Supes take next steps with Measure J

Los Angeles County Seal.

Following the passage of Measure J, which is set to increase spending on community-based programs and decrease spending on law enforcement, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted to allow the revenue allocation process to begin during Tuesday’s meeting.

Dubbed “Reimagine L.A. County,” the measure is expected to set aside 10% of the county’s unrestricted funds, which includes anywhere from $360 million to $490 million, for programs such as affordable housing, youth development, job training and alternatives to incarceration, including restorative justice programs and health services, while funds would not be invested in law enforcement agencies or jails and prisons.

The newly approved motion is set to put start that process by creating a 17-member “Reimagine L.A. Advisory Committee” comprised of various stakeholders, including representatives from county departments, such as mental and public health, community-based and/or advocacy organizations, along with five individuals with lived experience or direct knowledge of the criminal and juvenile justice system. 

While Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose 5th District includes the Santa Clarita Valley, did not support the ballot measure, she did support the investment in these services. 

“As I said all along, it’s never been an either-or for me,” Barger said. “I would also like to restate my commitment to equitable services throughout the county starting with our highest-need regions. We have significant opportunities here to transform lives for generations to come. This advisory committee will be key in forging a path for investment in our communities, and I do truly look forward to success to come.”

The committee is expected to begin the process of making concrete recommendations on how the funds should be used, with the board expected to have final say on how funds will be allocated and set to start in the 2021-22 budget.

In addition, an amendment to the motion is set to fund research, evaluation and analysis of aspects of African-American life in the county, to align funding allocations with data showing  “African Americans are disproportionately affected by the most punitive aspects of criminal justice work,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas of the 2nd District.

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