isn’t alone when it comes to failed political leadership.
As far as I’m concerned, every single elected city and county and state
official has failed us, failed in their sworn duty to serve the people and work
for the common good. They are all failures, period. That’s all I’ve got to say
That’s why I’m voting against all the state propositions on the ballot. They’ve
gotten their hands on hundreds of billions of dollars, trillions probably, in
the first nine years of the 21st century and what in god’s name have they done
with the money.
Are the schools better? The roads? The quality of life? The economic
opportunities? The air, the water the sea, the land? Our health, our sense of
community, our confidence in our government, our hopes for the future?
You tell me cause I just don’t see things getting better.
They have twice in these years pushed the state to the brink of bankruptcy with
their hollow ideological confrontations and now the city is falling into line
with its inflated salaries, ineffective policies and its pay-to-play political
games that pervade City Hall with the stench of corruption that has gone from
the world of morality to the world of criminality.
They have failed us and they must pay the price.
If any of our elected officials have even a small commitment to public service
left, they would not take a single cent of pay until they fixed what they have
broken and started to solve problems and make government work for the people
instead of themselves and the special interests who keep them in office.
That’s why I’m voting to send the state budget problem back to the people who
are responsible for it. In their humiliating failure, they have audaciously put
before voters an unintelligible hodge-podge of self-contradictory measures that
do nothing to solve the real problem of state waste, inefficiency, misguided
priorities and just plain overspending.
I won’t even vote for cutting their pay 10 percent. If they have any
self-respect, they will give it all up when voters repudiate what is being put
before them on Tuesday.
Let them go back to work and do what they should have done years ago: Balance
the revenue they get with the expenditures they make. Let them put every dollar
spent on a priority list and when they run out of cash, cut what’s left.
That’s what they should have done a long time ago. But they didn’t because
nobody would like it. Not business, not labor, not left, not right, not you,
and certainly not me.
They haven’t done that because we would have voted them out of office if we saw
the consequences of decades of misrule. The bills must come due before we have
any chance to revive the fortunes of our state.
And our city, for that matter.
As the City Council on Monday takes up a budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year
with a $326 million hole after two weeks of hearings exposed the truth about
the mayor’s spending plan: It is a work of fiction unworthy of publication.
His failure was compounded by infuriating his allies in the unions by pulling
an early retirement package just as a deal was being reached and now coming
back with a payoff of up to $50,000 for those city workers who are on the
layoff list of thousands.
Clearly, he had this in mind when he referred to city workers as a class as
The number of layoffs, buyouts or early retirement will reach into the thousands
unless the full Council backs its Budget Committee in its decision to let 520
officers retire without being replaced — a direct slap in the face of the
mayor and his symbolic goal of 10,000 cops no matter what it costs.
Police Chief William Bratton, in his unrestrained arrogance that recalls the
darkest days in LAPD’s history, threw gasoline on the fire by issuing a
threatening statement from one of those faraway places where he spends so much
of his time.
Councilman Bill Rosendahl demanded an apology when Bratton warned him that his
decision to halt police hiring to save other jobs and public services would
cost his Westside district 25 to 30 patrol officers. Let that be a warning to
everyone on the council.
These are people without any excuse for their failure.
They are the nation’s highest paid municipal officials with armies of staff and
support at their disposal. Yet, they all too often know little about what they
voting on even as they vote unanimously to do it.
None of them has a record of standing up for the public interest on any
They preen and posture at televised council meetings and at public events and
do most of their business behind closed doors so scrutiny is difficult. I can
assure you they have engaged in a serial meeting through staff and bureaucrats
throughout the weekend in violation of state law.
Their debate on the budget starting Monday will be more theater than substance
and they certainly won’t make any final decisions on the eve of an election.
Jack Weiss is not only one of them. He is the worst of them. His election as
City Attorney would be a catastrophe, killing any hope for reform short of a
That knowledge alone should be enough to ensure a landslide victory for Carmen
“Nuch” Trutanich. Fortunately, he’s also a better man than Jack
Weiss and better lawyer than Jack Weiss by far.
Paul Koretz is no Jack Weiss. But he has been part of the failure of state
government for six years, and will feel right at home in the culture of City
Hall. He’ll look after the same special interests as Weiss has in his eight
years of failed service to Council District 5.
David “Ty” Vahedi comes out of neighborhood community organizations
with a wealth of knowledge of what’s going on in our communities and the
commitment to give them a voice at City Hall.
Vahedi carries the hope for change. And so do Tina Park and Robert Nakahiro in
the runoff elections for the bond-rich LA Community College Board. Incumbents
Angela Reddock and Nancy Pearlman — like fellow board member and ideological
brother Kelly Candaele — represent more of the same.
Our world is in crisis and we must change. This election gives us the chance to
impose our will and force reform. That’s why I’m voting against the state
ballot measures and for the new faces in local political offices.