With a theme of “A New L.A.,” Mayor Karen Bass detailed her intentions to create a “stronger, healthier, happier and safer” metropolis in her first State of the City address on April17.
The mayor’s vision was further illustrated by the funding priorities outlined in her first budget, which was issued on April 18.
In both events, Bass repeatedly emphasized the themes that characterized her campaign and administration – homelessness, public safety, economic justice, business improvements and environmental protections.
“I am 127 days into my Administration, and I cannot declare that the State of our City is where it needs to be. But I am proud to report that together, we have brought change to the city of Los Angeles,” said the mayor.
“We have increased urgency at City Hall. And we have a clarity of purpose and have focused our work on the people’s most pressing challenges.”
Reducing homeless continues to be a top initiative of the Bass administration and the mayor announced that her budget allocates an unprecedented $1.3 billion to the crisis. The funding includes $250 million for the Inside Safe program, which assists people in moving from encampments to temporary or permanent housing.
“Inside Safe starts with outreach from trained workers, many of whom are formerly unhoused,” explained Bass. “They offer motel rooms and other temporary housing and a path to permanent housing with services. People can keep their property and stay with their partners and their pets.
“We are removing the barriers that have been in place for far too long – and as a result, we have finally dispelled the myth that people do not want to come inside.”
The mayor’s budget also establishes an Office of Housing and Homeless Solutions, dedicates $40 million to purchase hotels and motels to use as interim housing, and earmarks $23.5 million for substance abuse treatment beds. Also, four street medicine teams are funded for $4 million to assist unhoused people and Bass plans to use Measure ULA funds to preserve affordable housing and expand homelessness prevention programs.
In the area of public safety, Bass provided funds to increase the ranks of policer officers, LAPD civilians staff, and LAFD firefighters and paramedics. She will also establish the Office of Community Safety to encourage crime prevention and unarmed response to aid people in emotional crisis.
“We are launching an urgent recruitment campaign, with incentives for new recruits. We will hire civilians at LAPD so that officers can move back onto the street. And we will hire more 911 operators. This will reduce police and Fire Department response times and improve our ability to refer calls to alternative responses,” Bass said.
“My budget funds the new Mayor’s Office of Community Safety. This office will build capacity for community intervention workers, social workers, clinical psychologists and other experts to respond when law enforcement is not required,” she added.
Hiring more employees extends beyond LAPD and LAFD, said the mayor, who announced her desire to increase the city’s workforce. She indicated that her budget allows fund for three programs to connect people to jobs – LA:RISE, HIRE LA YOUTH and CleanLA. The programs assist formerly incarcerated individuals, youth ages 14-24, and others in obtaining positions that lead to city jobs.
Bass hopes to enhance opportunities for businesses and companies by funding a Tourism Master Plan, the Al Fresco outdoor dining program, and collaborating with the L.A. Economic Development Corporation to measure economic growth and recovery.
Stressing her commitment to a healthy environment, the mayor said, “Climate change is real. Climate change is here and climate change is a threat to all of us. We must continue to aggressively confront and adapt to climate change, and to make sure that our city is resilient.”
Bass’ budget includes $12 million for electric vehicle fleet and public charging stations, $2 million to trim 5,000 more trees each year and $funding to add 2,400 trees to the city’s tree forest. She is also proposing outreach staff to inform residents about the city’s organic waste collection services and additional employees to update the green parks and open space element of the city’s General Plan.
“I want Angelenos to experience a New L.A. One that is stronger, healthier, happier and safer.
One that is affordable,” insisted Bass.
“This is the New Los Angeles we will build together.”
To view the Mayor’s Proposed Budget, visit https://cao.lacity.org/budget/.