Los Angeles City Councilwoman Laura Chick is poised to make good on most of her campaign pledge to squeeze $100,000 out of her office budget and donate it to the Police Department to fight crime--a donation that will include part of her own salary.
At a news conference today, Chick plans to announce that she will donate to the LAPD $70,000 in cash from her office budget and three of the seven city cars assigned to her staff.
The total value of the gift is $91,500, Chick's office estimates.
Chick, who was elected in June to represent the southwestern San Fernando Valley, will have to contribute 10% of her own $90,680-a-year salary to round out the cash portion of the donation, said Karen Constine, Chick's chief deputy.
All of the contribution is to be used for crime prevention--including special police patrols, graffiti removal and youth programs--in Chick's district, Constine said.
During her campaign to unseat incumbent Joy Picus last spring, Chick repeatedly promised voters that, if elected, she would cut $100,000 in frills from her council office budget and transfer the savings to the LAPD.
It was a crowd-pleaser that Chick coupled with pledges to forgo hiring a press secretary and to abstain from using a city car herself--promises she has kept to date.
But two weeks ago, Chick appeared to backpedal, saying in an interview with The Times that she might fall $60,000 short of the promised amount. Her $100,000 pledge was based on the previously standard office budget of $700,000, before she learned that the council had reduced each member's allowance to $640,000, Chick said.
But a Chick aide said Wednesday that the councilwoman's staff had "busted its buns" to fulfill her campaign pledge.
The assets contributed to the LAPD include $70,000 in cash from Chick's office, the $14,000 value of the three cars and $7,500 in paint. Each council office annually receives $7,500 in paint for graffiti removal programs.
The large police contribution, Constine conceded, severely limits Chick's ability to provide financial help to local community groups. Each council office has $20,000 in its annual budget earmarked for community groups in their districts. Chick used all of these funds to finance her contribution to the police, Constine said.
Council members often dole out small amounts of money from these funds to important and needy community groups during the year to build goodwill for the incumbents.