The administration of Los Angeles’ socialist mayor, Eric Garcetti, is a disaster. Unemployment in the city skyrocketed in 2020 with the loss of businesses going bankrupt. A Yelp report, published in September 2020, reads that Los Angeles is the urban area in the country with the most small business closures, with a total of 15,000 of which half are permanent.
The economy is just one of the problems affecting the city of Los Angeles. The health crisis caused by the pandemic was atrocious. In fact, the city became the epicenter of the disease at the end of 2020, when its hospitals began to suffer shortages of essential medical supplies such as oxygen.
According to a Los Angeles Times article dated December, “Los Angeles County hospitals are running low on ‘dangerously low levels of oxygen tanks’ (…) and other supplies to combat the coronavirus pandemic”. In addition, says the media, “patients are already beginning to wait in ambulances before being admitted to specialized care centers.”
But health and economic problems, which afflict a large part of the planet, are not the only problems facing Los Angeles under the administration of its socialist mayor, Eric Garcetti. Actually, there are other situations that seem even more serious.
Imposition of basic income despite budget crisis
The fiscal crisis in Los Angeles, in addition to the state subsidies that generated high public spending, expanded to a staggering $750 million. One would assume that, faced with this situation, Mayor Eric Garcetti would make more “conservative” austerity-oriented decisions. Instead, he announced his great plan to “fight poverty”: to impose a basic income of $1,000 for some 2,000 families.
“Mayor Eric Garcetti included a $24-million Basic Income Guaranteed program in his city budget to be released Tuesday. L.A. would become the biggest city to try the concept, possibly joining Stockton, Compton and others. (…) If approved by the Los Angeles City Council, the program would provide $1,000 a month to 2,000 Los Angeles families for a year. There will be no obligation on how to spend the money, according to the mayor’s office,” the Los Angeles Times reviewed.
This is the “largest universal basic income pilot program in the country,” Black Interprise explained. And where will some of this money come from? “Garcetti’s program will use $11 million in funds diverted from the city’s police budget to launch the program in South LA and the San Fernando Valley,” the article reads.
Universal basic income is far from being a good policy to fight poverty, instead, it is a measure that affects fiscal budgets and, in the particular case of Los Angeles, it is affecting police departments just as crime rates skyrocket.
Eric Garcetti and his particular fight against crime
The mayor of Los Angeles is quite unique. His city, over the past year, has seen crime rates rise absurdly and his policies seem to downplay the issue.
According to Eric Garcetti himself, homicides increased in 2020 by 36.2%, and the number of shooting fatalities also registered a significant 41.4% increase over 2019, a year where shooting fatalities were 253.
Garcetti, who promised to fight crime, last year cut $150 million from the police budget yielding to the pressures of the “anti-racist” protests and also to make up the accounts of the disastrous fiscal budget left by his administration in 2020.
In other words, the year in which Los Angeles suffered the most from crime, Garcetti decided to reduce the budget for those who fight crime.
This cut “will compel the Los Angeles Police Department, over the coming months, to move a total of 234 officers back into patrol, reduce desk hours at its stations, cut special deployments and stop staffing teams that cover homelessness issues” NBC reported in November.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore commented “the department will cut its air support, robbery and homicide and gang and narcotics units.”
The mayor reacted somewhat and increased the police budget again this year by 3%, but nowhere near last year’s $150 million increase.
With the increase, the police budget will go from $1.71 billion to $1.76 billion; last year the budget was $1.85 billion.
But that’s not all. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is planning to eliminate and relocate several agents from the hard gang unit; one of the oldest in the department that is dedicated to gang and gang-related cases. This decision sparked outrage among Los Angeles prosecutors and sheriffs, especially since the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) itself reported that 55% of the murders in 2020 were related to street gangs.
All this is happening under the complacent gaze of Mayor Eric Garcetti, who promised to fight crime, but his words are not being translated into action.
Homelessness crisis exposes socialist mayor
When your fiscal budget is like Los Angeles’, it makes sense to cut public spending, as happened with the police. The problem is that most of the cuts were focused on police departments and almost none on the rest of the public sector.
In fact, Eric Garcetti’s proposed policies are anything but austerity policies.
In addition to proposing the largest basic income plan in the country, the mayor proposed a very expensive billion dollar plan to combat the homelessness crisis.
“he Los Angeles city budget being released today includes $1B to address homelessness. The region has been tackling the issue for years but it continues to get worse because of housing costs,” NPR explained.
It’s true, California has a gigantic homeless problem due to a housing shortage and skyrocketing rents. But that’s not the only reason why the homelessness crisis is worsening year after year across the state, especially in Los Angeles.
Welfare policies and state subsidies, coupled with weak laws against the crimes of drug possession, prostitution and even defecation in the streets, did nothing to combat the homelessness crisis, in fact, they made it worse.
As more public money was poured into the fight against homelessness, data shows that the number of homeless people in the country grew. Now, the homelessness crisis is out of control, especially in California and Los Angeles County.
Welfare policies to combat homelessness have completely failed, not only in California (San Francisco, Los Angeles, etc.), but in other states in the country and other large cities such as New York and Seattle. Despite the evidence, the mayor’s big idea is to propose an exorbitant expenditure of one billion dollars that far exceeds his administration’s own budget deficit.
To get an idea of the problem, there are 568,000 homeless people in the entire United States; 151,000 of these people live in California and more than 66,000 are in Los Angeles County.
It is estimated that, while the city of Los Angeles finds housing for 130 people per day, another 150 people become homeless daily. Faced with this growing “cancer” eating away at the streets and public spaces of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti’s proposed “remedy” is costly, uncreative and very similar to what has been implemented year after year and has consistently failed.
In this way, the socialist mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, shows us how not to run a city.