Los Angeles Theater Community for a People's Budget

Mayor Garcetti & the Los Angeles City Council

The time is now to act boldly and re-imagine public safety in Los Angeles


To: Mayor Garcetti & the Los Angeles City Council
From: [Your Name]

June 20, 2020

To Mayor Garcetti and the Los Angeles City Council:

From: Los Angeles Theaters for The People's Budget LA

As members of the LA theater community, we understand that a budget is a moral document.

The budgets we draft assign values. The stories we choose to tell, people we choose to employ, spaces we choose to inhabit — all of these things demand resources. How we commit resources is a very public statement of our values.

We stand with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and the People’s Budget LA in demanding that City of Los Angeles officials radically re-imagine public safety and how funding is allocated.

The Los Angeles City budget is a moral document writ large. While Mayor Garcetti proposed a cut to the LAPD allocation, it is really only a cut in the increase of funding they were to be given in his original budget. And while we applaud pledging $250,000,000 to programs and services that specifically impact Black Angelenos, we must note only $150,000,000 of that is to come from the LAPD allocation. The rest will come from as-yet undesignated department, program, and service allocations in an already severely diminished budget. The whole amount should be coming from the LAPD budget, which currently takes up more than 50% of the City’s unrestricted general fund. While the proposal to redirect $150 million from the LAPD’s budget and an additional $100 million is a start, this does not go nearly far enough.

Defunding the police means that we can invest in housing programs. We can invest in jobs. We can invest in public health, mental health, youth programs, community-based violence intervention programs — the list goes on. All of these things will make our City safer and more humane. It would be a profound and radical shift towards a city that is just and equitable.

The pandemic, and its corresponding economic recession are having devastating and disproportionate impacts on Black and Brown Angelenos, and our fellow citizens who are experiencing homelessness. As budgets are a moral document, the Mayor’s current budget proposal is a damning testament to the moral state of Los Angeles.

We wholeheartedly support the June 3, 2020 motion submitted by City Council members Nury Martinez (District 6), Herb J. Wesson, Jr. (District 10), Marqueece Harris-Dawson (District 8), Mitch O’Farrell (District 13), Curren D. PriceJr. (District 9), and Bob Blumenfield (District 3) calling the creation of a model to divert nonviolent calls for service away from the LAPD and to appropriate non-law enforcement agencies. This must be passed, and it must be implemented boldly.

Now is the time to:
• Take a stand that the Los Angeles City budget should align with the People’s Budget LA, reallocating the proposed funding for police to invest in things like universal housing, good jobs, healthy food, a clean environment, community workers, youth services, free public transportation, arts programs, parks, and libraries. This is what will create a safe community.
• Reaffirm through public policy and clear, unconditional statements, that Black Lives Matter.

Theater is a practice by which humans weigh our past and witness our present, in order to pass our stories to the future. What story will be passed down about this moment in Los Angeles? How will the actions we take now be remembered?

The future is watching.

Ammunition Theatre Company * Coin and Ghost * Company of Angels * Hero Theatre * Independent Shakespeare Co. * Method and Madness * Playwrights' Arena * Rogue Artists Ensemble * Theatre of NOTE * Wallis Studio Ensemble* Watts Village Theatre Company