A city that sprawls in all directions like Los Angeles cannot have a cop on every corner. What the city can have is 1,000 additional police officers if two-thirds of its voters approve a modest increase in property taxes on June 4.
Crime is a major issue in many neighborhoods, and a majority of the voters who live in Los Angeles would feel safer with a stronger police presence, according to public-opinion polls. The stronger police presence would cost the average homeowner $60 a year, enough to expand the Los Angeles Police Department to just under 8,000 officers--still not a large force considering the size, 465 square miles, of this city and the population, 3 million.
There are no such things as popular tax increases. What Mayor Tom Bradley and the Los Angeles City Council now must do is keep hammering home the point that there are no such things as popular robberies or burglaries, either, and that voters must decide in June which they like less. The easy part was putting it on the ballot. Now they must finish the job with a persuasive campaign in its behalf.
Competition among neighborhoods for new police officers will complicate their campaign. Residents in the San Fernando Valley, particularly those who would pay more than the average tax because they live in larger homes on larger lots, need reassurance that they will not bear the burden of the new tax while other areas get the majority of the new officers.