Steven H. Baron | Measure J Diminishes Public Safety

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Your wife has her purse stolen out of her hands at the mall. Your teenage daughter screams when she sees a stranger with a firearm in your back yard late at night. You are worried about a physical confrontation when an incapacitated driver rams into your car.

What would you or your loved ones do if involved in an incident similar to those above? Most likely, you would call the police. How would you handle any of these situations if the police could not arrive in a timely manner because of a shortage of officers? 

If you want a prompt police response when you need the police for your and your family’s safety, vote no on L.A. County Measure J on Nov. 3.

If passed, Measure J will permanently change the county charter to set aside annually a minimum of 10% of the county’s locally generated unrestricted revenues in the general fund to “community-based programs,” as described in the full text of the measure, and listed below:

• Youth development programs.

• Job training.

• Access to capital for small minority-owned businesses, with a focus on Black-owned businesses.

• Rent assistance.

• Capital funding for transitional housing, affordable housing, supportive housing and restorative area villages with priority for shovel-made jobs.

• Restorative justice programs.

• Pretrial non-custody services and treatment.

• Health promotion, counseling, wellness and prevention, mental health and substance use disorder services.

The measure also stipulates these funds CANNOT be used for any penal system or law enforcement agencies, including the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department (an already underfunded agency), the District Attorney’s office, Superior Courts and Probation Department. There is nothing in the measure that stipulates where these monies will be allocated, but it can be implied from the measure requiring annual input from county departments that the money would be allocated to already existing departments.

Other than a bureaucrat, can anyone define what “youth development programs,” “restorative justice programs,” and “pretrial non-custody services and treatment” entail? “Access to capital” is a euphemism for a loan. Since when should the county loan taxpayer money in the face of shortages in police funding? Is there not a county Health Department that, among other things, supplies health care services through multiple clinics and hospitals? What about money allocated to the county by the state and federal governments? Where is that money distributed within the county system, and is any of it distributed to departments that oversee the “community-based programs” already listed? None of these questions, and more that need answers, are addressed in the full measure.

My analysis is that Measure J, also called the “Reimagine L.A. County Initiative,” is nothing more than a scam on voters to convince them to defund law enforcement and the criminal justice system. The only “reimagining” we citizens will have are unpleasant ones based on underfunded law enforcement leading to fewer police officers patrolling our community and the subsequent inevitable increase in crime. Public safety first! Vote no on Measure J on Nov. 3.

Steven H. Baron

Newhall

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