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Mayor Garcetti and LA City Council consider a bond or tax in the November ballot to generate funds to help the homeless




Homeless people from Skid Row are seen on the streets around a construction project where 102 prefabricated housing units placed on top of the second floor of Star Apartments are being built.
Homeless people from Skid Row are seen on the streets around a construction project where 102 prefabricated housing units placed on top of the second floor of Star Apartments are being built.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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Faced with a budget shortfall, Los Angeles politicians are seeking about $2 billion in funding to help provide aid to the city’s growing homeless population.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and the L.A. City Council are pondering whether to put the decision to voters.

Is a tax or bond the right way to generate the funds? What do listeners think about paying the costs for homeless services? On today’s show, Larry was joined by guests including Garcetti to weigh in on the measure and how it will affect the city.

Garcetti says he, like many in the city, wants to provide more services for the homeless, but doesn’t want the average citizen to foot the bill.

"I don’t want to see a general tax that the regular person has to pay, but perhaps a recording fee on general real estate transactions is an appropriate place, because people who own commercial real estate are definitely making some money and they can help chip in ... to help us all get rid of this stain on the city right now, which is homelessness," Garcetti said.

The mayor also stressed the realistic value of the plan, which entails both the city and county of L.A. working together.

"People of good will across the city keep coming up to me and saying ‘I want to do something on homelessness ... but I want to know it’s effective. Now that we’ve actually put a plan forward ... that people have lauded as the most focused by city and county together ... I think we’re well prepared to say to the voters, ‘If you want to get even more services to end this for those people on the street, let’s do this together in a smart way and let’s do that this November,’" Garcetti said.

President of the Small Business Action Committee Joel Fox disagrees with Garcetti and said property tax payers won’t be able to escape paying for the bond.  

"The city is looking at a $2 billion bond. In the end, with interest, they’re gonna be paying $4 billion, and that’s gonna be on the back of the property tax payers," Fox said.

Fox also had reservations about the effect Garcetti’s commercial real estate recording fee would have on local businesses.

"How much does that [fee] add to the reputation of Los Angeles not being so business friendly?" Fox said.

Civil Rights Attorney Carol Sobel, who has represented L.A.’s homeless in federal courts, said Garcetti’s plan would take too long to be implemented.

"It would take years for that [plan] to be put into effect … we don’t have the time to wait anymore," Sobel said.

Sobel also suggested a more timely solution in lieu of the both the bond and the commercial fee plan.

"They’re sitting on $5.9 billion in reserves in the states. Give Los Angeles a loan," Sobel said.

Guests:

Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles; he tweets from @ericgarcetti

Joel Fox, President of the Small Business Action Committee

Carol Sobel, a civil rights attorney who has represented L.A.'s homeless in federal courts