Statement by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on Los Angeles County’s Budget for FY 2020-2021
“The global pandemic that has sickened almost 100,000 people in Los Angeles County – taking 3,300 lives – has also wreaked havoc on our economy. Today’s budget demonstrates our determination to continue serving as a critically needed safety net even with diminished resources.
“We have made painful but necessary cuts across the board to close an unprecedented $935.3 million gap. But by making strategic investments as well as seeking out and leveraging additional state and federal funding, we intend to continue making gains in addressing homelessness, improving public safety, and helping communities thrive.
“Though Measure H revenue is expected to decline, we are developing a spending plan that would sustain our expanding network of community-based homeless services providers and also build on the success of Project Roomkey, which has already brought more than 4,000 of our homeless neighbors indoors in just three months.
“Amid massive protests nationwide following the death of George Floyd, we are responding by reimagining how we ensure public safety and by helping communities most in need of investment. With today’s budget, we are doubling down on approaches that prioritize people’s health and community well-being and safety – over surveillance, over excessive enforcement and use of force, over criminalization and incarceration.
“The pandemic has already forced us to rapidly but safely reduce our jail population, a key component of criminal justice reform. With this budget, I am also pushing to expand the Office of Diversion and Reentry so more people with serious clinical needs can be moved out of jails and into treatment. It is also important to invest in the Alternatives to Incarceration initiative, including scaling up psychiatric urgent care centers and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Behavioral Health Center. This is the compassionate, humane and cost-effective thing to do.
“We also cannot afford to delay creating the Probation Oversight Commission and to expand the powers of the Inspector General, both of which strengthen accountability. This is the time to further invest in community-centered solutions that give us the best and highest return for our communities.
“I want to be clear that our work does not end here today. We will continue through the summer to produce a spending plan that prioritizes the health and well-being of everyone who calls Los Angeles County home.”