While many local top cops push for a measure to increase funds for
law-enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County, some argue that the
proposed sales-tax increase is misguided and blame local politicians
for raiding funds already set aside for that purpose.
Measure A, which needs a two-thirds majority in the Nov. 2
election, could generate an additional $560 million yearly for law
enforcement by raising sales taxes a half-cent to 8.75%.
Supporters -- including Glendale Police Chief Randy Adams, County
Sheriff Lee Baca and Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton -- say
the added funds will help them boost their forces.
Adams expects the money would bring in $9.3 million yearly for his
department, which would go toward a $17.6-million effort to add 100
new officers and 36 full-time civilian workers over the next six
years. The department has about 1.2 officers per 1,000 residents.
Burbank has 1.6 officers per 1,000 residents and Pasadena's ratio is
"If [the measure fails and] is unsuccessful, we'll have to look
for other revenue streams and ways to pay for the expansion that is
extremely important to the ongoing safety of the city," Adams said.
"We're the most leanly staffed of any urban police department that
I'm aware of."
"Measure A is extremely important to the city," Adams said. "I
think this will do more to expand the frontline than anything else on
But opponents see the measure as another burden on residents,
since they already pay for police services through several taxes
including those for property and sales.
Furthermore, opponents point out that another measure was already
approved to supply extra money to police. Proposition 172, a
half-cent sales-tax measure passed by voters in 1993, funneled
proceeds to law-enforcement agencies.
Patrick Holland, a retired sheriff department chief who lives in
Glendale, said politicians have diverted the money from police and
instead found a way to pay for other programs it wasn't originally
"If they would just put that money back into law enforcement, we
wouldn't need another tax to generate millions more every year,"
Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich was the lone vote
on the board against putting the measure on the ballot.
The measure is unnecessary because with Proposition 172, $400
million from tobacco settlement funds sitting in a reserve account
and other resources could be used instead, Antonovich spokesman Tony
"This is a smoke screen for bad government," Bell said.