Letters to the Editor

Thinking back, looking forward

As you have probably read in the last few weeks, Long Beach ended 2011 with the lowest murder and violent crime rate in over 40 years. In fact, we had a substantial drop in almost every category of major crime in Long Beach. While there have been increases in property crimes in some neighborhoods, our overall crime statistics are lower than they have been in decades.
I am extremely proud of our Long Beach police and fire departments for their stellar work and commitment to safe neighborhoods for everyone. However, in the coming years we will be facing numerous public safety challenges, especially the release of state prisoners into our communities. Due to lean city budgets, we have not grown our public safety departments. While it looks likely that we will have a fire academy class in 2012, planning and funding for a police academy in 2012 is not yet finalized.
Next Tuesday, at 3:30pm, on Jan. 31, as chair of the City Council Public Safety Committee, I will be chairing a meeting to discuss a 2012 police academy and police staffing levels. There is no question that we need to hire more police and firefighters; we just need to do so in a fiscally responsible way. Fortunately, our pension reform agreements with our police and firefighters will help us achieve this goal.

Robert Garcia
Long Beach Councilmember
1st District

Food for thought

Now that the Supreme Court has overturned a California law requiring federally inspected slaughterhouses to euthanize downed animals– those too sick or injured to walk– in order to keep the meat out of the nation’s food system, many people are wondering what they can do to protect themselves, and animals, from harm. Fortunately, there is an easy solution– stop eating meat.
Cruelty to animals is common in slaughterhouses. PETA investigators have caught slaughterhouse workers beating pigs with metal rods, urinating on chickens and scalding birds alive, and abusing cows until they bellowed in pain. Workers at Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. in California used a forklift to shove downed animals onto the killing floor– the incident that prompted officials to strengthen regulations against slaughtering immobile animals.
“Downed cows” are more likely to have bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, although the saturated fat and cholesterol found in all meat is a much more prevalent health hazard. Meat contributes to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other illnesses. For the animals’ sake and your own, see PETA.org for free meatless recipes and tips on going vegan.

Heather Moore
The PETA Foundation

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