On Wednesday Ed Boks announced that L.A.'s Department of Animal Services would resume its distribution of $30 coupons and $70 full-fee vouchers for the department's spay-neuter program. Two days before, members of the City Council's Public Safety Committee had raked the general manager over the coals for unilaterally suspending the program two weeks before. The political wrath Boks attracted was nearly unprecedented in a city government that has become known for its genteel civility. The anti-Boks outcry more resembled the fury a Third World dictator would receive for tearing up a trade agreement with Washington -- even Sheriff Lee Baca's periodic early release of prisoners from county lockups hasn't provoked quite the same outrage.
Ed Boks photo from his blog
Despite Boks' reinstatement of the program, a motion for its resumption has not been removed on today's City Council agenda and will be discussed later this morning as Item 19. Perhaps council members will let off more steam in the G.M.'s direction. The meeting is broadcast on cable TV Channel 35 and online. They can always be accessed by phone: (213) 621-City (Metro), (818) 904-9450 (Valley), (310) 471-City (Westside) And (310) 547-City (San Pedro Area).
Like Sheriff Baca, Boks claimed his surprise action was taken to plug a
huge budget shortfall. The problem is that pet overpopulation is one of
those crises that, if not mitigated early, wind up costing taxpayers
more money down the road. Worse for Boks, the City Council had passed
an ordinance that became law last October compelling all cat and dog
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owners not involved in certifiable breeding operations to spay or
neuter their pets. This only placed one more burdensome levy on Los
Angeles' enormous low-income population, which is where the voucher
program was created.