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3-1-1 Allegedly to be Cut from City Services

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Photo by brykmantra via Flickr

Photo by brykmantra via Flickr
An e-mail, probably from an anonymous staffer within the city's Information Technology Agency, says the city's most successful outreach tool to the public is set to be cut from the budget outright. If you don't use it, 3-1-1 is available 24 hours a day with live city operators ready to take various requests like graffiti and bulky item pickups and help you access any person within the city. It's goal is to centralize access to the city and could in fact save the city money when the three phased project is finished, if ever.

"A proposal to eliminate the 3-1-1 service at City of Los Angeles has been put forth as part of a 'Shared Sacrifice' the e-mail reads. "This means the layoff of 55 people and the elimination of public access to City Services."

If true, citizens looking to improve their neighborhoods and easily contact the city without having to deal with ten transfers or "you've got the wrong number", will have to rely on hundreds of numbers and transfers to do so. A representative at ITA today could not confirm or deny the allegations and told LAist to call back Monday, but another source told LAist only the night shift is proposed to be cut. Below is the anonymously written e-mail and the city's internal memo:

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City of Los Angeles has always had 24/7 access to the City. 3-1-1 has greatly expanded the ease and ability of Los Angeles residents to access City government and has over time become integrated in the delivery of services for City departments. Every major city has implemented a 3-1-1 number to provide residents with easy access to City Services. City of Los Angeles will be the first City to terminate this federally established number. A proposal to eliminate the 3-1-1 service at City of Los Angeles has been put forth as part of a “Shared Sacrifice”. This means the layoff of 55 people and the elimination of public access to City Services. The attached document (embedded below by LAist) taken directly from the website contains the sacrifice, a document that has since been removed from public view. The implications of terminating this service include:

1. There will not be a non emergency, easy to remember number available to handle Non-emergency Police calls which could increase calls to 9-1-1 and affect public safety.

2. Public access to City government will be highly diminished. Public frustration with City Hall which has been greatly reduced by the implementation of 3-1-1 will increase once again.

3. All phone directories will need to be updated with individual department phone numbers. Toll-free numbers that have been eliminated will need to be reestablished at considerable cost.

4. 3-1-1 will NOT be available to provide information regarding Flash Flood Notification from the National Weather Service, notify residents of Red Flag warnings, notify Building inspectors of emergency inspection requests from the Fire Department nor provide EOC activation during emergencies within the City.

5. The City is assuming that all residents have access to Internet and can do self-service. This is not the case.

ITA Memo on Budget Cuts -