“We are so vain that we even care for the opinion of those we don’t care for.” — German novelist Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach.
Faced with an admitted budget deficit of $530 million that is rising rapidly and doubling and tripling in the following years, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa isn’t thinking of the welfare of the city and its four million residents.
He only has eyes for himself, according to this report on the Engineers and Architects Association website with regard to a proposal to offer early retirement to city workers:
“APRIL 9, 2009 - The third meeting started at
approximately 3:00 PM today. In attendance were representatives from
most of the City Unions whose members participate in LACERS. In
attendance for EAA were BOG President Michael Davies, Patti Loparo, and
The meeting started with a presentation from Thomas Saenz and Julie Gutman
representing the Mayor. Saenz told the group that the Mayor couldn’t
implement the retirement incentive program by itself, even though it would
save the City $219 million in budget year 2009/10. He explained that the
Mayor was concerned with how he would be “received by the public, taxpayers,
and media”. Saenz told the group that the Mayor would have another
proposal to present to us on Tuesday, April 14th , at 10:00 AM.”
So here we are at a critical juncture in the city’s history and the mayor who wants to be governor is more worried about what the “public, taxpayers, and media” will think about him than how he will solve the budget catastrophe he created despite massive increases in taxes, fees and rates under his leadership.
Instead, he is talking about firing 5,000 city workers, reducing city services, raising fees and rates yet again and negotiating a scheme in back rooms to mortgage the city’s future by selling off its parking revenue for generations to come.
It is, after all, all about Antonio. That’s why we work and struggle, that we see our federal income tax cuts meant to stimulate the economy going down the drain of the city treasury, that we see federal stimulus dollars going into the hand of social welfare programs that aren’t the city’s responsibility and into the pockets of developers and real estate speculators.
We have the word of the mayor’s lawyer, Deputy Mayor Thomas Saenz for this and should be grateful for his honesty.
Saenz is the former top lawyer for MALDEF who’s nomination by President Obama to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division was withdrawn because of the potential controversy that would surround his appointment. He and Julie Gutman, a former lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board who now draws a six-figure salary as a Board of Public Works commissioner, have been negotiating with city unions for several months.