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Riordan Vetoes Funding for Anti-Gang Program

May 09, 2000

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Richard Riordan on Monday vetoed the City Council's decision to provide another year of funding for the controversial L.A. Bridges anti-gang program, urging the council instead to consider six months of funding while the program is retooled.

In a letter notifying the council of the veto, Riordan cited a recent audit by the city controller saying that the program providing counseling and after-school programs for 7,000 at-risk youth is so poorly operated it should be shut down and overhauled, according to aides to the mayor.

"The mayor is concerned that by going for a year of funding, as the council is doing, it provides absolutely no incentive to begin the process now to identify the good programs and reform the others," said Manuel Valencia, the mayor's spokesman.

The mayor, who originally proposed cutting off funding three months into the next fiscal year, instead urged the council to consider the recommendation of its chief analyst to end Bridges after six months, by which time a new program could be crafted, Valencia said.

Riordan warned that failing to limit funding would mean all of the Bridges contracts would be extended for another year, "ensuring that no matter what we learn from a full program evaluation, no changes or improvements will be possible for another year."

Word of the veto angered council members.

"It's thoughtless," said Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas. "This is not a time to abandon the youth of the city."

Asked if he thinks there are 10 votes to override the veto, Ridley-Thomas noted that the vote to continue funding for a year was 12 to 0.

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