The subterfuge was so effective, in fact, that Westside community activist and LAPD gadfly Monica Harmon, who follows the police department so closely that the brass would probably love to see her find a different hobby, says that even she, a devotee, “never heard them say [the trash tax] would be used for other resources.”
Former Los Angeles Daily News editor and blogger Ron Kaye, who covered the angry debates over the proposed fee hike, says, “It was an open and overt agreement between the public and the City Council and the mayor — that it would go toward more cops.”
Such behavior by City Council members and Villaraigosa no longer surprises Handal. “They violate the public trust on a regular basis,” he says. Given their current overspending, at a rate of about $1 million a day, “they’re not good stewards of our money. And we have a lack of oversight in the city, and that starts at the top. That starts with the mayor.”
Parks and Koretz — who voted in favor of an October 5 recommendation to cut LAPD spending — deny that they plan to divert all of the hundreds of millions of dollars in trash-tax revenue from LAPD and into the deficit hole.
Newcomer Koretz slams Bratton as a man who likes to “overstate, when he wants to prevail” — an accusation often leveled at Koretz himself, as he pushed for significant extra spending and taxes in Sacramento.
No matter who is telling the taller tale about how City Hall will balance its budget, it’s turned into a nasty final few weeks for a chief who is wildly popular with the Los Angeles public. Popular or not, effective or not, Bratton is a lame duck, and the long knives are out in City Hall.
“He’s burned a lot of bridges with my colleagues,” says Zine, who claims that Bratton’s controversial political endorsements — for instance, he backed the victor, Mark Ridley-Thomas, over Bernard Parks for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors race — particularly irked some council members.
The unraveling relationship probably means Bratton fans can forget about seeing “Bratton Police Headquarters” on the slick new downtown police center. Zine says simply, “I don’t think there would be support for that.”
True to form, Bratton has already positioned himself to get in the last word, saying at his impromptu press conference: “I’ll be watching with great interest 3,000 miles away as the crime rate goes up and I’ll sit over there and say, ‘I told you so.’ ”
Correction: Community activist Monica Harmon's first name was incorrect in the initial version of this story.