POLITICS - Listen closely to the hot air and cold-blooded lies that rookie Councilmen Joe Buscaino and Mitch Englander spewed out at Wednesday’s meeting to win support for the largest bond issue in the LA history — a $3 billion property tax increase.
Their argument in favor of putting the bond issue on the May ballot to fix the city’s potholed and crumbling streets — 31 percent in poor or failed condition, few in good condition — amounts to an indictment of six decades of City Hall leadership and its neglect of this most basic responsibility.
As you have heard if you took the trouble to listen, they gloss over the truth and rewrite the history of the last 20 years by claiming City Hall is doing a great job in infrastructure repair even though they have to admit we have long had the worst streets in America — proof if any were needed that we have the worst city government in America.
They were followed on the Council stage by the bureaucrat in charge of street maintenance, Nazario Sauceda, who has trouble reading his PowerPoint presentation as if it were written by someone else, even getting confused about whether 8,100 miles of streets are in desperate need of repair or ten times that. Streets
He claims without any evidence that 30,000 jobs will be created, that project labor agreements with unions and contractors will help train thousands of workers, that safeguards like “independent audits” and “citizen oversight” will prevent the money from being ripped off as usual — measures that have proven totally inadequate to prevent scandalous abuses over school, community college and city bond issues in the past.
What followed was a parade of ordinary citizens, each given just one minute to comment. Most of them were cyclists who demanded bike lanes everywhere as the price of their support and a few pedestrians who want $1 billion more to fix the treacherous sidewalks. No one noted it has been 30 years since the city has even has a policy on who is responsible for broken sidewalks, the city or property owners.
There also were a couple of community activists who spoke including civic leader Jack Humphreville who wanted to know whether they even had a detailed study to back up this proposal and how they could have the audacity to propose it with fixing the pension crisis, the budget crisis or any of the other failures of the city to serve the citizenry.
A majority of the Council signed onto this proposal when it was introduced, waived through all committees and brought to the full Council within a week.
The outrageous haste to slurry cover their failure for decades prompted the Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates and NC Coalition to demand a 60-day delay so the proposal could be examined by the nearly 100 NCs in the city.
Council President Herb Wesson, the dictator with a smiley face, recognized their importance and delayed a vote for six days until next Tuesday so the masters of manipulation at City Hall can figure out a way to get around them before the Jan. 30 deadline to put it on the ballot.
All I can say is if we let them get away with this as we have for 60 years of failed leadership, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Know full well that if they get away with this, they will be able to get away with anything they want whenever they want.
(Ron Kaye is the former editor of the Daily News and founder of the Saving LA Project, SLAP. Contact him at [email protected]. )
Vol 11 Issue 4
Pub: Jan 11, 2013