L.A. City Council voted to override Mayor Eric Garcetti’s veto of a spending plan that would reallocate $88 million of LAPD budget.
When Garcetti vetoed the original plan, he told the council the plan should include funding for programs geared toward racial justice, community engagement, protected jobs of “vulnerable city employees” and incorporated unarmed crisis responses.
“I wholeheartedly support the equity formula applied to the proposed spending plan for reinvesting public safety dollars,” Garcetti said to the council on December 21, 2020. “Beneath that formula, however, far too many of the proposed expenditures do not meet the demands of the moment or the call of history. Particularly at a time of extraordinary peril for our budget, we face the prospect of compounding the pain with City workforce layoffs that would likely have a disproportionate effect on Black and Brown employees — many of whom came into the City family through Targeted Local Hire.”
After making changes to the plan, the council passed the motion to override Garcetti’s veto with an 11-4 vote.
The new plan says it will reallocate the money toward programs involving communities of color, “reimagining” public safety services and support for the city’s Delivery and Targeted Local Hire Program.
“If we’re going to address the systemic racism that lies in our society and if we’re going to address the fact that the children of color are placed yards behind the starting line, it starts with reinvesting in communities that they come from,” Council President Nury Martinez said during the city council meeting, Tuesday.
After showing approval for the new motion, Garcetti sent a letter to the council, highlighting current partnerships that he would like to promote in accordance with the council’s plan.
“We have a partnership with the L.A. County Department of Mental Health — to create a 24-hour, unarmed crisis response pilot, which will dispatch mental health workers to certain nonviolent 911 calls — that is ready to be implemented now,” Garcetti said. “There is extraordinary potential to expand guaranteed basic income models while strengthening and growing citywide jobs programs for young people of color who may be struggling to get on their feet as we rebuild from the pandemic.”
The four votes opposing the motion came from Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield, Monica Rodriguez, Mike Bonin and Joe Buscaino.
Blumenfield argued the spending was “not financially responsible,” and said the city is borrowing money at the expense of cutting city services.
“We shouldn’t spend money that we don’t have,” Blumenfield said. “There’s not this chunk of money that’s sitting in an account somewhere. We’re literally borrowing money right now for basic operations.”
Bonin, who was in favor of reallocating LAPD funds in 2020, saying it was the “right thing to do,” expressed concern over the motion not doing “enough to create systemic change.”
“Basically it says to people of color in more than half of the city…that this effort in the city doesn’t apply to them,” Bonin said. “It says that Black lives matter in some parts of the city, but not in all parts. Black lives must matter everywhere, not just in certain council districts.”
Despite the opposition, the motion received the necessary 10 votes to pass, and after its passing, Coucilmembers Martinez, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Curren Price, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Mitch O’Farrell, and Kevin de León said in a joint statement:
“Too often there is resistance when it comes to providing funds, services and assistance to low income communities. From the start, our plan laid out clear intentions to meet the needs of our communities. We will continue the work we started this past summer and while this $88 million will not undo decades of neglect, the commitment we are making today is only the beginning.”