How to watch LA Mayor Bass’ second State of the City address – NBC Los Angeles


Mayor Karen Bass is scheduled Monday to deliver her second State of the City address.

She’s expected to discuss progress made as well as priorities that lie ahead as Los Angeles faces a projected $467 million budget deficit, a continued homelessness crisis and rising crime, among other challenges.

Bass will take the rostrum in City Hall’s Council Chamber at 5:30 p.m. Click play below to watch.

The speech will come two days short of a year since Bass, in her first State of the City Address, declared, “I am 127 days into my administration, and I cannot declare that the state of our city is where it needs to be.”

The mayor is required annually to address the City Council before the release of the proposed city budget. Bass’ proposed spending plan for the 2024-25 fiscal year, which begins July 1, will be released later this month before it goes to the City Council for revisions. The city budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year was about $13 billion.

While the mayor’s office has not revealed specifics of Monday’s State of the City Address, major points of the speech are expected to include the following.

The budget deficit: According to City Administrative Officer Matt Szabo, the overall $467 million deficit represents a combination of $289 million in unexpected spending — mostly on the police and fire departments and liability claims — and a $187 million shortfall in expected revenues. The LAPD element of the unexpected spending comes mostly from overtime, due to what Bass has acknowledged is a significant staffing shortage of sworn officers.

All that red ink could impact the city’s hiring in the year ahead.

Just last week, the council’s Personnel, Audits and Hiring Committee voted to consider a plan to eliminate nearly 2,000 vacant positions across a range of departments — a move that could save $155.6 million to the general fund and about $7.3 million to other special funds, according to Szabo.

The city had previously implemented a “critical hiring prioritization” plan, placing a freeze on most vacant positions unless deemed high-need. In total, the city has about 3,600 vacant positions, representing about $280 million to $300 million.

Homelessness: The 2023 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count — an annual point-in-time count of people experiencing homelessness in the L.A. region — revealed a 9% year-over-year increase in homelessness in Los Angeles County and a 10% rise in the city of Los Angeles. The data showed 75,518 people experiencing homelessness in L.A. County, and 46,260 in the city, an increase from 69,144 in the county and 41,980 in the city from 2022.

Tens of thousands of Angelenos are facing evictions this year Mayor Karen Bass fears that alone could wipe out progress made in the fight against homelessness. What can be done? NBC4 Conan Nolan talks with Conway Collis, head of the Mayors Fund for Los Angeles who works to prevent these evictions. Plus, a new program that will help youth who age out the foster care system not be homeless.

Bass is expected Monday to explain how she hopes to continue increasing spending on programs to reduce the crisis and bring more people indoors. The Inside Safe program, the cornerstone of her efforts to reduce homelessness, has so far resulted in about 2,500 people who were formerly living in encampments receiving interim housing, mainly in motels, since shortly after she took office in December 2022, according to figures provided by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

But the program has drawn criticism from advocates of people experiencing homelessness, claiming it has provided little permanent housing — and because of its high cost.

Aides to Bass have said the lack of existing affordable housing, along with the need to provide services such as mental health and drug treatment to people experiencing homelessness, are leading reasons for the high cost.

City officials have taken several steps to increase affordable housing, including securing more housing vouchers and partnering with state and federal leaders to address the crisis.

Crime: Interim LAPD Chief Dominic Choi reported to the Board of Police Commissioners last month that violent crime in Los Angeles is up 2.9% compared to March 2023, and that robberies have increased by 9.5%.

A closer look at the Los Angeles Police Department’s staffing shows it’s still below Mayor Karen Bass’ goal. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Dec. 7, 2023. 

At the time of Choi’s report on March 26, there had been 73 homicides in the city of L.A. so far this year, compared to 57 at the same point in 2023. What’s more, Choi said, robberies continue to “plague us as a crime problem.”

In last year’s State of the City, Bass said her “No. 1 job as mayor is to keep Angelenos safe” — but noted, “the unfortunate reality is that LAPD is down hundreds of officers.”

She is likely to revisit that theme Monday, having said that increasing the number of sworn LAPD officers — which had fallen below 9,000 — is a key part of her public safety agenda.

Bass has also espoused expanding the city’s unarmed mental health crisis teams, which offer alternative responses to certain calls for service now handled by police.

In addition, the city is looking for a new, permanent chief of police following Michel Moore’s retirement in February. A national search is underway.

Climate: Bass is also likely to discuss plans to meet the city’s climate and infrastructure goals. The city has committed to reducing the use of fossil fuels to produce electricity, and to increasing the use of renewable resources such as solar and wind power.

Transit: Bass has expressed hope of further expanding rail service in Los Angeles ahead of the 2028 Summer Olympic Games. The Metro Board of Directors — which Bass chairs — recently celebrated nearly $900 million in federal funding. A large share of the money — $709.9 million — is ticketed to go toward two projects: the East San Fernando Valley Light Rail Transit Project and sections two and three of the D (Purple) Line Subway Extension Project.

Olympics: Bass has spoken frequently on the city’s plans for the Olympics, and may give further comments on that Monday, along with efforts to make the city more-business friendly.

Read original source here.

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