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LOS ANGELES Tuesday, August 4th 2015 10:49

 LA'S UPSET NEIGHBORHOODS

People are Pissed! Can a Revolution be Far Behind

Dick Platkin and George Abrahams
LA IN MOTION-Throughout LA’s vast 500 square miles are many self-identified neighborhoods. Ninety-six of them have formed official Certified Neighborhood Councils (CNCs), as established by the Los Angeles City Charter. But, the real number of neighborhood groups is much larger, and they reflect tremendous differences in concerns, demographics,…

Exposed: Guess Who’s Leading the LAUSD Witch Hunt Against Teachers

Leonard Isenberg
CONSIDER THIS-How is it that the LAUSD's go-to outside law firm Sedgwick L.L.P. (that was embroiled in the Miramonte scandal and sanctioned for covering up evidence) is running teacher investigations, teacher jail, and the current witch hunt against nationally acclaimed teacher Rafe Esquith? As CityWatch has previously reported, LAUSD's latest…

DWP Ratepayers Facing Billions of $$$ in ‘Taxes’ Over the Next Five Years

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Over the next five years, the Ratepayers of our Department of Water and Power will be hit up for over $3.7 billion in taxes by City Hall as a result of the combined 20% levy on the power portion of our DWP bimonthly bill. And this does not include the billion dollar-plus price tag associated with the IBEW Labor Premium and its overly…

Politics: Let's Say Goodbye to the Snark

Ken Alpern
POLITICS FOR GROWN-UPS--It's been so long since the terms "liberal" and "conservative" were considered decent and honorable that probably most readers don't even know that they once were perfectly fine labels to bear with pride and respect. Ditto with respect to "Democrat" or "Republican". Yet after not one but two presidential eras where the…

Gang Wars: Don’t Just Send Cops to South LA

Ken Stone
URBAN PERSPECTIVE--With stepped-up police patrols continuing in South Los Angeles, community groups and clergy called on city and county officials Friday to bolster resources for gang-intervention programs and services for at-risk youth and adults. Twitter meme about Los Angeles gang violence.The groups spoke out in response to a wave of violence…

They Love Us This Much

Rick Risemberg
LA’S NEIGHBORHOODS--Yes, the photo is of a hole. Specifically, an incipient sinkhole on Hauser Boulevard where it runs through Park La Brea. It is about eight inches deep. It has been guarded for over a year by its faithful traffic cone. A companion pit behind it suffered the usual indignity of a half-baked cold-patch repair, and is now itself…

Latinos: More Concerned about the Environment than Average Americans

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-Yes it’s true, according to recent polls, Americans of Latino descent are more worried about the quality of our air, water and the alarming effects of climate change already impacting our country, than the average American. Anyone who says that Latinos are only concerned with immigration doesn’t understand the complexity of…

Hey, Councilman Koretz … Westwood is for Bikes Too!

Joel Epstein
DEAR PAUL--LA City Councilman Paul Koretz that is. Say it ain't so! How sobering to read in the LA Times and The Daily Bruin that you now not only oppose bike lanes on Westwood Blvd but also want to strike the planned lanes from the City's Mobility Plan. Such a move would be totally unprecedented and would reverse nearly a decade of bicycle…

Could Molly Knight Be Vin Scully’s Successor?

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA-For almost four decades, my summers have been passed listening to Vin Scully religiously, bemoaning the cutback in his announcing schedule and, I suppose, unconsciously preparing myself for that day when Vinny calls it a career. I am also one of those baseball fans who wears headphones and listens to Scully call a game on the…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Korea Was Made in China.





Art or Ad? LA’s mural law written in gray ink

Escape the Room-Conan goes for the record … and the laffs


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

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

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