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Decision '93 / A Look at the Elections in Los Angeles County : Los Angeles Ballot Measures : Voters will decide whether to enlarge the LAPD, increase the property tax, limit top officials to two terms and create an animal-regulation commission. : PROPOSITION 1 : Taxes for Police

April 11, 1993

Proposition 1 would raise property taxes to hire 1,000 additional uniformed police officers. They will be used to expand community-based policing and strengthen anti-gang measures.

City budget officials say 1,000 officers and their equipment and support cost about $100 million a year, $100,000 each.

Although the measure would only be a city ordinance, the state Constitution says it must get two-thirds of the votes cast because it would raise property taxes.

Arguments for: Los Angeles has a major crime problem--more than 1,000 murders in 1992. But it has fewer police officers per capita than any of the six largest U.S. cities. The cost of this proposal would be spread fairly among commercial, industrial and residential property taxpayers. The owner of an average home will pay about $73 a year, less than an alarm system costs. The officers will be on the streets, not behind desks.

Proponents include Police Chief Willie L. Williams, Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti, City Councilmen Marvin Braude, John Ferraro, Nate Holden and Mike Hernandez, County Supervisor Gloria Molina, and Richard H. Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. The measure was placed on the ballot by the City Council.

Arguments against: Property taxes do not necessarily reflect ability to pay. Los Angeles residents would bear the burden but non-residents would also benefit. With state and federal taxes due to rise, this is not the time to raise local taxes. The promise that all the money will go to police patrols will probably not be kept; in a few years the proportion of the city budget spent on police can be expected to decline. It is up to the police chief to put more of his force on the street. It is up to the City Council to set budget priorities, but over the years it has cut the Police Department's share.

Opponents include City Councilmen Ernani Bernardi and Hal Bernson; Yale Goodman, president of Property Tax Rebate Service; Joel Fox, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn.; Don Schultz, president of the Van Nuys Homeowners Assn., and Harry Godley, chairman of the Chatsworth Homeowners Assn.


City Term Limits

Proposition 2 would set a limit of two terms for these city officials elected this year: the mayor, city attorney, controller and members of the City Council. Incumbents would be allowed to be reelected twice.

Proposition 4 would have the same effect but would limit incumbents not up for reelection this year--half the City Council--to one more term.

Both are City Charter amendments needing a simple majority for passage. If both pass, the one getting more votes will become effective.

Arguments for term limits: More than half the City Council members have served more than a decade. Incumbents have promoted the status quo, not reform. They get reelected with special interest money and other advantages of incumbency. Career politicians should be replaced by people in touch with average citizens' concerns. The state Legislature has term limits and has not been gridlocked.

Argument against term limits: They deprive voters of the right to elect officials as many times as they want. Constant turnover of elected officials shifts power to non-elected bureaucrats and lobbyists who know the system. Private careers can carry as much special interest baggage and conflicts of interest as public careers. Campaign finance reform is the way to address entrenched incumbency.

Opponents to term limits include City Council members Ernani Bernardi and Marvin Braude.

Arguments for Proposition 2: It is fairer than Proposition 4 because it applies the same starting point for term limits for all City Council members--two full terms starting this year. Proposition 4 would create two classes of members, those with one-term limits and those with two-term limits. Members who would be forced out earlier by Proposition 4 have been in office less time than the others--10 years on average compared to more than 15.

Proponents of Proposition 2 include City Council members John Ferraro, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Zev Yaroslavsky and former Deputy Mayor Linda Griego. It was introduced by Ridley-Thomas.

Arguments for Proposition 4: It would not delay term limits as Proposition 2 would. It was put on the ballot by thousands of people who signed petitions; Proposition 2, by a reluctant City Council.

Proponents of Proposition 4 include Richard Riordan, chairman of Citizens for L.A. Term Limits, which put it on the ballot, and City Councilman Mike Hernandez.


Retired Officers

Proposition 3 would permit the hiring of retired Los Angeles police officers for up to 12 months full or part time. The officers would continue to receive their pensions. The City Charter now allows rehiring of retirees for only 90 days.

Many retired officers are in their 40s, having left the force after 20 years. Details of administering this would be left to ordinance.

As a charter amendment, it needs a simple majority.

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