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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will cast a final vote Tuesday on a November ballot amendment that would require at least 10% of the county's unrestricted general funding – a number that the CEO has put in at $ 360 to $ 490 million – be spent on housing, prison diversion, mental health and other social services, and alternatives to detention.
The vote is expected to be 4: 1, with supervisor Kathryn Barger disagreeing based on the results of two previous votes on the matter.
The organizers on both sides of the issue urged their voters to dial into the board conference call to hear their voices.
The Youth Justice Coalition, a nonprofit organization that describes itself as "working to build a youth, family and prisoner-led movement to combat racial, gender and class inequality in Los Angeles County's and California youth justice systems" has turned to their members and asked them to email written comments to the board and access the call early to get in line with residents who are allowed to speak during the public comment hour.
"This election measure is historic," says YJC's email.
In the meantime, the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs distributed an email saying, "All law enforcement supporters, we need your help! Please call and / or write to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and let them know that you are against the amendment to the statute, as this will eliminate jobs in the county. "
The regulatory agency Sheila Kuehl, who has spoken out in favor of the measure, said it was about expanding access to housing, psychiatric treatment and distraction programs for law enforcement agencies, and has opposed the idea that it is a law enforcement defusion.
“We want a roadmap for our vision of the“ Care First, Jail Last ”system. These are not just words to us. The fear is that in a decade it will only be words to a brand new board, ”said Kuehl last week.
"I think it is appropriate to say to people in Los Angeles County," Do you want this to be a longer term investment? "
Kuehl and her co-author, supervisor Hilda Solis, not only encountered strong opposition from Barger, but also from Sachi Hamai, the chief executive officer, who warned that the 10% requirement hinders future board members from flexibility during the economic downturn restrict and negatively affect the strength of the county could be credit assessment.
The proposed amendment sets a 10% threshold for direct investment "to combat the disproportionate effects of racial injustice", which is to be phased in by June 30, 2024. The regulation would allow the board to reduce the rate by four fifths of votes -aside "in the event of a tax emergency that threatens the district's ability to fund mandated programs."
If adopted by voters, the amendment would provide funding for a number of broad categories, including youth development programs, vocational training for low-income communities, access to capital for minority-owned companies, rent support, and affordable housing-based health services and prison redirection programs.
It would prohibit such funds from being used or redistributed by law enforcement or law enforcement agencies, including the prosecutor, but it would not prohibit them from being used to cover legal costs.
The ordinance only mentions a percentage of “the district's unrestricted local revenue in the general fund”, not an absolute number. However, Hamai has said that the amount at stake would be between $ 360 and $ 490 million of that year's $ 34.9 billion budget, which is less than 2% of all spending in the county.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva, whose departmental budget is approximately $ 3.4 billion, told the board last week that the measure would force him to close patrol stations in Altadena and Marina del Rey and further reduce public security.
Villanueva has made similar threats in recent household debates, but later assured voters that he would not fire patrol members.
The district departments must be cut by 8% for the coming financial year. As a result, the sheriff department has the option to fire 457 custody workers in October if no additional funds can be found. No patrol deputies are released.
Solis argued that the statute amendment would create more well-paid union jobs.
"To say that we just want to cut jobs is just wrong," said Solis. "What's wrong with introducing this to voters and letting them decide? This is about funding LA County's vision of redefining Los Angeles County where care comes first and prisons last Stand. "
Villanueva said he was forced to fire colored MPs.
"Incidentally, the jobs that will be lost will be African-American and Latino employees. The last ones hired will be the first to be laid off," said Villanueva. "I think they can get a construction job … according to your logic."
ALADS lawyers sent a letter to the board stating that the county was violating an employee relations ordinance that required 90 days' notice to unions of any change to the charter, as well as state law requiring the county to comply must "meet and advise" the unions.
The legal challenge was confirmed by Service Employees Union International Local 721 and 14 other unions that formed a coalition of district unions, including ALADS. The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO said it would set a dangerous precedent and urged the board to withdraw the election measure.
The district's chief lawyer, Mary Wickham, was only willing to say on the file that it was an open question whether the change would stand up to legal challenge.
Villanueva and Barger both argued that the board has already spent tens of millions of dollars on community resources and alternatives to detention, and tick a list of related expenses that Barger said were well above the 10% threshold.
Villanueva said the title of the measure is misleading.
"The title really doesn't say that you will fund law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and L.A. County's public security," Villanueva told the board.
While some proponents of the amendment welcomed this characterization, Kuehl denied that this was the goal.
“Using the word defunding about law enforcement if they continue to receive huge sums of money, even if that happens, is kind of a joke. Nobody "defuses" the sheriff's department. I would call it the "right size," said Kuehl, noting that the prison population has shrunk by almost 30%.
Although the board's vote is almost a matter of course, it is unclear how the voters will react.
The United Way of Greater Los Angeles, one of the supporters of Re-Imagine L.A. County, has conducted a poll among county voters and found support for the change. This poll, referenced by various board members, Villanueva and even residents, is expected to be released later this week, but not before Tuesday's meeting.
When Villanueva spoke to the board last week, he cited a national poll that found that most Americans do not prefer to avert dollars from law enforcement, and has repeatedly argued that the board is overly supported by a small group of supporters of the Judicial reform is influenced.
"I would suggest that Los Angeles County does not have the priorities that you have," Villanueva told the board, citing a Pew Research Center poll that found 73 percent of Americans believed that police spending should or should remain at the current level has increased.
Kuehl said voters were ready for change when she pushed back against arguments, including the Los Angeles Times editorial team, that the process of making public contributions was accelerated and without adequate studies.
"It's just a rush for people who weren't paying attention," said Kuehl. "This is a moment when people say to us," Why does every solution wear a uniform and a weapon? We want something different. "
Tuesday is the deadline for approval of the measure for the November election. Arguments for and against the measure must be submitted by August 14 for it to appear on the ballot. The rebuttals are due on August 24th and the first ballots will be sent out on September 4th.
Final vote on the change to the LA Charter on Tuesday's spending set was last changed: August 3, 2020 by
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