Residential trash pickup in Los Angeles has been free (meaning taxpayer-supported) pretty much forever, but as of today the officially sanctioned term for that is "subsidized." Mayor Villaraigosa proposed to raise the current $11 equipment charge added to DWP bills to $18 monthly for single-family homeowners—old ladies on Social Security in a tiny Watts bungalow the same as multi-acre estates in Bel-Air. The new revenue would pay for hiring 1,000 new LAPD officers. The fee would go up annually until reaching $28 a month,
essentially a new tax of $336 a year. [Both the Times and Daily News report the new fee includes the $11 now collected, so I reworded a bit.]
City Councilman Jack Weiss, head of the council's Public Safety Committee, called the idea "the best and most fair plan I've ever seen to add cops to the LAPD.
"It is a fair plan because all it asks our homeowners to do is to pay a little more for services they've been receiving that have been subsidized by everyone else," he said.
Villaraigosa said the fee hike is needed to pay for 1,000 new police officers as the city grapples with a $295 million deficit in its $6 billion annual budget.
"The fact is our city officers are outnumbered, and we remain the most under-policed big city in the United States of America," the mayor said. "This plan changes that."
Plus: The Times got a look at the school reform ideas Villaraigosa's office is privately floating around the city before deciding what to propose. Among the more provocative: Selling the LAUSD headquarters and cutting the central staff to 100 to raise teacher salaries, naming a cadre of 70-80 local superintendents and renaming the district the Los Angeles Department of Education, Youth and Families.