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Los Angeles County, CA March 5, 2013 Election
Smart Voter

"Expanding Public Safety Policies" to address issues of crime prevention, environmental safety, and disability access

By Gloria Willingham

Candidate for Council Member; City of Bellflower; 2 Year Term

This information is provided by the candidate
Public safety dialogues must include more than crime statistics. While it is most important that crime remains at an all time low, we must identify and address other safety issues.
Bellflower has a reputation of being a quiet and relatively safe community. Our statistics show that we have an all-time low crime rate in the city. I must attribute that to the fine work of our law enforcement agencies, neighborhood watch, and other groups working to assure that criminals are apprehended, and that potential criminals are stopped before the crime happens.

However, my recent conversations with many Bellflower residents has revealed that the effects of crime, violence, etc are felt disproportionately in lower income communities. These areas of the city are often labeled as "high crime areas."

This label often leads some to believe that crime is inevitable in these areas. I believe the label points to the need to be more proactive in our efforts to reduce the circumstances leading to crime in those areas. We must know our city better!

Many residents, grassroots organizations, faith-based organizations and concerned others have expressed a willingness to become more involved in working with each other to find ways to make our communities safer no matter where we find them.

We must form partnerships with social service agencies, with the police and fire, with neighborhood watch, gang prevention, school programs, programs for youth and seniors, funding agencies, etc all with the collective aim of keeping our city safe in all aspects. We cannot do it alone,but working together we can make a tremendous difference!

When Measure P was put before the voting public it was said that the Bellflower was in a state of fiscal emergency. It was said that this was occuring at the same time that Bellfower expected to have several persons released back into the community from our prison systems.

The newly acquired funds were projected to be used to assure that the city has the services necessary to deter any further criminal activity by these new parolees.

A small percentage of Bellflower registered voters actually voted, but it was enough to pass Measure P.

So the city now has a revenue stream ($$$) to fund services that will keep residents and businesses safe. However, the police cannot do it alone. They need our help.

We must work in partnership with the prison systems and other organizations, community-based groups, funders of re-entry programs, affected families, social service agencies, businesses, etc to address issues of re-entry. We cannot hide from it! We must come together as a community and find proactive solutions that will help us to thrive more as a community. I will work to organize community leaders in a taskforce to proactively address this issue and find solutions.

I will bring issues of environmental safety for all residents to the attention of my fellow city council members. This will include issues of disabilty access and compliance with the ADA (Americans with Disabilties Act) requirements. I will champion the development of a Commission to address safety issues faced by our growing elderly population, our residents with disabilities, etc.

I will address issues of health as a component of safety. I have already launched a group known as "Nurses for a Thriving Bellflower." We quickly realized that there are many persons in Bellflower without ready access to health information and advocates. These nurses are Bellflower Residents and their colleagues in surrounding cities. They are finding ways to provide forums and other programs that will empower residents with information and knowledge about their own health. They are locating other interested nurses everyday until every nurse residing in Bellflower who wants to make a difference is located.

I will always fight for policies, funding, and activities that support the health and safety of our Bellflower residents -- all Bellflower residents!

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