Monday morning’s Los Angeles Times carried the headline, “Greuel’s budget plan draws ridicule,” and now mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel is defending her proposal to hire more cops and firefighters at a time when the city is facing a multimillion-dollar deficit.
It was just a week ago that the Greuel campaign announced a plan to set aside 20 percent of new revenues to hire 2,000 police officers and 1,000 firefighters and paramedics by 2020. That plan is based on 3 to 5 percent annual growth in revenue, though the city’s top budget official says the figure will be closer to 2.5 percent this spring.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told The Times: “It's not doable. It's not real. It's an arithmetic problem, to quote Bill Clinton, and the arithmetic does not add up."
In a Monday interview with KPCC, Greuel hit back at her critics, though she clarified her stance, saying she wasn’t making promises but instead setting a target if she is elected.
“We should have a goal. [Former LAPD] Chief [Bill] Bratton set a goal of having 12,000 officers. I believe we should set a goal for where we want to be in the future,” Greuel said.
“If – if – we have additional revenue, if our economy comes back, we should prioritize a portion of that for making sure we have more firefighters and more police officers.”
Monday afternoon the Greuel campaign released a statement from Bratton, saying: "Per geographic mile, Los Angeles is one of the most under-policed cities in America. Wendy's support for the much needed and for too long delayed expansion and investment in the LAPD is just what Los Angeles needs to ensure an economically viable and safe city."
Both the police officers' and firefighters' unions have endorsed Greuel’s mayoral campaign.
Greuel, like the other leading mayoral candidates, does not support Measure A, a proposed half-cent sales tax on the March 5 ballot. That revenue would essentially eliminate the budget deficit the city is facing next fiscal year.