The 'Defund the Police' Fantasy Lives on in LA

Southern California has always had a casual relationship with reality, but West Hollywood’s decision to stop funding the LA Sheriff amidst a mounting crime tsunami takes the fantasy to a new — and dangerous — level. As usual this policy was concocted by woke politicians and not approved by the voters, who might be less than enthusiastic about the notion of replacing police officers with 30 unarmed “security ambassadors”.

We will see if this action gets pushback, particularly in a heavily gay city that has long embraced progressive politics. Yet there are signs that a struggle is emerging even within the Left-of-centre space, as people begin to weigh their ideological fixations against their personal safety.

Right now, remarkably, the defund movement is far from dead. Los Angeles, which has its own crime surge, just elected or placed first several new members who favour the so-called “people’s budget”, which seeks to take funds from cops to give to “community” groups. In Los Angeles, these Left-of-centre candidates have had strong support in media and gained much of their backing from the far-Left Democratic Socialists, in one case displacing a liberal labour-oriented Latino LA councilperson with an ally of Black Lives Matter.

It would be one thing if this insanity was restricted to LA-LA land. Despite the election of pro-police Mayor Eric Adams the New York City council has become, if anything, more amenable to defunding policies. Much of this could be ascribed to low turnouts, the media’s race obsessions, or the continued contraction of middle-class households in big cities across the nation.

Read the rest of this piece at UnHerd.

Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.