No. 23

Your Weekly Community Newspaper

November 8, 2013

With new focus on sex trafficking, LB City Council to consider proposal for a sex-crimes unit

Courtesy County Supervisor Don Knabe’s office

New laws have offered the chance for police departments to see some of their prostitution cases in a new light—as possible human trafficking violations which carry stricter penalties for the pimps responsible for forcing victims into the sex trade. CJ Dablo

Courtesy NAG

Staff Writer

From left: Walter Perez, owner of Jireh Express; Jane Kelleher, owner of Sav-On-Signs; Annie Greenfeld, cochair of the South Wrigley Neighborhood Advisory Group (NAG); and Karen Tran, owner of Pho America, stand behind the newly installed Wrigley Village monument signs during an unveiling ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 2.

If you ask police officials about the prostitution problem in Long Beach, you won’t hear them spin stories of happy hookers, sexually liberal females who have freely chosen on their own to offer sex for money. These days, the official reports describe women trapped in prostitution. Many of them come from abusive homes, vulnerable to pimps who have exploited them and even terrorized them to keep them holed up in motel rooms. At a September meeting of the City’s Public Safety Committee, Deputy Chief David Hendricks of the Long Beach Police Department described just how dire the circumstances are for many of the victims of prostitution, and he painted a grim picture of the power that pimps can wield. Some have lured juvenile girls away from their homes and families. The deputy chief described other times when pimps have isolated women from their country of origin or have threatened the women.

Wrigley Village business district gets creative in establishing itself with new monument signs Sean Belk Staff Writer

Business owners and local residents gathered at the Wrigley Village business district Saturday, Nov. 2 for a ceremony to unveil new monument signs and volunteer time to clean up the area in hopes of establishing the corridor as a prominent shopping destination. The State’s decision to abolish redevelopment in order to fix California’s budget shortfalls nearly two years ago was a major blow to blight-fighting efforts, but community leaders of the business district on Pacific Avenue in Long Beach were able to come up with a creative way to keep the improvements going. The signs, located at each end of the historic district on Pacific Avenue at Willow Street and Pacific Coast Highway, cost $12,750 apiece and were funded through a combination of community volunteers, federal grants and donations from businesses and residents. The Wrigley Association and the South Wrigley Neighborhood Advisory Group (NAG) each received a $5,000 grant through the City of Long Beach Neighborhood Partner Program, which provides federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. “We’re hoping Wrigley Village will catch on,” said Annie Greenfeld, co-chair of NAG, in a phone interview. “We just need to keep working on it.” To participate in the federal program, communities are required to use the grant for permanent beautification of an area located on the CDBG map, which opportunely included Pacific Avenue's business district. Each grant was matched by donations from Long Beach companies, individuals and groups in

the form of goods, services and funding. Local eateries Buono's Pizza, Tacos El Toro and Pho America all donated food for the volunteers during a community cleanup. Sav-On-Signs, located at Termino Avenue and East Anaheim Street, donated volunteer hours to complete the signs and install them. Graffiti Protective Coatings donated cash as well as protective coatings (an anti-graffiti measure). The Wrigley Association also raised money for the project to pay for city permit fees that the grants didn’t cover. In total, more than 120 volunteer hours were pledged to clean up the business district, according to community members. Colleen McDonald, parliamentarian of the Wrigley Association, said both groups successfully submitted the grant applications and worked together on the beautification effort. “The signs are beautiful in many ways,” she said. “They are a testimony to the collaborative efforts of neighborhood volunteers working on an ambitious effort to help a struggling business district to brand itself.” The community had planned to build and install the signs through the use of redevelopment funding, but once the State took that option away, hopes for the new signs were all but dashed. However, once an opportunity for federal grants came up, the community jumped at the chance with support from surrounding businesses and neighborhood activists, Greenfeld said. “We’re not giving up just because redevelopment has gone away,” she said. “We’re going to move forward with whatever we can. We’re continuously going to try to improve the streets, whether it takes cleanup or some kind of events.”

Consultant says Signal Hill initiative would financially cripple city if passed, but proponents deny claims

see SEX CRIMES page 17

Sean Belk Staff Writer

If passed by Signal Hill voters next year, a controversial initiative known as “Taxpayers’ Right to Know and Vote” would have immediate and long-term financially crippling affects on the City, according to a report from an independent consultant. Proponents of the initiative, however, refute the consultant’s claims, stating that the specialist misinterpreted the initiative’s language, made inaccurate statements and left out pertinent information. During the Signal Hill City Council’s Tuesday, Nov. 5 meeting, municipal consulting firm Urban Futures, Inc. presented the lengthy report on the fiscal impact the initiative would have on the City. A watchdog group known as Signal Hill Community First, which drafted the initiative as a way to increase transparency and create a way for voters to become more involved in the City’s budget process, was able to gather enough signatures through a six-month signature drive to get the initiative on the ballot for

Weekly Weather Forecast see WRIGLEY page 19

Friday

76° Mostly sunny Lo 53°

Saturday

71° Partly sunny Lo 52°

Sunday

Monday

76° Partly sunny Lo 53°

November 8 through November 12, 2013

76° Partly sunny Lo 53°

Tuesday

72°

a June 5, 2014 special election. The initiative, if passed, would amend the City Charter to require that all city taxes, assessments and fees be approved by a twothirds majority vote in a special election. The measure would also require that all city taxes and fees sunset every 10 years. Urban Futures, Inc. President Michael Busch, who assisted the City of San Bernardino through its bankruptcy and is the former chief financial officer for the City of Claremont, however, described a doomsdaytype scenario if the initiative were to pass, stating that it has the potential to impact about 13 percent of the City’s General Fund budget or $2.1 million in city revenues. He said requirements of the proposed initiative would have the most impact on the police department, public works department and community services department. The main cause for concern is that the initiative’s sunset clause, as the consultant sees it, would immediately force Signal Hill to restructure its entire budget process and make two economic forecasts– one for elecsee COUNCIL page 15

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This week’s Weekly Weather Forecast sponsored by: 1901 Obispo Ave. Signal Hill 562-494-0087 Open Monday–Saturday www.American-Gymnastics.com

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