Funding for diversion programs must fit alongside other priorities

Last week, the Los Angeles County Assessor’s office announced an over 5% increase in property values. After years of decline following the great recession, this is the fourth consecutive year that property values have increased. These numbers show a more stable economy and allow the county to continue providing the services and programs our residents expect.

Los Angeles County weathered the recession better than most other municipalities because we set aside funding during the good times. While we are seeing growth, we must remain prudent in how we spend our money. We need to look at the big picture and concentrate our efforts on outlining our priorities and responsibilities.

One area I have received calls and emails about is the diversion program services for individuals with mental illness who are arrested or currently residing in our jails.

Let me be clear–I absolutely¬†support diversion programs¬†and any efforts we can make to reduce recidivism. But we cannot look at this issue in isolation. I’m not clear where the proposed $20 million funding figure came from or how it fits alongside our other priorities.

After months of study, District Attorney Jackie Lacey will be coming to the Board in September to provide her recommendations. With this information and associated costs, we can arrive at an informed decision.