LA County Sheriff: Ballot measure in November is hidden move actually meant to defund police

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LOS ANGELES, CA – A recent 4-to-1 vote by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in favor of a charter amendment for the November ballot aims to divert a minimum of 10% of the county’s unrestricted general funds away from law enforcement and redirect them to social services, jail diversion, housing and so forth.

However, Sheriff Alex Villanueva is calling the move for what it is – another means to defund the police. And that defunding could be anywhere from $360 million to $490 million.

The sole voter who opposed the measure appearing before voters in November was Supervisor Kathryn Barger. Her concerns were that this measure, if passed by the voters, would restrict future boards without need or cause and create caveats in the event of an economic downturn which creates manageability issues.

On the other hand, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl adores the idea. She thinks that expanding access to things like housing, mental health treatment and law enforcement diversion programs are beneficial. Furthermore, Kuehl decried the movement as being something akin to defunding the police.

Sheriff Villanueva voiced his concerns on Twitter with regard to the recent vote, stating the following:

“If you don’t want your streets to look like a scene from Mad Max, use your VOICE to tell the board what you think.”

The current budget that Sheriff Villanueva is working with amounts to about $3.4 billion currently, but he noted that if the voters pass this measure in November then he’d be forced to close patrol stations in Altadena and Marina del Rey.

On top of that, he stated that this could also create cuts in general public safety.

There’s apparently an already looming 8% budget cut for all county departments in L.A. for the upcoming fiscal year, and that alone will result in the Sheriff’s Department potentially having to terminate 457 custody employees in October.

Any arguments either for or against the measure appearing on the ballots in November are reportedly due by August 14th, with rebuttals said to be due by August 24th. If the measure goes through unhindered, then mail-in ballots for the measure could be sent out as early as September 4th.

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As Law Enforcement Today has previously reported, the Seattle City Council is considering moving forward with actually defunding the police by 50% of the annual budget. However, it looks like it would be essentially impossible to slash the remaining 2020 budget in half even if they fired every single police officer.

In order to cut the Seattle Police Department’s remaining 2020 budget by 50%, there would have to be around $85 million taken from the department. Yet even City Council members have crunched the numbers and realized that it’s something just not feasible with regard to the 2020 budget.

Due to current labor agreements, even if all the police officers on the force were handed their termination slips this very week, those police officers would still be on the payroll until at least the first week of November. Thus, the only savings that would occur would be the last two months of the calendar year.

Even if 180 police officers were laid-off this week, that would only calculate to about $3 million dollars saved. That’s quite a far cry from $85 million. With approximately 1,400 sworn officers with the SPD, it’s easy to see how there’s no real way to get that coveted 50% funding reduction for 2020.

With little surprise, councilmember Kshama Sawant is having a bit of a tantrum with this revelation:

“I’m not sure what you all council members thought you were promising when you said you were going to defund the police by 50 percent. This is exactly what people want, they want a smaller police department and yes, that means laying off officers.”

But is this really what the “people” want?

Realistically, no it isn’t.

Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan dove into the rising numbers of people voicing out against defunding the police. A recently circulated petition also hammers home that point by Solan:

“They’re finally hearing the ignored majority’s voice. We have over 130,000 signatures in six days that are saying ‘no more’ to your unreasonable activism, because the council wasn’t listening to their constituents when they started this process.”

Furthermore, recent polls conducted in Washington seem to further back up the notions presented by Solan.

Despite the idea of defunding the Seattle Police Department by 50% of its funding, a recent poll shows that Seattle residents do not trust the City Council’s approach of defunding the SPD by 50%.

In fact, in a recent poll of likely voters in Seattle – only 32% of respondents agreed with the City Council approach.

Turns out that about 43% of those polled prefer Mayor Jenny Durkan and SPD Chief Carmen Best’s approach of a more balanced approach to redirecting less funds over a spanned period of time and 21% respondents didn’t want any defunding of the department at all.

This isn’t the only survey conducted in the state of Washington that revealed that “defunding the police” is not a popular concept with voters.  

A recent polling of 675 Washington residents posed the following question:

“Do you support or oppose proposals to defund police departments?”

In response, 53% of respondents either opposed or strongly opposed the idea. Only 34% were among Washington voters in that poll that supported the “defunding” of police departments.

While residents within the state aren’t opposed to the idea of reallocating some police funding – the 50% business is not exactly popular.

Furthermore, data also shows that Seattle residents actually trust Chief Best more than the City Council when it comes to reshaping the SPD – which it should be noted that Chief Best has not been among the fans of a 50% drop in funding either:

“I think the word plan is rather loose here. [The City Council] haven’t got a plan. All they have shown us that they want to reduce the budget by 50%. I haven’t seen any real planning in that.

And the real tragedy of doing that is that we will lose 1,100 employees. That’s 50% of our total workforce because most of our budget is made up of our personnel costs and it would be a tragedy.”

And of course, you’ve got City Council members like Teresa Mosqueda who are pretending like all the protests in Seattle are peaceful (while attending one) – and there’s a person actively standing behind her telling police to kill themselves with a megaphone and follows up with:

“Save us the trouble of tearing you apart – and fucking kill yourselves.”

Oh, and then Mosqueda even stated that the man’s comments were “justified”.

Such wonderful leadership.

It’s becoming painfully obvious that the City Council isn’t listening to the majority of the voters, and thus the will of the people.

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