Mon, Aug

Dick Riordan: Doomsayer-in-Chief

INSIDE POLITICS - Being a Doomsayer means that every silver lining has a dark cloud around it.
Gov. Jerry Brown has been a persistent doomsayer in his reincarnation, and former Mayor Richard Riordan continues with his dire warnings about state and city finances.

When Brown vetoed the state budget last week, he created a new group of doomsayers at the County Hall of Administration - those who are scrambling to figure out how to pay for public programs the state is handing off to them.

And Riordan has continued his mantra that Los Angeles is headed toward financial insolvency.
In an interview last week with Bond Buyer finance magazine, he said the soaring costs of funding public pensions are having a detrimental ripple effect on services.

"A lot of things are going to happen dramatically over the next couple of years and then people will listen," Riordan said. "If you close down all the parks and all the libraries, this is political dynamite."
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has challenged Riordan's assertions, pointing to cuts the city has made over the past three years - more than $1 billion - and reducing the city's structural deficit.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, who is in the middle of a road show to bankers and bond raters, said he also is finding an appreciation for what the city has done.

"They recognize the changes we have made to reduce our work force and cut our structural deficit," Santana said. "I am finding a much warmer reception these days then I did a year ago.

"Unlike prior administration, the mayor and council have been willing to make the tough decisions to manage the city's finances."

Santana said all the major ratings agencies recently adjusted the city to their highest levels, making it less expensive when it sells bonds or needs to borrow money. (More Rick Orlov)

(Rick Orlov covers City Hall for the dailynews.com.  His Tipoff column appears Mondays. For a daily political fix, go to the Sausage Factory at insidesocal.com/politics. You can contact him at   [email protected] ) –cw

Tags: Governor Jerry Brown, Brown, doomsayers, Richard Riordan, city finances, city budget, Miguel Santana, CAO

Vol 9 Issue 49
Pub: June 21, 2011