The conference addressed the city’s new budget and future developments.
By Ava Rosate, Staff Writer
Four months into her term, Karen Bass delivered her first State of the City address last week in the Council Chamber inside City Hall, where she discussed the release of the Los Angeles county budget, an emphasis on homeless housing and an increased police budget.
“I am 127 days into my administration, and I can not declare that the state of our city is where it needs to be,” Bass stated during her opening remarks. “After years of frustration, tonight, we can see a clearer path to a new Los Angeles where the state of our city will be stronger, healthier, happier and safer.”
The conference’s primary focus was finding solutions to combat homelessness and future initiatives to tackle the ongoing issue. Bass highlighted initiatives being undertaken by her administration to address homelessness, including $250 million for Inside Safe, an outreach program that identifies and immediately houses homeless individuals. Another $1.2 billion was allocated “to accelerate our momentum on homelessness.”
The funding allocated to address homelessness will be used to purchase motel and hotel buildings, as well as substance abuse treatment beds for unhoused people with addiction issues.
Bass called on apartment owners who are not utilizing apartment vouchers to house the homeless.
“It is unacceptable that there are nearly two thousand housing vouchers that are going unused,” said the Los Angeles mayor. “Another barrier that keeps Angelenos in encampments is a lack of apartments that will accept housing vouchers, so, I call on apartment owners ––please accept vouchers. Start with just one unit and let us earn your trust.”
Bass’s secondary concern was increasing the police force to its original numbers before July of 2020 – when nearly 1,000 police officers were laid off and the budget was cut by $150 million. “My number one job as mayor is to keep Angelenos safe - but the unfortunate reality is that LAPD is down hundreds of officers. I’m concerned that the department’s recent release of information will cause more officers to leave,” Bass explained regarding the recent leak of the Los Angeles Police Departments' personal information.
The 43rd mayor proposed increasing the LAPD budget from $87 million to $3.24 billion to better meet the needs of reducing property crime, maintaining the downward trend in violent crime, and increasing homicide clearance rates.
The budget proposal calls for the hiring of hundreds of new officers in the next year to restore the forces numbers that have been lost in recent years. Financial incentives will be provided to new recruits and city workers who help find those recruits.
The mayor touched on topics such as metro train safety – aiming to improve ridership as well as enforcement presence. Animal shelter welfare – striving to increase adoption and spay and neuter rates, as well as climate change – addressing the recent capture of 28 billion gallons of stormwater and the development approval for a water purification facility in Van Nuys.
“I said when I took office that being elected as your mayor was the honor of a lifetime. But serving as your mayor is the true honor,” Bass declared during her closing statements. “I want Angelenos to experience a new L.A. One that is affordable. This is the new Los Angeles we will build together.”