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Special Tax for More Police

March 10, 1987

Maybe Mayor Tom Bradley and Councilman Farrell can help me out of my confusion. They are asking the residents of South-Central Los Angeles to pay an added property tax of $21 million to get 300 more police officers.

Now I may be wrong, but aren't the residents of that part of the city already paying property taxes to support police, fire, and municipal services? If taxation without representation is an injustice, couldn't the same be said about a double tax for the service that residents already paid for?

The police tax measure will appear on the June 2 ballot. Farrell conceived it, the City Council approved it, and Bradley endorsed it. The trouble is no one bothered to poll the residents of South-Central Los Angeles to find out if they minded paying more to get the police protection that they've already paid for and our entitled too.

There are other reasons why Farrell and Bradley are way off base on this proposal:

--There is absolutely no guarantee that the 300 additional police could be permanently assigned to patrol the streets of South-Central Los Angeles.

--It sets a bad precedent for the future funding of city services. It amounts to a pay-as-you-go method of raising and spending tax revenues. The wealthy areas of the city could "buy" more services from police to garbage collection because they could afford them.

--The residents of South-Central Los Angeles are predominantly black, Hispanic, and lower income. They are the least able to pay.

--Citizen involvement in fighting crime is just as urgent a need as more police. Just putting more police on the streets will not reduce crime without a vigilant and aroused community willing to assist the police in identifying and apprehending criminals.

--Better allocation of police resources and personnel is a more immediate and equitable answer to the need for more police in high crime areas such as South-Central Los Angeles. The City Council has already approved $250,000 for a police deployment study. Let's see what the results are.

No one disputes the fact that the residents of South-Central Los Angeles are in desperate need of greater police protection for the person and property. But a double tax with all the other ominous consequences it could have is a bad idea.



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