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LOS ANGELES Tuesday, June 30th 2015 1:18

 IT'S ABOUT R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Using The N-Word

Clinton Galloway
WHO WE ARE-Somehow it has become acceptable to use racial slurs as long as they are directed at yourself. The fact is they are rarely directed at you but to someone else. The most glaring example of this is the use of the N-word. I need say no more because we all understand what the N-word is. The extensive use of the word in modern hip-hop and…

‘LA Is Not Designed To Work’

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-The City of Los Angeles is a sprawling enterprise with 32,000 employees and an annual budget of $8.6 billion. But according to Rick Cole, the City’s former Deputy Mayor for Budget and Innovation, “LA is not designed to work." Our City’s operations are relatively simple compared to Los Angeles County and other large cities such as New…

SCOTUS Supports the People, Okays California’s Citizen-Driven Redistricting Commission

Deirdre Fulton
NO MORE SECRET BACKROOMS RUN BY POLITICIANS-In a decision hailed as a "major victory for voters," the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld an Arizona ballot initiative, adopted by voters in 2000, which took redistricting power away from elected politicians and gave it to a nonpartisan commission. The 5-4 decision (pdf), which saw Justice Anthony…

To Latinos Trump Is Bad News

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-This past week businessman Donald Trump announced that he will seek the 2016 Republican nomination for President. We all paid attention to his speech, not for great policy ideas but because he said that “When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending the best. They're not sending you, they're sending people that have lots of…

Supreme Court Aftermath: Meet the New Haters, As Repugnant as the Old Haters

Ken Alpern
HATE POLITICS-The Supreme Court has spoken...again and again and again. And now we're encountering a group of New Haters, as repugnant as the Old Haters, as we discover who is REALLY on the side of Love, Country and Humanity versus that once-marginalized group of emotionally- and intellectually-stunted individuals who now somehow think they're not…

About Time! Neighborhood Councils, NC Alliances: More Comment Time at City Council

Erik Sanjurjo
GUEST WORDS-On Saturday, Council President Herb Wesson gave the keynote speech before the 100+ Neighborhood Council board members and stakeholders gathered for NC Budget Day in City Hall. He announced that in the next Council term he will be folding in neighborhood council related issues under his Rules & Elections Committee, partly to help…

Councilman Parks Sidewalk Repair Plan: Bypass Union Workers

Sharon McNary
CITY HALL-The city of Los Angeles has fallen so far behind on sidewalk repairs, it took a lawsuit to get officials to guarantee more than a billion dollars for repairs. It could take years before the work reaches residential areas because the city must still come up with a strategy for which sidewalks to fix first. But some neighborhoods are…

I Never Believed This Would Happen In My Lifetime

Andrew Sullivan
GUEST WORDS-As Gandhi never quite said … First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they attack you. Then you win. I remember one of the first TV debates I had on the then-strange question of civil marriage for gay couples. It was Crossfire, as I recall, and Gary Bauer’s response to my rather earnest argument after my TNR cover-story on…

Changing the Way We See Ourselves: Every American Should Adopt a Second Country

Andrés Martinez
TRADE WINDS-About 10 minutes into the soccer game, Sebastian’s cries of “here,” “behind you,” and “cross it” became cries of “aquí,” “atrás,” and “al centro.” I’d never heard so much Spanish voluntarily pour out of my ten-year-old. There is nothing like a hunger for the ball. And nothing like full immersion in a foreign language. I brought…

 



Thu Jul 30, 2015 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM
A Taste of Chatsworth


Golden Oldie-Johnnie Carson & Betty White-Adam and Eve

Rude. Rude. Rude … orchestra deals with rude cell caller

Whoa! More than 280 million hits. Taylor Swift hit-Bad Blood

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Who Is Going to Represent Us?

LA WATCHDOG -On Friday, May 4, at the invitation of City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee, 12 representatives of the Coalition of LA City Unions made an unprecedented presentation to this committee in an attempt to avert the layoff of 231 City employees.

And while this informative two hour presentation was designed to provoke further dialogue and negotiations with the Mayor and the City Council, what was also interesting is what was not discussed on the floor of the City Council.  

The well prepared union representatives rightfully claimed that the proposed layoffs would result in an even further lessening of City services.  Even wannabe-mayor Controller Wendy Greuel intervened with a four minute speech saying that layoffs were not the solution, once again invoking her old standby line of waste, fraud, and abuse.


There was also the very valid discussion of how it makes little sense for the LAPD to replace 157 knowledgeable civilian workers with specialized expertise with higher paid, but inexperienced police officers, especially when those officers should be on the street.

The union representatives referenced their history of helping “balance” past budgets, whether through the elimination of almost 5,000 positions through early retirements and transfers to proprietary and special revenue departments, or through contract modifications that lowered the City’s projected contributions for pensions and health care.  

But most of the two hour presentation focused on the Coalition’s ten solutions designed to provide the City with over $100 million in savings and revenues, more than enough to offset the $20 million “savings” from the proposed layoffs.

The most significant and intriguing solution, the “sweeping” of appropriated and encumbered but unspent funds from City departments would result in a cash infusion into the General Fund of $60 million.

Other solutions for the General Fund included the implementation of recommendations by the Commission on Revenue Efficiency ($10-$25 million), the more efficient collection of reimbursements for ambulance services ($11 million), borrowings to finance capital improvements ($7.5 million), lower contributions to the Reserve Fund ($9 million), and voluntary ambulance and first aid fees ($10 million).

However, and most importantly, there was no discussion about how to eliminate the Structural Deficit, where the City’s expenditures are growing faster than its revenues, where the average deficit over the following four years exceeds $250 million a year, and where the four year cumulative deficit is more than $1 billion.

And underlying the rapid increase in expenditures is the out of control escalation in salaries, medical benefits, and pension contributions.  

During the profligate Villaraigosa era, personnel expense has increased by estimated $1.3 billion, where salaries (excluding overtime) have increased by almost 25% and benefits have increased by 50%.  And when combined with the projected increases over the next four years, the total increase in salaries, benefits, pensions, and workers’ compensation will more than likely exceed a whopping $2 billion, crowding out most other programs, including the repair and maintenance of our streets and infrastructure.  

Nor was there any conversation about the desperate need for money to repair our rapidly deteriorating infrastructure such as our streets, sidewalks, curbs, parks, buildings and facilities, street lights, and information technology systems.  

Nor was there any discussion about the Early Retirement Incentive Program where 2,400 employees were offered over $350 million in retirement benefits plus another $30-50 million in cash to retire early, a total package approaching $170,000 per early retiree.

Nor was there any discussion about the shenanigans and gimmicks employed by the City to lower its contributions to its two pension plans that are already $10 billion underwater, and that is assuming overly optimistic investment returns.

Nor was there any discussion about interim budget solutions if the City fails to meet its overly aggressive revenue goals or the gimmicky solutions fail to generate the necessary cash.

But the utter lack of any concrete analysis and discussion about the Mayor’s Proposed Budget and the City’s pending insolvency is not surprising since the Mayor, City Council President Herb Wesson, and their cronies on the City Council have all agreed to “kick the can down the road” for another year so as not to upset the apple cart during an election year.  

We have already seen some showboating by mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel, but neither has offered any meaningful solutions to the City’s Structural Deficit or pending insolvency because those solutions would upset their Partners in Labor, the campaign funding unions.

Rather, we have seen the Coalition of LA City Unions flex their political muscles on the floor of the City Council as its dozen representatives made an “historic” two hour presentation to the members of the Budget and Finance Committee.  

So who is representing us, the 99% who do not occupy City Hall, who have zero control over the City’s out of control spending, and who have to endure our lunar cratered streets?

And do you trust the Mayor and the members of the City Council who have been kissing the rings of the campaign funding unions?   

Angelenos must demand that the City reform its finances by placing a charter amendment on the ballot that requires the City to “Live Within its Means,” where multiyear budgets are balanced based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, where our infrastructure is repaired and maintained, where our pension plans are funded, and where no new spending is authorized unless there is actual funding.

While it is unlikely that we can toss the fiscally irresponsible bums out of office given the financial muscle of the campaign funding unions, we can flex our muscles at the ballot box by rejecting any increases in taxes and fees.

Without real reform, the Mayor, the City Council, and the other City Hall ring kissers can say goodbye to any new taxes and fees.  

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at:   lajack@gmail.com) –cw

Tags: Jack Humphreville, LA Watchdog, LA Unions, City Budget, City Council, Mayor Villaraigosa, LAPD, Wendy Greuel, Eric Garcetti, union campaign support, union campaign contributions










CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 39
Pub: May 15, 2012

 

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