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Eager to hire more police officers, the City Council voted overwhelmingly to raise trash collection fees over the next few years to supply its coffers with the funds needed to dispatch more cops to this big city’s streets.

By “this big city,” I don’t mean San Diego.

It was the Los Angeles City Council that voted 12-1 to raise monthly trash fees from $11 to $28 over the next four years in an effort to hire 1,000 new officers by 2010. L.A.’s new revenue would be used to finance the new positions and give pay raises to cops.

In San Diego, where the City Charter protects a homeowner’s right to free trash collection, voters – and not the City Council – would have to approve a ballot initiative that levied trash fees.

Replenishing the San Diego’s depleted police ranks has also been touted by the Mayor Jerry Sanders and council members as a top priority. San Diego’s active force is currently 700 officers short of Police Chief Bill Lansdowne’s ideal staffing levels and officers are citing the city’s inferior salary and benefit package as their major reason for leaving.

Sanders has decided to further study how the pay for San Diego cops stacks up to nearby law enforcement agencies and to better market openings at the Police Department. Read more about the mayor’s plan here.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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