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Yes on Measure J to Build a More Just Los Angeles County

This is literally how we start to defund the police.

Black Lives Matter protests outside Mayor Eric Garcetti’s house. Photo: Caroline Johnson.

Measure J, better known as Reimagine LA, proposes investing at least 10% of locally generated, unrestricted county money into social services like mental healthcare, job training, access to capital for small minority-owned businesses, rent assistance, and restorative justice. This county charter amendment also prohibits these funds from going towards law enforcement or the carceral system, both of which disproportionately target and enact violence against Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. Measure J pushes to divest county money from departments and systems like the Sheriff’s Department, the D.A.’s office, County Superior Court, and the Probation Department.

If passed, this shift of funding will happen gradually, and the process will be completed by June 30, 2024. Once the budgetary changes mandated by the amendment are in full swing by 2024, close to $1,000,000,000 will be permanently allocated annually to community services and alternatives to incarceration, and that’s considering a 10% reallocation of funds; it could be much more.

KNOCK.LA is a strong supporter of Reimagine LA. Los Angeles’ most vulnerable communities, which, as the pandemic continues, grows into a larger and larger amount of Angelenos, need this measure to pass.

Opponents of Reimagine LA, often law enforcement officials, are using fear-mongering in a veiled attempt to keep their departments from losing a slice of funding. LA County spends 42% of the county budget on law enforcement, or roughly $1.75 billion annually; if Measure J were in effect this year, between $360 million and $496 million would have gone to Reimagine LA’s proposed community-based solutions.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva predicts that LA will turn into a Mad Max-like dystopia if Reimagine LA passes — as if his department’s state-sanctioned murder gangs don’t already make unincorporated LA a hellscape. He also insinuated that if the measure passes, he’d be forced to lay off 1,020 people, mostly deputies of color. “‘By the way, those jobs that will be lost will be African American and Latino employees…the last hired are the first fired,’” Villanueva said.

Other challengers, like L.A. County Board of Supervisor Kathryn Barger, believe Measure J will “tie their hands” when it comes to funding. Again, this a wild attempt at fear-mongering. The measure includes language that would allow supervisors to reduce the amount going to Reimagine LA programs if a budget emergency threatened mandated programs.

Reimagine LA is one of the many steps we need to take in order to dismantle the deeply entrenched systemic racism of Los Angeles. Our Sheriff’s Department murders for sport (or rather, ink). LA County has a homeless population of nearly 59,000 people and law enforcement treat them as disposable, while programs designed to help like Project Roomkey have been massive failures. Since Jackie Lacey took the District Attorney’s office in 2012, 600 people have been killed by law enforcement in Los Angeles by the likes of sheriff’s deputies, LAPD officers, and police officers from other cities in Los Angeles County. These organizations have repeatedly failed to protect and serve Los Angeles, and it’s time to start investing in proven community programs that uplift — not kill — LA County residents.

KNOCK.LA is a project paid for by Ground Game LA. This article was not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.

Want to learn more about your 2020 election ballot? Check out KNOCK.LA’s Voter Guide, which breaks down propositions and candidate platforms for over 120 races in and around LA County.