Mayor Fights Budget Cut in Anti-Gang Program
Fighting to overturn a proposed cut in a local gang-enforcement effort, Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan blitzed state legislative leaders Tuesday with phone calls and letters urging them to restore full funding for the Community Law Enforcement and Recovery program.
When the program was considered in the state Assembly, legislators approved $14 million in funding, but the state Senate voted to cut $4.8 million. Riordan and other program supporters say that the cut, if approved by a conference committee, would undermine an effort that is yielding impressive results.
The program has cracked down on truancy, enforced gang curfews and worked to clean up several blighted areas in the LAPD’s Northeast region. According to the mayor’s office, gang-related crime in the target areas is down about 40% since the program began, compared with a 9% reduction in the rest of Northeast region.
That progress, Riordan said, is threatened by the proposed cut.
“Future expansions of the CLEAR program are in jeopardy,” Riordan wrote to legislative leaders. “Unless CLEAR receives adequate resources we will not be able to bring CLEAR into other troubled communities that desperately need gang prevention programs.”