That’s what Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Tuesday at a hurriedly called press conference that he had miraculously found nearly $1 million to pay for testing of semen stored in the nearly 7,000 rape kits that have piled up because City Hall didn’t have enough money to hire lab technicians.
I don’t want to be overly harsh about the mayor’s audacity in boasting about how he keeps promises but maybe the operative word might be “bank” since we all have learned in recent days that they can’t be trusted and are subject to failure.
But let’s not get lost in the question of breaking promises. The issue is untested rape kits and it was put in perspective just last week by City Hall’s persona non grata, Controller Laura Chick, who in a scathing report riled up the public by exposing just how negligent city officials have been in investigating rape cases.
Given the abhorrent nature of rape and other sex crimes, the report prompted the mayor, Police Chief William Bratton and the trio of ambitious City Council members — Jack Weiss, Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti — to hold a press conference in time for the evening TV news to announce $950,000 was suddenly available for the LAPD’s crime lab.
Noticeably not invited to the event was Chick for reasons that should be obvious: If she’s going to embarrass City Hall for rolling up a deficit of hundreds of millions of dollars and not solve the most basic problems, then she won’t get invited to the self-promotion party.
The mayor, under whose leadership police requests for adequate crime lab funding were turned down, declared the city has a “solemn obligation to seek justice” when crimes are committed and he now has found the political will to fulfill his duty.
“When I put my word to it, you can take it to the bank,” the Daily News quoted him as saying.. “If you are a rapist and you think you got away, forget it.”
Bratton was humbler, saying, “I’m not proud of the fact that when I came here,
we had a backlog of 2,000 cases and despite the reductions in rape,
we now have 7,000 cases. Now we can deal with it.”
And he was skeptical of the support from the mayor and council, expressing “hope the political commitment being made here today continues in the next several years.”
pointed out there was good reason to question whether there was any
substance at all to the posturing, which he described gently as
“The proposal is not a panacea and does not guarantee that the LAPD will
have the funds it needs to process the entire backlog of roughly 7,000
cases, authorities acknowledged,” the Times said.
“Even if approved, the plan would still
fall about $900,000 short of what is needed to keep pace with new
crimes and meet the LAPD’s goal of clearing about 2,500 of the older
cases this year. Also, at least $4.2 million in additional funds would
be needed in coming years to fill 20 more analyst positions and
continue the contracts with outside labs. LAPD and city officials
expressed hope that the shortfall could be made up from private
donations and increased federal funding.”
donations for the police crime lab? Isn’t that a basic service we pay
taxes for or maybe they mean they want the victims of rape to pay for
the tests under the city’s full cost recovery policy for public
And the federal government certainly is going to
increase funding for local police what with wars all over the place and
a $1 trillion cost of saving the country from another economic
Or maybe the state could pay the city’s bills if
it weren’t about to rob school kids of their educations in order to
cover its own profligate spending.
So I guess we’re going to
have to trust that somehow City Hall will find the money when it starts
slashing city services in the spring to cover the $400 million shortfall in
next year’s budget.
Hey, you can take the mayor’s word for it, you can take it to the bank.