Massive budget cuts for the LA County Sheriff's Dept.
The LA County Board of Supervisors will withdraw massive amounts of money from local law enforcement agencies and redistribute them. This request from superiors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis is not warmly received by the LA County sheriff.
LOS ANGELES – – The LA County Board of Supervisors proposes an election initiative to redistribute law enforcement funds to underserved and minority communities. A proposal the sheriff says could cut approximately $ 170 million from his budget and lead to mass layoffs and closings within the sheriff's department.
"With this application, they are essentially laying the foundation for defusing the sheriff department as we know it," Sheriff Alex Villanueva told FOX 11.
Photo Credit: Sheriff's Office in Los Angeles District
The motion, written by LA district regulators Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis, is called "Reimagining L.A. County: Shifting Budget Priorities to Revitalize Low-Resource, Low-Income Communities". The first vote will take place at the board meeting on Tuesday.
CONNECTED: L.A. County funds $ 63 million deficit for sheriff's department.
According to the application, approximately $ 8.8 billion of the county's $ 35 billion budget comes from local unrestricted earnings known as the "Net County Cost" (NCC).
The current budget is 42% of this money for law enforcement and the legal system, which is approximately $ 3.7 billion.
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The application states: “This allocation of funds does not reflect the values and priorities of this body, nor does it position the district in a position to invest robustly and appropriately in community-based counseling and psychosocial services, youth development programs, small businesses and jobs, or affordable housing .
A redistribution of resources is required.
The petition further states that the county will prepare a regulation to call for a special election on November 3 to amend the Los Angeles County charter to set a minimum basic threshold of at least 10% of locally generated revenue in the general fund allocation for “Direct community investment,” including funding for low-income and underserved communities, starting in July 2021 and to be fully implemented by 2024.
The request states that none of these earmarked funds may be used by any type of law enforcement. "They will fund all of their ideas and favorite projects from the sheriff's budget. We'll cover the lion's share of the county's net cost, and that's exactly what they want," said Sheriff Villanueva.
The sheriff advised FOX 11 that operating LASD costs $ 3.9 billion, and the Board of Supervisors has already cut $ 600 million from its budget. He says that if the county pushes for a 10% redistribution of NCC funds from law enforcement agencies, it would save $ 173 million from LASD and is likely to be a much higher number.
"Since we have about half of the county’s net cost for the sheriff’s department, that number will be far larger," he said.
He says a cut of this size after cuts the department has already suffered would have devastating effects, including the dismissal of more than 1,000 MPs, including hundreds of detectives.
"We are talking about half of our prisons being closed, which means that between 5,000 and 7,000 inmates who are currently incarcerated are being taken to the streets and once they are homeless, they have taken to the streets," said Villanueva that several patrol stations would likely have to be closed, including East Los Angles, Century, Marina Del Rey and Altadena, and patrols in unincorporated areas of the county would be drastically reduced.
"The people who will suffer the most are the same African American and Latino communities, the poorest communities most affected by crime," said Villanueva.
CONNECTED: Sheriff Villanueva says proposed budget cuts pose a threat to public security
"The people who make the decisions live in these housing estates in the west of the city and they will never see the effects of this decision."
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl's office pushes against the sheriff's claims of impacting public security and broadcasts FOX 11 the following statement:
“In recent years, this board has taken significant measures to increase access to housing, psychiatric care, and law enforcement diversion programs. However, there is only so far that we cannot make budget adjustments that correspond to the values and requirements of the Board of Directors. If the voters agree and the regulation would help us make these adjustments. Any forecast by the sheriff or other district department at that time would mean that more or less earnings would be very premature. Budget cuts would not come from a single department, but would be graded over several years, recommended by the CEO and approved by the Board each year, and the minimum threshold of 10% would only apply to the general fund, which is approximately ¼ of the county’s total budget. "
However, a document leaked to FOX 11 from a county source appears to contain a draft overview of the Reimagining LA District proposal that states, "Reduces and directs the sheriff's budget Programs and services in under-served communities. "
Kuehl's office informed FOX 11 that the document was not from their office and that the language was not included in their application. "We will bear the brunt of this request, they have already shown their hand, they have hostility to the sheriff's department, shame on them because the community is dependent on us for public security," said Villanueva.
The district's survey results were also shared with FOX 11. As a result, a survey of 1,200 likely voters in LA County between June 25 and July 2 found that 67% of respondents would support tax revenue for services that "revive" under-served and low-income communities.
"I have a message to the Board of Supervisors. You really need to look closely and look deep inside and wonder what are you doing?" Villanueva said.