LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles city officials on Friday said the cost for police protection during the Democratic National Convention could exceed $10 million -- more than double the original estimates -- if the L.A. Police Department must respond in full force to quell protesters.
The revised estimates have prompted alarmed city council members to call an emergency meeting next week. The costly scenario takes into account full LAPD deployment -- with the entire force working 12-hour shifts -- during next month's four-day convention.
Earlier this year, officials estimated it would cost about $3.5 million to police the event, but planners now are bracing for up to 50,000 protesters on city streets. Such of surge of people could require more police response, officials said.
''There's a possibility that the actual public safety cost will be millions more than originally anticipated,'' said one City Hall official. ''Unfortunately, there's not a lot of discretion here.''
However, Councilman Alex Padilla -- who heads the council's DNC oversight committee -- urged his colleagues not to overreact.
''It's disingenuous to be talking about specific figures based on what might or might not happen,'' Padilla said. ''People are ringing the fire alarm before the fire even starts. If nothing happens, all the concern and commotion is going to be for naught.''
According to LAPD figures, the department would have to spend $1.7 million a day to fully deploy its force on top of the $3.5 million already set aside. Officials are expecting between 10,000 and 50,000 protesters to take to the streets, with a small group engaging in the sort of civil disobedience seen recently in Seattle and Washington D.C.
Councilman Mike Feuer said he is calling for a special meeting of his Budget and Finance Committee next Wednesday to discuss the issue.
Meanwhile Friday, a federal court rejected an effort to block the city from giving $4 million to the Democratic National Convention.
The city paid $2 million to the DNC host committee on July 3, according to court records. The second $2 million payment is not due until after the convention, city lawyers said Friday, and will be made only if the DNC shows a deficit.
Attorney Stephen Yagman went to federal court Friday afternoon and asked for an injunction to force the return of all payments to the convention. In a class action lawsuit on behalf of ''all Los Angeles taxpayers, who have been sold out by their representatives,'' he called the $4 million payment an illegal gift that violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
But after a 25-minute hearing, U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder disagreed and refused to issue an order. Snyder questioned whether the federal courts had jurisdiction in the case and said she saw no emergency that required her to issue an injunction now, if ever.
''The plaintiff has not shown a high probability of success,'' Snyder said.
Yagman said he brought the lawsuit at the urging of Richard Abcarian, a retired English professor and leader of the Honest Government Coalition, described in court papers as ''a voluntary group who favors honest government and who opposes dishonest government.'' Abcarian said the coalition consists of about two dozen of his neighbors in Venice who are ''outraged'' that the council broke its earlier promise not to pay taxpayer money toward the convention.
Yagman, who said he expected to lose at Friday's hearing, immediately asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a temporary restraining order. A decision was expected late Friday night. Yagman will get another chance to ask for an order at a scheduled hearing on Aug. 11, three days before the convention begins.
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