On Thursday, December 2, 2021 the LA Metro Board of Directors will be voting on whether to adopt a Metro staff proposal to amend and extend Metro’s policing contracts. (Agenda; Item 25).

This decision comes after Metro has released an audit showing poor police contract performance and long-standing contract mismanagement—and data revealing mistreatment to Metro riders that occur because of these contracts. In response to Metro staff’s proposal, Metro’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), a 15-member community advisory group to Metro Board, officially recommended that Metro stop funding police on transit and start investing in community-led safety strategies, like deploying transit ambassadors to help with wayfinding and outreach workers to help connect people to their desired social services.

ACT-LA is asking its members and allies to call on Metro to oppose Item 25—and support Motion 25.1 and PSAC’s memo, which commit to funding community-led safety strategies instead of inflating already bloated, overspent transit police contracts. There are three ways to get involved:

1. Submit a one-click email to Metro

➡️ Click here to send an email public comment to LA Metro.

Need to send your email manually? ➡️
Email BoardClerk@metro.net
BCC contact@allianceforcommunitytransit.org
by 5PM Wednesday, December 1:

Subject: OPPOSE Item 25 (Law Enforcement Contract) & SUPPORT Motion 25.1 (Commitment to Reimagine Safety)

Dear Metro Directors:

Los Angeles should be at the forefront of truly safe public transit for all, which means that transit riders need Metro to invest in public safety strategies that deliver the resources and outcomes communities need to thrive. PSAC, Metro’s Public Safety Advisory Committee, has called for care-first, community-led safety alternatives, such as unarmed transit ambassadors who will be committed to the safety of every rider on Metro. And a growing body of work, which now includes PSAC’s latest recommendation, says precisely what resources are needed: compassionate transit ambassadors, social workers, ample lighting, bathrooms with attendants, and wayfinding at stops and stations.

Last spring, the Metro Board voted to start investing in care-first safety solutions that redefine the agency’s approach to providing safety and regional access for every transit rider. Metro’s police contract audit, released last month, affirms Metro’s need for this new approach. The audit reports on poor police performance and longstanding contract mismanagement. Moreover, police funded by these contracts have arrested and ticketed a disproportionate share of Black riders on Metro—every year for the last 3 years. And yet, these same police contractors are asking the Metro Board of Directors to pay them an additional tens of millions of dollars and even to extend their contract. What for?

I applaud PSAC’s recommendation to stop the wasteful spending on the police contracts and instead allocate $75.2 million to non-law enforcement safety strategies. I support Motion 25.1, which commits Metro to carrying out this budget reallocation in next year’s budget process, and further encourages Metro to implement new safety approaches with transparency and equity. And above all, I oppose Item 25 and ask you to stop investing in the wasteful and ineffective police contracts, and invest instead in care-first public safety strategies that meet Metro riders’ needs.

Thank you.

2. Call into the LA Metro board meeting at 10:00am on December 2nd.

To comment in English, dial: +1-888-251-2949, access code 8231160# — or to comment in Spanish, dial: +1-888-251-2949, access code 4544724# — then wait a few moments to be placed into the general lobby. When the comment period for item 25 opens, press #2 to raise your hand.

Sample script

My name is __, and I am (with organization name, an LA resident, a public transit rider). I depend on (bus line #, bus line street, Metro rail line, etc.) to get to ___ (work, school, essential services). I am calling to oppose Item 25, the Metro staff proposal of inflating police contracts, and instead ask that you fund community-led safety alternatives as outlined in PSAC’s memo. I thank Directors Bonin, Mitchell, Hahn, Solis, and Dupont-Walker and support Motion 25.1, which commits Metro to carrying out this budget reallocation in next year’s budget process. This is a great first step but Metro must commit to eliminating these harmful, costly and mismanaged policing contracts. 

Thank you.

📺 To view the board meeting while you’re calling in, click here.

3. Join our social media campaign from now through Thursday, December 2.

We ask our members and allies to both post every weekday during this period, as well as reshare ACT-LA social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) that will call on LA Metro board members to pass permanent, universal fareless transit.

Please see below for images and text to share:

Tuesday, November 30Wednesday, November 17 #1/2Wednesday, November 17 #2/2Thursday, November 18
Please post before 9am!
Download image hereDownload image hereDownload image hereDownload image here
Text posted with the graphic:

This year @metrolosangeles spent $681 MILLION on police—who then disproportionately arrest and ticket Black riders.

Transit riders do not feel safe. It’s time to end the bloated policing contract. #PeoplesTransit
Text posted with the graphic: In March, @metrolosangeles bloated its policing contract an extra $36 million to a total $681 MILLION dollars.

Imagine all of the social workers, lighting, clean bathrooms with attendants, wayfinding signage, and Metro staff ambassadors we could have instead. #PeoplesTransit
Text posted with the graphic:

.@metrolosangeles’ Public Safety Advisory Committee recommends safety alternatives that will provide safety to ALL public transportation riders, including: Mental health services, homeless outreach services, ample lighting, and more.

It’s the future of transit safety we want.
Text posted with the graphic:

Not only is @metrolosangeles’ policing contract bloated, overspent, and ineffective, it also actively harms riders. It does not make all riders feel safe.

Now is the time to move to safety strategies that will make ALL riders feel safe.

Alt text: A bar graph comparison chart titled “Metro Fare Evasion Citations and Warnings versus Share of Ridership by Race (2018 to 2020)”. African American riders accounted for 50 percent of all fare evasion citations and warnings but only 16 percent of Metro’s ridership.
Alt text: Various screen grabs of Metro documents highlighting police contract non-compliance and the need for additional budget controls. There is a red circle around the sentence “In March 2021, Metro’s board approved modification to increase the overall total contract amount by 36 million dollars to 681 million dollars to cover costs through December 31 2021.”Alt text: A screengrab of the Metro Public Safety Advisory Committee memo which summarizes their recommendations to Metro, including no additional funding to existing public agency policing contracts, Metro returning to a non-contracted law enforcement model, and reallocating 75 point 2 million that would have been spent on the amended law enforcement contract to non-law enforcement alternatives to public safety, including mental health services, homeless outreach services, transit ambassadors, and funding other safety initiatives.Alt text: Metro: Instead of a bloated, overspent, ineffective policing contract that harms Black riders… Let’s invest in safety strategies that care for all riders.

Posted by act_la