The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) directors convened on Thursday, June 24, 2020, discuss a reform of policing on buses and trains, which includes not sending officers to respond to nonviolent crimes.
The reforms which were approved by the directors 9-2 voted to hire unarmed ambassadors to monitor stations, expand fare discounts, find alternatives to armed law enforcement and shifting funds to homeless outreach.
The initiatives would be paid for by cutting some funding to police.
L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin introduced the reform package and when reached by 2UrbanGirls stated that Supervisor Kathryn Barger and Glendale Council Member Ara Najarian were the two dissenting votes.
“Mayor Butts expressed lots of concern about the motion and argued against it,” said Bonin. “In the end he voted to support it and even I said on the mic I was surprised given his comments during the debate.”
Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr, himself a former law enforcement officer with nearly 40 years of experience, 15 of which he was Chief of Police in the city of Santa Monica, voted in favor of the reforms suggesting Metro should try to fix the policing culture and perception of safety rather than removing the police entirely.
“It will be far less expensive to change the culture of policing than to do some of the things I’ve heard put forward over the last few weeks,” Butts said.
In the city of Inglewood homelessness continues to be a problem with many living on the street, particularly in District 4, due to their not being enough available rooms to place them in. Despite the influx of CARES Act funding, there are still an inordinate amount of homeless peoples living on the streets of Inglewood.
City of Los Angeles has shifted many of the parks recreation centers to housing the homeless, especially as the global pandemic rages on and shows a growing number of positive cases while the Morningside Park Library sits vacant, which can be used to house the homeless, until the community benefits package with the Los Angeles Clippers kicks in, which includes, refurbishing the library.
It is hard to fathom Mayor Butts voting to support a police reform package that he may or may not be eyeing to implement in the city he runs.
Inglewood City Council meeting agendas detail the city is currently in negotiations with the unions representing city of Inglewood officers. It is well known that the city is facing a severe revenue shortfall, which we can assume will lead the negotiations to not include raises. Will he now seek to implement this same strategy for Inglewood that he now supports police reform on one of the nation’s largest transit systems?
This was Mayor Butts’ last act serving as Chair of the LACMTA board of directors and his evolvement from former law enforcement officer to full blown politician.