TIPPING THE ODDS FOR LA--Remember the fiscal crisis which caused the City Council to change the law so that it could issue a kind of judgement obligation bond not used since 2010? Recently we were headed toward violating the 5% Reserve Fund and instituting a plan to issue Judgment Obligation Bonds; this would have cost city taxpayers $20 million in interest over the next 10 years.
Well, good news. We’re in the clear. At least that’s what our Controller Ron Galperin said in a recent letter to the City Council. The only proviso is that all the city departments must have extra funds on hand at the end of the year, that no need arises for the reserve fund, and also, that we're ok with a 0.66% margin of error.
What’s baffling is that his rosy prediction isn’t coupled with hard and fast demands for immediate cost cutting. Why not tip the odds a little more in our favor and make some immediate cuts? Here are a few suggestions:
- Have a contract panel rate for outside law firms, as the County does.
- Rethink the $22,500,000 redo of the Channel 35 studio.
- Reign in the chief of police and thereby stop the hemorrhaging of liability payments.
- Ask Xerox to lower their special collection parking ticket fee from $35 down to $24.
- Ask for 5% back from developers who’ve received tax breaks.
- Avoid future liability by ditching the all-overtime LAPD Metro security contract.
- Curb even just 5% of the Pay-to-Play that’s going on.
- Last but certainly not least, why not have the City Council and the Mayor take 10 percent haircuts, since collectively they’re the highest paid in the country?
And if Ron Galperin is up for a little self-sacrifice … he's welcome to chip in too.
(Eric Preven and Joshua Preven are public advocates for better transparency in local government. Eric is a Studio City based writer-producer and Joshua is a teacher.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.