UPDATE: Tweets from the mayor:
12:27pm: Just stood with Councilman Zine to oppose cuts in our police force. There are fiscally responsible ways to maintain current force levels.
12:29pm: Today’s record lows in crime would have been unthinkable15 years ago. Violent crime is down 20 %. Homicides are at a 40-year low.
12:32pm: The reason for such good stats? Crime is at a record low in Los Angeles becauseour police force is at a record high: http://bit.ly/47auNW
1:14pm: To see what cutting police would really mean for you, take a look at how police hiring has affected your part of the city: http://bit.ly/3YOzul.
As he packs up and prepares to leave town a hero — his name to be emblazoned on the new Police Headquarters building — Chief Bill Bratton only needed 12 seconds to drive the stake of truth into the heart of what’s wrong with City Hall (bratton1.mp3).
Bratton was being polite in this interview last week with KPCC’s Frank Stoltze by saying LA is a city that “almost” doesn’t work. Or perhaps he qualified his statement only because the LAPD which he has led for the last seven years is City Hall’s only success story. Crime is down sharply, officer morale is up and the department’s reputation restored.
Not bad at a time when the city teeters on the brink of bankruptcy, when water mains are bursting, services being cut and the public growing increasingly restless with a government that is as corrupt as it is incompetent.
Bratton was brought to town by the lethargic Jimmy Hahn but it’s the current mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, who has draped himself in the chief’s laurels.
Saturday’s engagement with some 400 activists at the Congress of Neighborhood Empowerment was no exception.
Villaraigosa did his slide presentation showing how crime is down all over the city and insisted he won’t back down on hiring cops just because he’s got a $400 million hole in his budget and it’s getting worse by a million dollars a day.
What the mayor didn’t say — what he hasn’t said in all these months of a worsening financial crisis — is how to pay for the cops, or for that matter, how to pay any of the city’s bills.
Under the circumstances, you can hardly blame him for dashing out of the City Council Chamber without taking any questions.
The task of figuring out how to pay for the cops and still reduce spending is left to the Council, paralyzed by panic as it is. It’s hard to see them screwing up the courage Tuesday to halt police hiring since it would make them responsible if crime goes up in the months ahead — and taking responsibility is not the strong card of anyone at City Hall.
The mayor is escalating the stakes at 11 a.m. this morning by bringing ex-motorcycle cop Dennis Zine into his fold at a news conference in Canoga Park at the Topanga Community Police Station. He’s bringing along other top brass, including Jim McDonnell, Earl Paysinger, Sharon Papa, Charlie Beck, Michael Moore and members of Topanga Community Police Advisory Board Other Community and several local civic leaders.
The email blast from one of those leaders, Neighborhood Empowerment Commissioner Al Abrams, is headlined LET ME KNOW IF YOU CAN JOIN WITH ME AND MAYOR VILLARAIGOSA AND COUNCILMAN ZINE TO VOICE SUPPORT TO MAINTAIN CURRENT NUMBER OF LOS ANGELES POLICE OFFICERS.
Dear Fellow NC Board Member,
The Mayor has asked me to invite you to join us tomorrow morning at a press
conference in Canoga Park to show support to maintain the current number of
LAPD officers. See the details below.
Please let me know by e-mail if you can make it. The Mayor would like a
list of names of community leaders who will be attending and be a part of
the press conference.
The use of commissioners appointed by the mayor to promote his political agenda touches on another point Bratton made last week: “Unfortunately, I think it’s an unnecessary layer of government …(an) extra layer of government and oversight.”
It’s not supposed to be that way. The commission system was supposed to provide independent oversight but the process has been so corrupted over time that the appointees are little more the ciphers for the politicians and pn those rare occasions when they do show independence like Jane Usher and Nick Patsaouras, they get the boot.