City Controller Laura Chick has recommended, in a formal audit, that an office should be created within the mayor’s office to coordinate programs for youth at risk of gang recruitment. The office would be responsible for prevention, intervention and reentry programs and negotiating contracts with community-based and religious organizations.
Chick also recommended that city departments redirect $19 million allocated to programs that do not have well-defined objectives and outcomes.
Joining Chick in support of her “blueprint” for a citywide anti-gang strategy was Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Police Chief William Bratton, L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, Councilmember Janice Hahn and civil rights attorney Connie Rice who also wrote “The Advancement Project 2006” report on the city’s gangs. Rice referred to the audit report as a “second opinion” that confirmed “the first opinion,” referring to her previous report.
The “blueprint” suggests that the mayor’s office should take the lead on addressing the gang issue because of it’s clout and authority in uniting city departments.
Hahn stated that she will pursue a ballot measure in November that could potentially raise $30 million a year for anti-gang programs through a tax increase. She believes that the voters will agree “to spend more money on prevention, intervention and after-school programs.”
Chick expects a status report on the implementation of the “blueprint” in about six months.