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Increase Of LAPD Budget Leads To Elimination Of Up To 2,000 Positions 

In response to Los Angeles' deteriorating financial situation, city officials, including Mayor Karen Bass and the City Council, are considering eliminating up to 2,000 vacant positions, equating to approximately 5% of the city's workforce, as part of efforts to balance the budget. This move, detailed in a report by City Administrative Officer Matt Szabo, accompanies proposals for increased city fees, delays in public works projects, and reductions in consulting services. The unfilled roles under consideration span multiple departments, including the police and fire departments, Bureau of Sanitation, and agencies overseeing parks, recreation, and transportation.

Last year, a $13 billion LAPD budget was approved for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. 

The city also faces the prospect of tapping into reserve funds to bridge short-term financial shortfalls, which could leave it vulnerable to crises. Amidst these budgetary challenges, discussions continue over the allocation of $250 million for Mayor Bass's Inside Safe program and the potential expansion of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) despite its recent shrinkage. Council members express concerns over the implications of such cuts, highlighting the need for reassessment in areas of perceived overinvestment, such as police overtime and staffing, suggesting that reductions in police spending could expedite municipal services like sidewalk repair and tree trimming.

Hernandez stated that reducing police budgets could allow city officials to decrease the time needed for sidewalk repairs, tree trimming, and fixing malfunctioning lights.

"When my community's thinking about public safety, it's like — are the lights working so we can walk on the sidewalk? Is the sidewalk not broken so our elders aren't tripping and falling? Is there no light because the trees haven't been trimmed in 17 years?" she said.

The financial strain is exacerbated by a $288 million overspend in the current budget year, with significant contributions from police and fire department expenses, including police salary raises and bonuses. Furthermore, the city is grappling with lower-than-anticipated revenues across various sectors, risking a $475 million budget deficit by the fiscal year's end. These developments occur as Los Angeles prepares for the upcoming Olympics, raising questions about the city's ability to maintain frontline services amid these cuts, which notably exclude departments operating independently from the general city budget.

By reallocating funds towards programs that support housing, mental health services, education, and employment opportunities, we can foster genuine safety and well-being for all Angelenos. This pivotal moment calls for a transformative shift towards prioritizing community empowerment and resilience over reliance on punitive measures, ultimately steering us towards a more just and equitable future.

We'll continue to follow this story as more comes out. 

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Link: LA Times


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