Fri07032015

Last updateThu, 02 Jul 2015 6pm

LOS ANGELES Friday, July 3rd 2015 4:42

 OUR 4TH OF JULY DIFFERENCES

The Declaration of Independence Meant Something Different to America’s Not So Independent Slaves

Amy Goodman
WHO WE ARE-“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” asked Frederick Douglass (photo above) of the crowd gathered at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, NY, on July 5, 1852. “I answer,” he continued, “a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which lie is the constant victim. To him,…

Trumping Trump: Shun the Donald, Boycott His Palos Verdes Golf Course

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-I believe that it's really Donald Trump's hair. I seem to be unique in this belief. It's nice to be unique in some way, but what bothers me is that I have also been nearly unique, until now, in arguing that Trump should be shunned and boycotted. But times change. It's been a traumatic week both for Donald Trump and for the…

LA’s Sidewalks: Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-The City of Los Angeles is expected to spend $1.4 billion over the next 30 years to repair our sidewalks pursuant to a Settlement Agreement involving the Willits class action lawsuit that alleged that the City was not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. While the yet to be disclosed Settlement Agreement appears to…

Is It Really a Golden State or Is It Just One of Those Hollywood Illusions?

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-Is Los Angeles really part of a Golden State or is it a place to remember as you move to greener pastures? I pose this question following my recent visit to Chicago and other cities east of the Rockies. My travels to the east coast were part of my reserve LAPD duty. I was part of the group of LAPD Reserve Officers escorting the…

Want to Save The Bullet Train, Governor … Get Better Bullet Points!

Ken Alpern
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-George W. Bush had Iraq. Barack Obama has ObamaCare. And Jerry Brown has HIS bullet train. Not OUR bullet train, mind you, but HIS bullet train. And like Iraq, and like ObamaCare, the bullet train that was meant to help all of us, and which was promoted with great fanfare and wonderful intentions, has to survive the test of…

LA: Hit-and-Run Capital of the World May Be Getting an Alert System

Damien Newton
LA’S STREETS - After last week’s warning that CA Assemblymember Mike Gatto’s legislation to create a “Yellow Alert” system was imperiled by Senate Transportation and Housing Committee staff and the California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) objections, there was a feeling of a looming showdown before today’s committee hearing. Assembly Bill 8 would create…

LA’s Citywide Sign Ordinance: By, For and Of Special Interests

Barbara Broide
IRATE PRIVATE CITIZEN’S OPEN LETTER-I write this letter not as a representative of my local homeowners association or neighborhood council, both of which have come out in support of the sign ordinance that limits new signage to sign districts in specified commercially zoned areas and who seek enforcement of and the issuance of citations to signs…

Now Is the Time For True Courage

Abby Zimet
FURTHER-Britanny 'Bree' Newsome - the filmmaker, organizer, activist and aspiring Super-Woman who memorably, determinedly climbed the flagpole at South Carolina's capitol to remove the Confederate flag - has spoken out for the first time about her feat, which she views "both as an act of civil disobedience and as a demonstration of the power…

When Did the American Civil War Really End and … Did Shenandoah Really Save the Whales?

Paul Hatfield
PERSPECTIVE - When did the American Civil War end? Could it really have been late June or early November of 1865? April 9, 1865 is the date widely accepted, and for good reason: it marked the surrender of General Lee’s army at Appomattox, Virginia. It was a foregone conclusion that other field commands would quickly follow suit. In fact, they did,…

 

  • Costco: Free Range Liars!

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS POLITICS-Eight years ago grocery retailer Costco (COST) pledged to transition out of using eggs from chickens in small cages to cage free…
  • 10 Things Over-Thinkers Are Tired Of Over-Thinking

    Lindsay Holmes
    WELLNESS-While writing this intro, I deleted the first paragraph approximately six times. My thoughts ranged from "Just get to the point already" to…
  • Can Procrastination Give You a Heart Attack?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-A study posted in the journal of behavioral medicine linked procrastination with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Specifically…



Sun Jul 05, 2015 @ 5:00PM - 09:00PM
Twilight in the Garden: Little Tokyo Concert Series
Thu Jul 16, 2015 @12:00AM
LA Equality Awards RSVP
Thu Jul 30, 2015 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM
A Taste of Chatsworth


Fail! Fail! Americans don’t know why we celebrate the 4th of July

Awwww! Tornado separates dog and owner … dog waits!

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

LA on Edge of Bankruptcy … What Happened to the Daylight?

PERSPECTIVE - Every career politician currently serving in City Hall will deny that bankruptcy is an option for the City of Los Angeles.

Don’t get me wrong – bankruptcy is something I would like to see the city avoid, but if our present officials do not deal with growing cost of retirement and health benefits, we will head down that path.
The problem is that the City Council and Mayor live in a virtual reality where public employee unions rule at any cost.

Many experts talk about the unfunded pension liability of public retirement plans and how it will bring municipalities down.  They are correct.  Unfortunately, the solid math behind these calculations is enough to make your eyes glaze over. If you ever want to get rid of houseguests who have overstayed their welcome, just talk about unfunded liabilities and they will be out the door within five minutes. I can offer a few other accounting subjects if you are interested or just invite me over for dinner and I will guarantee that the evening will end by 9 PM.

Unfortunately, most registered voters in Los Angeles react with the same disinterest when it comes to this complex subject.  They don’t realize it is no different from the negative amortization that was at the root of much of the nation’s mortgage crisis. You can’t keep piling on accrued debt and not expect to pay the bill.

The city does not have the power to create money as the federal government does. If it does not restructure its labor contracts (either through bankruptcy or renegotiation) the only choices left are to pass these costs on to the residents in one of two ways:  higher taxes and/or fewer services.

Since higher taxes are a hard sell (and who could blame taxpayers for their reluctance to pay more for incompetence), our elected officials are committed to reducing services.

The city’s Chief Administrative Officer, Miguel Santana, projects that retirement benefits will consume over 30% of the general fund within a few short years – that’s up from 20% today. That is a 50% increase in retirement costs with no services to show for the added drain on the city’s treasury. That is a ratio the public can understand, but it underreported in the local media and rarely discussed in town hall meetings with city officials.

That’s unfortunate.

As long as they can turn the lights on, take a shower, flush the toilet and drive on the streets, residents will not care if city employee compensation is strangling the general fund. They will not notice that services and quality of life are slowly but steadily eroding.

It is what I refer to as virtual bankruptcy.  It is an insidious process that strips away expectations by gradually lowering the bar of service.  Our leaders know that and are counting on us to not compare performance levels from year to year. For example, how frequently does the average person call for assistance from the fire department?  Not very often. For most of us, we cannot recall how long it took for emergency services to respond to our last 911 call. There is no frame of reference.

Eventually, a tipping point will be reached.  It will be similar to what many of us experience around early September. After over two months of diminishing daylight we suddenly realize that the days have become shorter – no more time for an evening walk after a hard day’s work; night closes in earlier; we hunker down by 7 PM and watch one-sided cable news shows to ward off the gloom.

And just like in the Direct TV commercials, we get mad. We pick up the phone and call our city council members and give them an earful.  They finally listen because our votes cannot be taken for granted any longer. If they don’t, they end up tarred and feathered.

So, the question is, when will night fall on the City of Los Angeles?

Will it be too late before we notice?

Will we all end up in anger management?

Will our officials be tarred and feathered?

(Paul Hatfield is a CPA and serves as Treasurer for the Neighborhood Council Valley Village.  He blogs at Village to Village, contributes to CityWatch and can be reached at:  phinnoho@aol.com)
–cw

Tags: Paul Hatfield, City Hall, City Council, bankruptcy, Los Angeles, unions, LA unions, Miguel Santana







CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 39
Pub: May 15, 2012

Share