In the philosophy of the city’s elected officials, there’s never a bad time to come up with a new way to squeeze money out of Angelenos. There are rate hikes and various fee increases to pay for the job of a barely maintained city. And when the city’s leaders are feeling especially confident, there’s the parcel-tax hike. The Los Angeles City Council must be feeling pretty confident at the moment about getting voters’ support, since it so generously and recently agreed to give council members another term of office – though perhaps induced by a little misdirection from the council’s spinmeisters. And that’s not a thing to waste. The collective whim of the voters can change faster than you can say “macaca.” Enter the gang-tax proposal, a $40-a-year (on average) charge on property owners to raise $30 million a year to pay for gang-suppression efforts. If this measure introduced by City Councilwoman Janice Hahn were a surefire solution to the violence and toll illegal gangs have on the city, it would be the bargain of the century. Who wouldn’t pay $40 to wipe the street gangs out of existence and see the young men and women chewed up by gangs go on to fruitful lives and careers? But this isn’t a surefire thing; the council doesn’t even have a plan for the money, just a conviction that they will need it. But, in fact, the city doesn’t even know what gang resources it already has, as the city controller has only just begun an audit of existing gang-prevention programs, as encouraged by the council members themselves. The council’s Rules and Elections Committee last week directed the city attorney to draft the measure, which would appear on the February presidential primary ballot. If approved, the money it generates would go to gang prevention, intervention, job training and after-school programs. The council clearly wants to milk all the voter goodwill it can by passing a tax on the cause of the moment. But it’s way too soon to start raising money the city may not even need. There’s a very good chance that in the millions of dollars the city already spends on gang-prevention programs it doesn’t know it has, that one or two or 30 of them are being wasted. There is no good reason to rush this parcel tax to the ballot other than to satisfy City Hall’s revenue lust to waste on pet projects and aid to political supporters. The City Council ought to put aside this parcel tax until City Controller Laura Chick’s audit of gang-intervention programs is complete and there’s a concrete plan of action for the revenues. It just makes sense to think this one through before calling on voters to open their wallets yet again. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!