Villaraigosa, speaking about budget, defends gang programs

As the Los Angeles City Council prepares to consider L.A.'s budget for the upcoming year, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa held a press conference to say he strongly supports the Gang Reduction and Youth Development programs like Summer Night Lights. One proposal would reduce funding for the program $1.3 million - or about 8 percent.

"But 8 percent means 296 young people and their families will not receive services," the mayor said. "And 8 percent means we will lose intervention workers who have built trusting relationships within our communities, relationships that are sometimes the sole reason why we are able to stop violence."

Several teens told the L.A. City Council today that they had benefited from gang reduction programs in their neighborhoods. Librarians and workers in L.A.'s recreation and parks department also spoke on the city's budget. Union representatives said libraries and parks also contribute to public safety and shouldn't see more reductions.

The City Council's expected to approve a final budget next week.

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