Police Reform Measure

Sometimes I wonder if Councilman Michael Woo and I live on the same planet (Commentary, May 27). Amendment F is not a referendum on Police Chief Daryl Gates. If the misguided measure is approved, it will not apply to Gates. Woo was only partially correct when he said Amendment F would “give officials the power to remove a police chief who can’t do the job.” It also gives officials the power to remove a chief who is doing a fine job, but who is not playing the political game to suit them.

If F is approved, a fine, professional chief could be terminated for any reason, or no reason at all, depending on the whims of the mayor, the members of the Police Commission (all appointed by the mayor), and the members of the City Council.

Worse, the new chief could be bounced like a political football from one body to the other; first terminated by the commission and then reinstated by an override vote of the City Council--all without a requirement of formal, substantiated charges of malfeasance of misconduct.

San Francisco’s chaotic system created two new police chiefs within 44 days, but no doubt Los Angeles could beat that record, if F is approved.


Amendment F also carries a threat to the LAPD’s ability to put a maximum number of police officers on the streets. At a time when the city’s budget deficit is forcing talk of police cutbacks, Amendment F writes a blank check for a new layer of bureaucracy, adding a new executive director position, with support staff and removing the ceiling on the salaries of the Police Commission.

ERNANI BERNARDI, Los Angeles Councilman