LOS ANGELES COUNTY — Today, Supervisor Kathryn Barger voted against a motion authored by Supervisors Shelia Kuehl and Hilda Solis to place a charter amendment on the November ballot that would permanently designate minimum funding levels for social services and alternatives to incarceration by shifting money away from critical public safety needs.
“The Board of Supervisors is tasked with great responsibility in carefully budgeting and allocating resources to meet the needs of the residents and local communities in Los Angeles County,” said Supervisor Barger. “This motion proposes a charter amendment which would permanently tie the County’s hands on any budget decisions in the future, regardless of the fiscal and policy issues that may be present at that time – this is especially concerning now as we have had to act quickly and nimbly to serve our 10 million residents facing the COVID-19 pandemic. This motion threatens the County’s ability to provide ample protections and continue to fund crucial programs and services should the County face another catastrophic event in the short or long term,” said Supervisor Barger.
Currently, the majority of County funds are already designated toward health and social service programs which provide for vulnerable and at-risk residents throughout the entire region. In addition, the County allocates millions of dollars each year to many of the very programs that this charter amendment seeks to fund, such as services for individuals at risk of entering the justice system, youth programs, and affordable housing. The County has also been able to allocate critical funds for important community projects such as the Vermont Corridor and the LAC+USC Recuperative Care Village.
Through careful planning, the Board of Supervisors has set aside funding to allow for the continuation of public services when they are most needed – even in the face of the greatest public health crisis we have ever battled with COVID-19.
“The charter amendment process that is proposed will nullify any meaningful dialogue or policy deliberations for years to come and prevent the ability for these policy matters to be addressed during meetings of the Board of Supervisors in full view of the public and with greater intentionality and accountability,” Supervisor Barger continued. “On a topic of this import, robust discussion and community engagement, along with ample analysis is imperative to ensure thoughtful policy decision making. Unfortunately, that was not the case in this instance.”