In a victory that reflects Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s strong political influence, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved his plan to raise garbage rates and help fund a major expansion of the Police Department, reports the Los Angeles Times. The vote means that the trash bills of most L.A. residents will more than double in the next four years. Villaraigosa has achieved what his predecessor, James Hahn, had long promised but could not deliver: a significant budget increase to hire more officers.
The city now can free up millions of dollars that Villaraigosa plans to use to bring the LAPD force up to about 10,200 officers by 2010. Police Chief William J. Bratton has argued since taking the job in 2002 that Los Angeles is under-policed compared with other large cities, and repeatedly has asked for money to expand the force. The LAPD has 9,314 officers. The mayor’s office believes that about 3,000 officers will have to be hired over the next four years to overcome attrition and reach its hiring goal.