Alarcon: Every major study has concluded that, by and large, undocumented immigrants are law-abiding members of our society who put more into the system than they take out. At the same time, like any other group, there are those who would break the law and drain the public dole. I feel strongly that anyone convicted of a felony should be immediately deported.
Chase: Yes. Terrorism is a crime and a frightening environment in which to live and work. This county has become vulnerable to violent, unpredictable acts that do not promote a positive climate for growth in any community.
Dib: Yes. We must have stronger border controls. It may be cheaper for Los Angeles to help pay for the border patrols than the increased costs for welfare, education and crime.
Finn: Yes. The federal government is in charge of the immigration department. It is their responsibility to solve the problem and, in the meantime, pay for the expenses of its impact.
Hall: The spiraling influx of undocumented people has definitely impacted the city's crime rate and economic condition. L.A. must not be a magnet for undocumented people. Undocumented people who commit crimes should be punished and deported.
Magana: No. However, both the state and federal government need to do their share and contribute to the local jurisdiction for services provided to the undocumented community, i.e., citizenship-training classes being provided by the Los Angeles Community College District.
Villafana: The cuts in the defense/aerospace industry, overvalued real estate and bank speculation are the roots of the economic downturn. The majority of immigrants are decent, hard-working people. Those who are not should feel the full force of the law.
Q. Do you favor a proposal on the June ballot to increase property taxes to pay for 1,000 new police officers?
Alarcon: As a council member, I would not impose this tax on the people. Only voters should be able to prioritize their individual needs and make informed decisions on which proposals they support with respect to this tax measure. Considering the bleak revenue picture and what appears to be rampant crime in every neighborhood in this city, I will personally vote for the June ballot measure.
Chase: No, I support maintaining the 1/2% sales tax if the money can be used for more police officers in the community. Municipal employees, in various departments, can be transferred to the LAPD and trained for administration duties.
Dib: No. We have the money in the budget if we get rid of the fat in the bureaucracy.
Finn: Yes. We also need to put more of our officers on the street and staff desks with volunteers, reserve officers or trained non-police employees.
Hall: No. It is poorly written. We should trim fat and waste from the city budget, hire trained reserve officers and put civilians into desk jobs so that more uniformed officers can be on our streets.
Magana: No. Although I agree we need more police officers, I am against the piecemeal approach to attaining additional law enforcement. What is needed is a long-term plan which examines the number of police officers that are needed based on crime and population statistics and then we must devise a long-term plan to adequately fund the number needed.
Villafana: I will not vote for an increase in property tax. We need to prioritize our budget to meet police needs. We can do it if we have the will.
Q. Do you believe excessive force by the Los Angeles Police Department is a consistent and systematic problem?
Alarcon: The demands and pressures placed on police officers requires constant review of issues related to excessive force. While excessive force occurs, I am not prepared to conclude the problem is systematic. The Christopher Commission showed us that the problems in law enforcement are relegated to a relatively small percentage of the department and that these officers should be weeded out. Most important, we must not confuse force, a necessary evil in this day and age, with excessive force, a monster which must be removed for the benefit of all residents.
Chase: Yes, but less than in the past. The consistent and systematic problems that have plagued the community in the past are drawing attention, and attempts are being made to address them by both the community and the Police Department. It is imperative to remain concerned and aware.
Dib: No. However, we must listen to law enforcement officials and not inject politics into police procedures.
Finn: I am confident that, with the new training, many positive changes will be made.
Hall: No, it is not a systematic problem. When there are problems, committed by a few bad officers, they must be dealt with swiftly and fairly. Insensitivity to any of the city's diverse population and communities, or excessive force by the LAPD, is intolerable.