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Villaraigosa veto keeps money in account for anti-gang programs

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Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's veto is a technical change to the budget that will make $21.6 million available for anti-gang programs on July 1.

Concerned that there would be a minor delay in obtaining all of the funds promised to anti-gang programs, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today signed off on a veto that will keep the Gang Reduction and Youth Development budget whole.

It is the mayor’s only change to the $7.2 billion budget approved by the Los Angeles City Council.

The 2012-13 budget for anti-gang programs is $21.6 million. The council had considered withholding $5.3 million in General Fund money until the mayor’s office could provide documentation on GRYD’s revenues and expenditures over the last four years. 

A plan approved by the Los Angeles City Council yesterday would release those funds at the first meeting of the new fiscal year – on July 3. Rather than wait, Villaraigosa’s veto means the full amount of funding will be available on July 1.

“I understand that this transfer is intended to take place at the beginning of next fiscal year to provide GRYD with the resources necessary to continue the current level of intervention, prevention and youth development services,” Villaraigosa wrote in his veto message. 

The veto action is needed “in order to effectuate the intent of this critical transfer and ensure that these funds are accessible immediately at the beginning of next fiscal year,” he wrote.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander, chair of the Public Safety Committee, had urged his colleagues to hold back the $5.3 million until they could discuss the effectiveness of the anti-gang programs, and how those successes are measured.

Asked what he would have to find to withhold funds, Englander told KPCC, “I don’t know. It’s hard to anticipate what a response would be based on answers to questions you haven’t gotten yet. “

“It’s deserving I think to ask those questions. It doesn’t mean I’m taking shots at it.”

As for the mayor’s veto, Englander said it doesn’t make any sense.

“The mayor got everything he wanted so I can’t figure it out,” he said. 

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