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Ferraro Police Plan ‘Fantasy,’ Bradley Says

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Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, making a strong pitch for a controversial plan to raise property taxes to hire 1,000 new police officers, acknowledged Friday that convincing voters to approve such a ballot measure will be an uphill battle.

“Getting two-thirds of the people to vote yes is a most difficult thing because you’ve got 25% to 30% (of the electorate) who will vote no on motherhood,” Bradley told an audience of about 100 attending a luncheon of a police-booster group based in the 77th Street Division of South-Central Los Angeles.

Bradley also used the occasion to step up his attack on his chief rival’s plan for beefing up the police force, branding City Councilman John Ferraro’s proposal to add 1,300 new officers over the next few years “fantasy and folly.” The mayor said Ferraro’s plan is based on “distorted and inaccurate” figures.

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The mayor on Monday unveiled his proposal to ask voters June 6 to increase their taxes for the additional officers, but at that time expressed confidence that voters would back the idea at the ballot box. Friday’s remarks pointed up for the first time that the mayor does not think passage of a tax increase--even to pay for more police officers--will be easy for voters to swallow.

“I am convinced that if we are unable to do it (raise the taxes) now, we will never be able to do it,” Bradley said in urging approval of the plan. (The City Council is expected to approve placing the taxing measure before voters by the Feb. 13 deadline.)

Ferraro said he opposes Bradley’s taxing plan and Thursday offered a counterproposal to beef up the police force by 1,300 officers without raising taxes. The plan calls for trimming current city programs and hiring 250 more officers a year over the next five years.

Bradley vigorously attacked Ferraro’s plan during a question-and-answer period after Friday’s luncheon speech.

To heavy laughter, Bradley held up a local newspaper’s editorial ridiculing Ferraro’s plan and said his opponent’s idea “is a suggestion, in my judgment, without merit . . . certainly one that cannot and will not work.”

The mayor said Ferraro would need a “miracle” to get the money to finance the first 250 officers from this year’s budget. Bradley also charged that Ferraro has not outlined where the city would get the money to pay for the additional years’ officers.

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Ferraro, responding to Bradley’s attack, said that the money can be found for the first year’s increase--an estimated $8.9 million--through the trimming of $7 million in current expenditures and another $2 million from the city’s reserve fund.

“As far as other years,” Ferraro said, “I just want to say I will be in control of the budget (as mayor) and do what I have to do to come up with the money to finance those positions. The simple thing that Bradley is doing is putting it on the ballot and then when it’s voted down, then he says the people don’t want (additional officers).”

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