When it comes to the question of where America's best neighborhoods are, I am admittedly biased towards the Long Beach communities I have known since growing up here. However, Neighborhoods USA recently made an objective assessment. They selected California Heights, right here in the 7th District, for the 2012 Neighborhood of the Year Grand Prize. This is the only national award given on an ongoing basis to neighborhood organizations for their self-help initiatives.
Neighborhoods USA saw what many throughout Long Beach have seen in California Heights--a community dedicated to continuous improvement. Time and time again, neighbors there have not waited for others to improve their community; instead they have created change themselves. When an entry to the neighborhood looked shabby, they created a mural to welcome visitors and residents alike. When public lampposts needed an upgrade, they raised the money to improve them. When they were bothered by litter in the surrounding corridors, they organized a weekly cleanup that immediately resulted in a noticeably cleaner environment. They became the change they sought.
Congratulations to the many hard working board members and volunteers who made this happen. Board Members John Royce, Stacey Morrison, and Tim Price deserve special recognition for traveling to Indianapolis and bringing the honor home to Long Beach, where it belongs.
James Johnson | Long Beach City Council, 7th District