July 22, 2020 — Yesterday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting included an item on the Supplemental Agenda, proposing an extremely controversial ballot initiative seeking to “redistribute” funding away from public safety. Make no mistake: this measure, if passed would significantly cut public safety resources for the Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office, and County Probation.
In a 4-1 (Supervisor Barger standing alone as the NO vote) decision this afternoon, the Board of Supervisors voted to place this ballot measure with a proposed County Charter amendment, the verbiage not yet finalized, on the ballot for the November 2020 election. This ballot measure will ultimately require the voters to decide whether to endorse a reconfiguration of allocations for LA County budget priorities, which would represent a potential 10% defunding of public safety. These funds would then be reallocated to “address racial injustice, over-reliance on law enforcement interventions, limited economic opportunity, health disparities, and housing instability.”
PPOA President Tab Rhodes addressed the County Supervisors via phone during the online hearing this morning and delivered the following statement:
“My name is Tab Rhodes, I am President of the Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association representing over 9,000 current and retired County employees. As members who live and work in the area, we are grateful for your recognition of under-funded community programs and appreciate all efforts to improve Los Angeles County.
However, PPOA is profoundly concerned that this issue is a priority during this time of limited access and conversation due to the COVID-19 crisis. This motion, which was just brought forward last Friday, without any previous discussion, requires serious dialogue as well as in-depth analysis of its effects, legal review, and examination of unanticipated outcomes. Why are we entertaining sweeping changes to our county system, when we are facing yet another potential lockdown of our state and county due to this pandemic? The timing of this endeavor appears to be ill-timed and poorly advised while we should be focused on pushing our communities through the existing health crisis and looming financial disaster, which to date has not yet been quantified.
Additionally, PPOA has great concern for what the results of a ballot measure could represent in unintended, potentially catastrophic consequences, to the safety of our communities and county employees. We cannot at this time support the idea of such a complicated budget and legal issue, deferring the Board’s fiduciary responsibility and the control of billions of dollars, to the voters, which could affect all families within the County and possibly the employment status of thousands of unionized county employees.
As I have discussed with each of you individually, our membership represents numerous classifications of county employees and the subject matter expertise to provide insight and perspective in a collaborative conversation. As the President of PPOA we urge you to please meet with us and other county labor organizations before initiating such drastic modifications. Thank you for your consideration.”