Despite a warning from police chief William Bratton that Los Angeles risks “going up in flames,” a teary appeal from the fire chief, and a personal plea from the mayor, the Los Angeles City Council yesterday rejected a ballot measure that would raise city sales taxes to pay for more police officers, the Los Angeles Times reports. The council’s angry and emotional debate came three days after the controversial police killing of a black boy, 13, rekindled antagonism between residents and the Los Angeles Police Department. Bratton wanted 1,260 more officers.
After the measure failed by a single vote, an angry Mayor James K. Hahn called council members who voted against it “incredibly arrogant,” and suggested that voters consider recalling two of them, including one of his mayoral opponents, Antonio Villaraigosa. Hahn, who has led the fight for the half-cent city sales tax increase, faces an election in less than four weeks and has staked his campaign on his record on crime. The measure would have increased the city’s sales tax from 8.25% to 8.75% to raise $200 million a year to pay for new police officers.