POLITICS: Controller wants to audit existing programs first Hahn calls for vote now. By Rick Orlov and Kerry Cavanaugh STAFF WRITERS “Everyone knows we have two major problems in this city – traffic and gangs,” said Hahn, who organized a meeting Thursday with Mothers Against Gang Violence, which has formed to campaign for the parcel tax. “I think voters know how serious the problem is and we can’t afford to wait for more studies. We know what works,” Hahn said. “We’re talking about programs like LA’s Best and the Fire Department and Police Department programs. We are in a real crisis now, and the longer we wait means more children will die.” But Chick countered that the need for effective anti-gang programs has long been urgent and she advocates being able to give voters more details. “Ten years ago, when I was on the City Council, we had an ad hoc committee on gangs,” Chick said. “Today, we have a new version of that. “I am spending a half-million dollars on a study that I hope will be a blueprint for the mayor and council to create a new paradigm on what we need to do to redo, re-examine and re-create how we are using the money we have to fight gangs.” A spokesman with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s office said the mayor will seek to reach a consensus with Chick and the council on when to put the parcel tax before voters. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo said he couldn’t comment on proposed parcel tax because his staff is evaluating the proposal and drafting ballot language. However, Delgadillo said there is consensus that gang programs need more money. “One of the most important things we can do is demonstrate to the people we work for that we are using their tax dollars well now,” Delgadillo said. “Then we can say, `If you give us more, we’ll invest more and we’ll get a higher return.”‘ During his own speech to business leaders, the Rev. Jeff Carr, appointed earlier this year as the mayor’s gang czar, said it’s imperative to get the community involved in solving the problem. He noted that there are about 39,000 gang members in Los Angeles, but fewer than 10,000 police officers. “We have to figure out how to not become so desensitized to the violence that is going on in our community that we allow it to numb us to the point where we don’t take the kind of action and have the kind of moral outrage that is necessary to eliminate this problem,” Carr said. [email protected] City News Service contributed to this report. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! A plan to tax Los Angeles property owners $30 a year to fund gang programs drew new fire Thursday as City Controller Laura Chick vowed to fight its placement on the February ballot. Proposed earlier this year, the plan would generate about $30million for gang intervention and prevention efforts. But Chick told a meeting of the city’s business leaders she will oppose the measure if it’s placed on the ballot before she completes her audit of existing gang programs. “Before we ask taxpayers to give up more of their hard-earned dollars, we need to look at what we’re doing, at what works and what changes we are making. “Only then – when we can show what was wrong and what we’re doing right and prove it – can we go to voters and ask for their support.” But harbor-district Councilwoman Janice Hahn said she believes the council should move forward with placing her proposal on the February ballot. It would require two-thirds’ voter approval to pass and would take effect in November 2008.