Councilman Garcia Tells LBPD West Division Public Meeting He Won't Support Upcoming Budget Unless It Includes Police Academy Class in FY13

Funding mechanism unmentioned for now


(June 27, 2012, 11:05 p.m. w/ text added June 28, 4:50 a.m.) -- Several sources who attended Wednesday night's (June 27) LBPD West Division Commanders Leadership Forum (public meeting) tell that 1st district Councilman Robert Garcia told the audience in no uncertain terms that he will not vote for a forthcoming city budget unless it includes funding for a FY13 police academy class.

Councilman Garica, who chairs the City Council's Public Safety Committee, said he's told this to the City Manager and the Mayor and is working with other Councilmembers on the matter.

As previously reported by, city management proposed budgets have routinely included funding for an academy class...but for the past several years the Council has used that sum to pay current officers. That process has created an attrition mechanism that has reduced LBPD's ranked by roughly 160 sworn officers (technically without layoffs) to produce budget savings. LBPD attrits roughly [very roughly] 30-40 officers a year due to retirements and other exits, which haven't been replenished by academy classes since 2009.

A single Academy Class of roughly 40 recruits would, after attrition, barely keep pace with recent annual attrition levels, although in a recent budget presentation PD management indicated it expected further retirements to level off.

To fund a replenishment academy class -- and to keep the officers hired -- a LB City Council majority will have to devise a way to pay for them [unmentioned at this point]. That might come from current revenue [which could include oil revenue, something Mayor Foster has previously opposed] or changing current budget priorities [abandoning "proportional share budget reductions"] or some new-found savings or, as some speculate, via a possible tax increase ballot measure in November (or some combination of these). [What do you think the Council should do? Tell us in comments below.]

CA's Dem-majority legislature has just enacted a new CA budget which relies on voter approval of a proposed tax increase in November.

By July 1, city management is required to present Mayor Foster with a proposed FY13 budget, and by Aug. 1, Mayor Foster is required to release management's proposed budget to the Council with the Mayor's recommendations, if any.

The Council has the last word on spending priorities, subject to a possible Mayoral veto (which can be overriden with six Council votes).

The Council's deadline for putting measures on a November ballot is in early August. A special November city election is already scheduled as a result of a petition drive for a "living wage" ordinance.

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