Ferraro Enlarges on Plan to Increase Police

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Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles City Councilman John Ferraro, responding to criticism that his plan to increase the Police Department without new taxes will not work, Friday provided some additional details of his proposal to add more officers at no extra cost.

Ferraro, who is running for mayor against incumbent Tom Bradley, last week announced a plan to increase the force by 1,300 over a five-year period, without a tax increase. While he had told how he would pay for 300 officers the first year, it was not until Friday that the councilman said he had come up with a way to pay for the other 1,000.

Earlier, he said 300 could be financed in the first year by cutting $7.5 million from various city departments and taking $2 million from the city reserve fund. Part of that $7.5 million in cuts would include $1.5 million for an expansion of the City Council that has been proposed, but is not part of the current budget.


Development and Sales

At a press conference in front of the Police Department’s headquarters, Parker Center, Ferraro said the cost after the first year could be paid from increases in property tax revenues because of development and sales. He predicted that would amount to $20 million a year, or an annual increase of 10%. That, plus interest earned on the unspent amount, would enable the city to add 250 officers per year after that, bringing the total of additional officers to 1,300 by 1991.

“Funding of the additional 1,300 officers will be accomplished by a combination of budget cuts and growth in revenues from property taxes,” Ferraro said. “The fact that I’ve found a way to hire 1,300 more officers without increasing taxes just shows how out of touch Tom Bradley is.”

However, Chief Administrative Officer Keith Comrie told City News Service Friday he had taken a quick look at the Ferraro plan and was skeptical about the underlying figures.

“We have not seen forecasts like that,” Comrie said of Ferraro’s property tax revenue growth estimates.

Bradley last week endorsed a plan to add 1,000 new officers to the force through a new property tax. The tax proposal, embraced by several members of the council, would cost the average homeowner $58 a year. The council next week is expected to vote to place the measure on the June ballot. In order to pass, it would require two-thirds voter approval.

Bradley has said there is “clearly not enough in the existing revenue base” to finance additional officers. He has called Ferraro’s tax-free plan “fantasy.”