In Minneapolis, the plan is to dismantle much of the existing, bias-plagued department. In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti has gone to the bottom line: A planned $150 million spending cut — 8% of the LAPD’s 2020 budget.

From the streets filled with protesters to city halls nationwide, and to the halls of Congress, definitions of “defund” differ. The idea has momentum, with governments responding and revising almost by the moment. However defund ultimately is defined — different ways in different places, no doubt — if the demand leads toward meaningful reform, it will do some good.

When I asked Mayor Lori Lightfoot at a news conference this week what “defunding” means to her, she first mentioned underinvestment in “black and brown Chicago.” Then turning to the narrower question of the Chicago Police Department itself, Lightfoot focused on leveraging the 16-month-old, court-monitored police consent decree.

Read the rest at

David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative journalism and policy advocacy.

Greising’s career started at the City News Bureau of Chicago, with stops at the Chicago Sun-Times, Business Week magazine, the Chicago Tribune and Reuters. He was a co-founder of the Chicago News Cooperative and worked briefly as a consultant to World Business Chicago. Today, Greising writes on government issues in regular columns for the Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business.

Under Greising’s leadership, the BGA has played a key role in uncovering public corruption amidst the wide-ranging federal probe, starting with an in-depth report about Ald. Ed Burke’s conflicts of interest before the federal charges against Burke. The BGA also has exposed waste and fraud at O’Hare and the proliferation of corruption and poverty into Dolton, Lyons and other Chicago suburbs. The BGA’s policy team has led calls for ethics reform in Chicago’s City Council and in state government.