In a 4-1 vote, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion to add the “Reimagining L.A. County” initiative to the November 2020 ballot.

The motion was originally introduced on July 21 by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis, and would reallocate $880 million of law enforcement funds to go toward community resources for social services, mental health, housing and jail diversion. The board’s chair Kathryn Barger was the one Supervisor who opposed the measure’s final voting on Tuesday.

“The supervisors have said we want to move people from custody to care,” Kuehl said during the Tuesday supervisor meeting. “Our constituents are pleading with us to expand housing and treatment options and stop relying on punitive, outdated law enforcement tactics.”

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva expressed his concerns with not only the title of the measure, but also countered it by saying that taxpayer money has already been heavily allocated to the resources listed in the measure and questioned why funds from law enforcement need to be moved to already funded issues such as education, homelessness and community programs.

“I think the taxpayer’s going to ask, ‘Why am I spending billions and billions of dollars in all of these programs that are in your ballot measure, only to take away from law enforcement?’” Villanueva said. “We fully agree that those that suffer from drug issues, substance abuse issues and mental health issues, they need to be taken care of… however, robbing Peter to pay Paul is not going to be the solution.”

Villanueva added that the measure could ultimately lead to laying off about 457 custody employees in the Sheriff’s department.

The Justice L.A. organization, which has teamed with the Black Lives Matter L.A. organization in rallies to “defund the police,” praised the passing of the measure, tweeting out after the board’s vote, “We’ve MADE HISTORY! Nowhere in the country has this been done!”

The measure will be placed on L.A. County ballots and voted on for the elections that will take place Tuesday, November 3.

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