A coalition of activist groups led by Black Lives Matter Los Angeles (BLM-LA) is celebrating after City Council referred the Mayor’s proposed budget to committee in its meeting on Thursday, May 21.
People’s Budget LA will now focus on pressuring the City Council to make significant changes to the budget, particularly defunding the LAPD and investing in human-centered services.
See the full statement at the bottom of this press advisory.
THURSDAY, MAY 21 — A coalition of activists organizing under the name People’s Budget LA is declaring an interim victory as LA’s City Council declined to approve Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposed budget at its meeting on Thursday morning.
Rumors coming out of City Hall over the past week suggested that City Council would approve the Mayor’s budget on May 21 without referring it to the Budget and Finance Committee for more discussion. Activists were demanding that City Council #BlockTheLABudget and give time for more public input — a demand that has now been met. People’s Budget LA is made up of members from groups including Black Lives Matter LA, Ktown For All, People’s City Council, Community Coalition, Students Deserve, Street Watch LA, Ground Game LA, and more.
The group, in a statement, now insists they will move towards pressuring the City Council to pass a true #PeoplesBudgetLA, which defunds the LAPD and invests in human-centered services, demands that are widely popular in California and across the nation. Polling done by Data for Progress and the Justice Collaborative Institute in the months since the state of emergency was declared reveals that voters support funding housing, banning evictions and foreclosures, supporting the houseless, building a care economy, decarceration, and ending police sweeps of the homeless.
“City Council has until June 1 to give a budget back to Mayor Garcetti that actually centers the needs of the masses of people in this city. We need housing. We need health care. We need healthy food. We need good jobs. We need educational enrichment. We need small business resources. We need mental health care. We need free public transit. We need #CareNotCops. We don’t need more police,” the statement reads.
The coalition was particularly upset with the Mayor’s proposal increase to the LAPD’s budget as compared to the prior year, while nearly all other departments were being cut and 16,000 public employees were being furloughed. The LAPD is set to receive 54% of unrestricted funds, for a total of $3.15 billion (compared, for example, to just $163 million for Housing and Community Investment).
An opinion piece recently authored by four members of People’s Budget LA starts: “If a budget is a statement of priorities, then Mayor Eric Garcetti’s are clear: continue LA’s descent into a police state where huge numbers of poor people, especially Black people, are deprived of services even in a city with unimaginable wealth.”
Statement By People’s Budget LA:
People in Los Angeles flooded social media and public comment periods in outcry over how much money Mayor Garcetti is proposing for LAPD at the expense of human-centered services, and now we have bought time for a true #PeoplesBudgetLA to be created, debated, and passed. Mayor Garcetti thought he could get City Council to pass his police state budget without much attention this week, but we were loud and consistent in our demand to #BlockTheLABudget.
City Council has until June 1 to give a budget back to Mayor Garcetti that actually centers the needs of the masses of people in this city. We need housing. We need health care. We need healthy food. We need good jobs. We need educational enrichment. We need small business resources. We need mental health care. We need free public transit. We need #CareNotCops.
We don’t need more police.
Over the next weeks we will be pushing hard for a #PeoplesBudgetLA. The people of LA are more unified than ever, and City Council and Mayor Garcetti can no longer ignore our demands.