“I think that’s just rearranging the bureaucracy and not the systems,” Garcetti said.
The proposal was already running into strong opposition within the City Council. Last week, the council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee recommended that the idea be tabled until at least July while options were studied other than a merger. Nearly 30 people spoke in favor of postponing the merger during the PLUM Committee hearing.
Proponents of the merger say that consolidation will result in lower costs and quicker processing times. They point out that managers of both departments are publicly on board. They also say that the city has spent $850,000 to study and prepare for this merger and doesn't need to spend more money to study it further until July.
Opponents of the merger say there is no proof of either lower costs or quicker processing times, and they question whether a merger of two departments with different and sometimes conflicting roles should be under one banner. Building & Safety is a policing agency that guarantees residents' safety, they say. Planning is a development agency that is judged by the amount and types of projects that get built. They also say that most employees of the two departments are quietly opposed to the merger.
The merger was first proposed under then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and was endorsed by then-councilman Eric Garcetti. Garcetti's announcment today was his first public comments on the merger since taking office.
“I liked it in the abstract, but in the concrete, I don’t think it’s ready to go,” Garcetti told the Times.
LA Times: Garcetti says he'll stop merger of Los Angeles building agencies
LandUseLA: Departments' merger won't occur Jan. 1 - if at all