I was deeply disturbed by the article on high-density development in the April 28 Long Beach Section of The Times. The author, Bettina Boxall, shows about as much insight into the problem as Planning Commissioner Tortorice. The commissioner and the article paint the Zaferia Neighborhood Assn. as a group of white, middle-class racists from the east side of Long Beach. This assertion is far from the truth.
The Zaferia Neighborhood Assn. comprises an area both east and west of Redondo Avenue. Census tract figures show that we are the third most dense area in Long Beach. The population is culturally diverse: 33% Hispanic, 28% Caucasian, 21% Asian, 16% black, 1% Native American, and 1% other groups. The median household income for our ZIP Code is in the 16th percentile, far below the state median income level. We ask not that the growth be kept out of our back yards, but that the Planning Commission start planning for growth, instead of just picking which under-serviced area it should go in.
There are not sufficient services in our area, or in the even poorer parts of town, to justify additional growth. Saturday evening, a high-speed chase ended in front of my house. The suspect was taken away in handcuffs. Two weeks ago, there was a riot on Molino Avenue that my neighbors could not get the Long Beach Police Department to respond to. That same weekend, there was a gang killing, with an Uzi, in front of the house of one of our members.