Legislative Committee to discuss charter amendment ballot

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on February, 26, 2020, is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Santa Clarita City Council Legislative Committee is expected to meet Monday to discuss a Los Angeles County charter amendment on the November ballot that aims to increase spending on underserved and low-income communities, while decreasing spending on law enforcement. 

Their scheduled meeting comes after the L.A. County Board of Supervisors decided Aug. 4 to place the measure on the ballot via a 4-1 vote, with county Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose 5th District includes the Santa Clarita Valley, casting the lone “no” vote, saying the process for which the proposal made it to the ballot “was anything but transparent.” 

“The county is facing monumental economic upheaval created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting prolonged closures and health care costs,” said Barger in a previous prepared statement. “The county should be even more judicious with taxpayers’ dollars and allocate funds accordingly. Unrestricted funds can be used in a variety of ways during this financial crisis, including to close the county’s current budget deficit and minimize future layoffs.”

The Reimagine L.A. initiative is among several responses to demands calling for a change following monthslong Black Lives Matter protests. 

If approved by voters in November, at least 10% of the county’s unrestricted funding would go toward community-based programs, such as rent assistance and affordable housing, youth development and job training, along with programs aimed at finding alternatives to incarceration, according to a county counsel analysis. Funds would not be invested in law enforcement departments or jails and prisons. 

The amount of funding could be anywhere between $360 million to $490 million of the $34.9 billion in the current budget, according to county officials. 

The meeting is set to take place in the Council Chambers at City Hall at 2 p.m. and can be viewed online by visiting santa-clarita.com. 

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