By Michele Hanisee
The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 in support of a charter amendment for the November ballot that would defund public safety and require a minimum of 10% of the County’s unrestricted general funds — ROUGHLY $880 MILLION — to be spent on direct community investment and alternatives to incarceration. The proponents on the Board are pushing this ballot initiative despite the fact they have the present ability to allocate any amount they want to these same programs on their own authority.
Lawyers for the union representing deputies sent a letter to the Board stating that the County is in violation of an employee relations ordinance requiring 90 days notice to labor unions of any amendment to the charter as well as state law requiring the County to “meet and confer” with the unions. Union lawyers also argued that the amendment unlawfully delegates budget authority to voters in violation of the California Constitution which states that elected officials “may not delegate to a private person or body power to make, control, appropriate, supervise, or interfere with county or municipal corporation improvements, money, or property, or to levy taxes or assessments, or perform municipal functions.”
Supervisor Kathryn Barger, supported by the League of California Cities, Contract Cities Association, Association of Deputy District Attorneys, Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs and SEIU, expressed significant concerns regarding the proposed charter amendment.
The Los Angeles Times called the proposal “an irresponsible last-minute ballot measure” and added “ballot-box budgeting of the sort the supervisors propose is a bad idea and poor substitute for careful study, deliberation and decision making.”
The County Chief Executive Office estimated that, if this proposed ballot initiative passes in November, the County could face a loss of approximately 700-1,000 positions across all County services during starting next year.
Several groups are prepared to launch legal action on the grounds of procedural and legal issues with the charter amendment. To read our letter and letters from various organizations opposed to the proposal that will jeopardize public safety, please click the hyperlinks below.
The Board of Supervisors have one more reading of the motion next Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, for a final vote. Please contact the Supervisors who are in favor of the referendum and let them know you oppose it!
Hilda L. Solis
Supervisor, First District
Supervisor, Second District
Supervisor, Third District
Supervisor, Fourth District
Supervisor Kathryn Barger opposed the motion.
About the author: Michele Hanisee is President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, the collective bargaining agent representing nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.