L.A. On The Record: Where To Draw The Line On Cops
When they ran their insurgent campaigns for Los Angeles City Council last year, labor organizer Hugo Soto-Martinez and community activist Eunisses Hernandez followed remarkably similar political paths. Both candidates had huge support from Democratic Socialists of America-Los Angeles, which campaigned on their behalf. Both candidates told the DSA, in writing, that they considered themselves to be abolitionists, favoring the “abolition of police and the prison industrial complex.” Both went on to unseat incumbents — Mitch O’Farrell and Gil Cedillo, respectively, who were viewed as more politically moderate on public safety and other issues. On Thursday, those same two council members, who symbolized some of the left’s big victories at City Hall, found themselves on opposing sides. Hernandez cast the only vote against Mayor Karen Bass’ first citywide budget, declaring during an impassioned speech that she could not support a spending plan that gives a fourth of the city’s money to policing. Soto-Martinez, on the other hand, showed he was more willing to compromise, voting with the rest of his colleagues for the mayor’s budget, which calls for the hiring of about 1,000 officers. A representative of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the LAPD’s rank-and-file officers’ union, said this week’s vote revealed the gap between campaign rhetoric and the “responsibility to govern.” Bass and the council showed that the city can pay for unarmed responders, gang intervention workers and after-school programs without cutting the LAPD, said Tom Saggau, the union’s spokesperson. “We agree with the mayor and City Council that Los Angeles is capable of doing all of the above while expanding the ranks of the LAPD,” he said.
Los Angeles Times