Thu05282015

Last updateMon, 25 May 2015 2pm

LOS ANGELES Thursday, May 28th 2015 12:51

WAGE RAISE RAGE

  • WHO WE ARE-Nearly half of Los Angeles just gave itself a raise. Following a wave of state and local minimum-wage bills and initiatives, Los Angeles became one of the largest cities to dramatically raise its hourly base pay and join Seattle to hit the magic $15-an-hour demand pushed by labor and community groups nationwide. The City Council…
  • ​City Snookered by Westfield Billionaires

    Jack Humphreville
    LA WATCHDOG-In March of 2014, the Herb Wesson led City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti approved a 25 year, $48 million giveaway to help the $28.5 billion Westfield Corporation finance its $250 million development, The Village at Westfield Topanga. (Photo) But this subsidy championed by Councilman Bob Blumenfield was hardly necessary as The Village…
  • Slick With Denial: ‘Self-Regulation’ and the Latest Oil Spill

    Judith Lewis Mernit
    HISTORY LESSONS IGNORED-On Wednesday, May 20, the day after a Santa Barbara County fire inspector discovered a stream of contaminated crude oil flowing onto a pristine segment of the Southern California coast, a group of researchers published a study linking the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to a mass die-off of bottlenose dolphins. The 46…
  • Scaremongering about the Patriot Act Sunset

    Jameel Jaffer
    FALSE CLAIMS EXPOSED-In a last-ditch effort to scare lawmakers into preserving unpopular and much-abused surveillance authorities, the Senate Republican leadership and some intelligence officials are warning that allowing Section 215 of the Patriot Act to sunset would compromise national security. (One particularly crass example from Senator…
  • Still the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave

    Ken Alpern
    ALPERN AT LARGE-It's been another year and another successful Flag Placement at the West Los Angeles National Cemetery. Crawling out of bed in the morning on a holiday weekend to show up bright and early for a show of American patriotism and respect to our veterans and fallen heroes, the region and nation saw yet again how the Boy Scouts, Girl…
  • Retaliation: VA Police Target Veterans

    Robert L. Rosebrock
    LOS ANGELES – Recently, I was interviewed by John Ismay, an Iraqi War Veteran who is the “Veterans and Military Issues Reporter” for Southern California Public Radio. We met at the Los Angeles VA to discuss the never-ending misappropriation of land at this largest VA in the nation, within our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans. We were…
  • City Controller’s Grandstanding DWP Audit is the Real Waste of Ratepayer Dollars

    Dennis Zine
    JUST THE FACTS-City Controller Ron Galperin’s Grandstanding DWP Audit results were finally released. Unfortunately, the conclusion and political spin that came afterwards from the controller was misleading. Here are the FACTS: The DWP’s Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute are administered by DWP managers and representatives of the…
  • A Place Where ‘Special Interest’ is NOT a Dirty Word

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-We need to have a new word to differentiate the villainous “Special Interest” that everyone is always complaining about and the “Special Interest” that almost all of politicians and civic and social activists have adopted as a cause. It is impossible to have passion about multiple issues. I know I have mentioned this before, but it seems…
  • Alert! America’s Small Businesses are Being Screwed by Big Business

    Robert Reich
    THE ECONOMY-Can it be that America’s small businesses are finally waking up to the fact they’re being screwed by big businesses? For years, small-business groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses have lined up behind big businesses lobbies. (Photo: small businesses in Studio City) They’ve contributed to the same Republican…

 

  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…




ICYMI-Amy Schumer shows Dave her vagina

Remembering Ann Meara: 1929-2015

The Star Spangled Banner … like you’ve never heard it before

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

LA’s City Hall: Mired in the Moment … Missing a Vision for the Future

RETHINKING LA - The City of LA’s ongoing budget crisis has allowed a triage mentality to permeate throughout City Hall, framing the ongoing debate over our future in the negative and conditioning the public to focus on what they can give up rather than what they want.

Each year the Mayor’s office gathers with neighborhood council representatives to solicit feedback on the Mayor’s Budget, a process that typically starts with “Where can we cut City Services in order to balance the budget?” and concludes with “Well, we had no choice!”
Along the way, the public is re  assured that the decimation of city departments and the continued restriction of city services are inevitable and acceptable, after all, “We’re in the middle of an economic meltdown and it’s not our fault.”

This results in a commitment to the negative, a focus on the worst case scenario and a complete abdication of responsibility, all of which leads the city to engage in cost recovery revenue enhancements that are predatory and regressive.

If the City of LA is going to weather the current storm of unemployment, homelessness, home foreclosures, collapsing infrastructure, and crisis-mode delivery of city services, it must start with a resolution to get positive.

There are some who have set their focus so low that simple survival is considered a worthy accomplishment but I would contend that demonstrates a lack of vision and a failure to commit to success.

As the current budget process gets underway, it’s reasonable to ask a few hard questions of the Mayor, of the departmental managers, and of our City Council.

1) What successful municipal authorities have weathered the same economic storm that put LA on the rocks and what can we learn from their success?

Hint: Look to the LA County Board of Supervisors and take note of the contrast between the different strategies for prevailing during economic turbulence. The Supervisors negotiate contracts that will work through thick and thin while the City of LA squanders when it’s ahead and issues promises when it’s behind.

2) What successful municipal authorities have increased revenue without inflicting higher fees, fines, and penalties on its residents and businesses?

Hint: Look to Boston and take note of their economic growth, an increase of 4.8% in 2010, and their ranking as the sixth most economically powerful city in the world. Boston has created an “Innovation District” that is designed to bring major biotechnology business to town while LA still struggles with permits for sidewalk dining outside small cafes.

3) What successful municipal authorities have increased efficiencies in the delivery of city services without increasing costs?

Hint: Look to Long Beach and try to find the Department of Transportation. You won’t. You’ll find Public Works and within it you will find people working together on transportation, engineering, street services, etc. You’ll also find funding experts who represent a city 1/8th the size of LA yet when they go to the same funding sources, they ask for five times as much as LA and they get it. They prevailed because they had the audacity to think big and to go to work.

The people of Los Angeles have a right to leadership that is focused on a vision for the future, not simply a deferential survival of the storm, but a strong commitment to highly functional city machine that delivers city services and moves LA forward, confidently and successfully.

It’s time to reject the traditional budget triage and to reframe the debate, starting with the tough questions for the Mayor, the City Council and the department chiefs.

The LA Times took a shot at asking the candidates for Council District 15 some tough questions, but years of service to a sinking ship has left the editorial staff unable to come up with anything other than “Is there anything the city currently does that it should no longer be doing?” and “One more time: Because you acknowledge we have to cut something, is there anything the city doesn't need to do? Anything we could or should cut or leave to someone else?”

Missing from the interviews are questions that address a vision for LA’s future, the establishment of goals for the city and its departments, oversight and accountability of those performance goals, and a firm commitment for establishing outside revenue streams.

Of course, it’s not up to the LA Times to hold City Hall accountable, it’s up to us, the people of LA, and it starts with a resolution to reframe the debate and insist on a positive approach to the future that is built on a Great City vision.

(Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at: Stephen@thirdeyecreative.net.)
–cw

Tags: Stephen Box, positive thinking, positive approach, be positive, LA County, Boston, Long Beach, City Council, budget, Mayor’s budget, City budget, vision, vision for LA, LA vision, Los Angeles






CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 2
Pub: Jan 6, 2012

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