If Los Angeles was thinking Christmas in July as far as stimulus money is concerned, it's got another think coming. Today Bay Area communities from Vallejo to Hayward are celebrating the windfalls their police departments are receiving — nearly $71 million that will, among other things, add or retain 177 police officers. According to the Oakland Tribune, Oakland, a city with a population of 421,000, tops the list with nearly $20 million that will pay for 41 cops; San Francisco, a city of about 809,000, will receive $16.6 million to fund 50 officers. Meanwhile, Los Angeles, a city whose 2000 census put our population at nearly four million, will get almost the same as San Francisco — $16.3 million to also fund 50 officers.
An L.A. Times piece today reports City Council President Eric Garcetti dismissal of L.A.'s handout from the federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program as “drop in the bucket.” He and others wondered aloud if there's a tilt against big cities — New York received no COPS funds at all. (Los Angeles had requested enough money to sustain 450 officers.) Then again, a committee of the City Council has just voted to funnel a loan worth $30 million in federal funds to Cirque du Soleil so that the company will move into the Kodak Theater. Garcetti, according to City News Service, called that arrangement “an amazing coup.” Which it may proved to be — just saying.
Perhaps seeking a karmic balance here, the Times also reported
that Los Angeles ranks 45 out of 51 American cities in terms of having
citizens who volunteer their time to help their communities or
neighbors. In other words, we're a pretty self-centered, stingy lot. Perhaps the COPS fiasco is a case of what doesn't go around,
doesn't come around.