Comment on this post

City Budget Day One: Mayor Backs Down on Water Runoff Tax — For Now

At the end of a long day of hearings on the city budget crisis, officials of the Board of Public Works and the mayor’s office admitted Monday there was no “urgency” to efforts to quadruple the storm water runoff tax and it wasn’t a budgetary problem.

The stunning admission, coming just days after the idea suddenly popped up before the City Council, came as community groups were already activating a campaign to defeat the tax measure as they did Measure B. (Earlier item)

The reasons were similar. It was not presented to Neighborhood Councils, no case was made for the tax in public, it was being rushed before voters without any facts that allowed for full debate.

In this case, there was even a subterfuge involved to use a mail ballot to the three-quarters of a million property owners and allow them 45 days to respond while officials, backed by a campaign undoubtedly well financed by contractors and unions, sought to sell on the public on paying more for something they already have agreed to put up $500 million for.

It was nothing but an attempt to get more money out of taxpayers to avoid facing the crisis caused by overspending and underperforming.

The mayor’s representative left open whether the tax hike would come back in several months, presumably with a more methodical approach and hopefully a more honest argument.

David Zahniser in the Times today quotes City Council President Eric Garcetti as saying he feared the tax would face the same fate as Measure B.

“It’s going to get killed, for now,” said Garcetti after discussing the plan at the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum.

Councilwoman Wendy Greuel said she and her colleagues were troubled by
the speed with which the proposal had moved. “A lot of questions
couldn’t be answered to show that it was ready to go.”

And Public Works Board President Cynthia Ruiz said her agency would now develop a public
outreach plan promoting the
Bureau of Sanitation efforts to remove pollutants from storm water.

What’s really appalling is that Ruiz — like other members of the board draws a six-figure salary — admitted she was pushing the tax to raise nearly $25 million a year to buffer the impact of the department actually having to come up with a 10 percent cost reduction because of the budget crisis.

In other words, the storm water tax had nothing to do with the storm water runoff program anymore than tripling the trash fee had anything to do with hiring more police officers as the mayor claimed.

It’s all about charging the public for basic services so they could pour the money into sweetheart contract and programs that they city can’t afford.

I’d suggest the first step the Public Works Department should take to reduce costs is eliminate the salaries of the board members, the only paid city commissioners. There’s never been any justification for these salaries except to create plum jobs for political insiders.

This entry was posted in City Hall, Los Angeles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to City Budget Day One: Mayor Backs Down on Water Runoff Tax — For Now

  1. Anonymous says:

    At the end of a long day of hearings on the city budget crisis, officials of the Board of Public Works and the mayor’s office admitted there was no “urgency” to efforts to quadruple the water runoff tax and it wasn’t a budgetary problem.
    The stunning admission, coming just days after the idea suddenly popped up before the City Council, came as community groups were already activating a campaign to defeat the tax measure as they did Measure B.
    THAT’S INCREDIBLE!!! I don’t know what you did to make them see common sense, but thanks for that, too!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I mean that sincerely. The community groups are making a difference!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Ron and all, progress!

  4. Sandy Sand says:

    No matter what the Times reported for their change of mind, they’re all lies.
    I think there were so many complaints, like the one I registered with Zine, they actually got scared that we’d come at them with real pitchforks and torches.
    And drop it for the time being is right! They’ll find another loophole to ooze through to separate home owners from their money, and I still want to know what happened to the original $1/2 BILLION we gave them.
    They all must be LAUSD grads, because none of them can do math or come up with a logical plan that works and doesn’t run out of money.
    It would be cheaper if they simply called in RotoRooter to clear the drains.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>