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Ludlow Seeks Tax Hike to Fund Anti-Gang Projects

January 14, 2005|Steve Hymon | Times Staff Writer

Calling gang violence the No. 1 issue in his district, Los Angeles Councilman Martin Ludlow said he planned to introduce a ballot measure today to raise about $30 million a year for anti-gang programs.

He said his measure would increase property taxes by about $40 per parcel to pay for after-school programs, job training and tutoring programs. The money would mostly go to nonprofits already doing anti-gang work, including the Boys & Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

It is the second time in as many months that Ludlow has pushed the council to do more about gangs.

"People are really concerned and afraid for the safety and well-being of their children and neighbors' children," Ludlow said. "I know it's a gamble, but no community in the city is immune to gang violence."

Ludlow's 10th District includes West Adams, Koreatown and the Crenshaw area.

A majority of the City Council would have to approve the proposal by Jan. 26 to place it on the May ballot. Passage would require two-thirds approval by city voters.

"I think it's an intriguing idea that's worthy of exploration and debate, but I think that he may be rushing it," said Councilman Greig Smith. "I think that we need to take a strong look at the specifics before putting this on the ballot. I think that he'll find much greater support if he goes slower and has the chance to build support from the community."

In December, Ludlow proposed creation of a Department of Urban Affairs that would bring together social workers, administrators and former gang members to find novel ways to thwart gang violence.

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