EDITOR’S NOTE: You can vote on whether to cut our city elected officials’ salaries should be cut in half at OurLA.org — the community-based online non-profit newspaper for all of LA which is now in beta test.
They are the nation’s highest paid municipal officials – the Mayor, City Attorney, Controller and 15 Council members.
But they don’t earn their pay, their squadrons of staff members, free cars, slush funds or long list of perks.
They are guilty of turning politics into a pay-to-play scam, selling out the public to unions, developers, contractors, lobbyists and anyone else buy them expensive meals with costly wines, stuff bundles of $1,000 checks into their campaign war chests or otherwise keep them in office.
They have squandered billions of dollars and run up massive budget deficits that mean basic services to the public are being slashed and make the prospect of bankruptcy the most likely way out of LA’s financial troubles.
They tripled the trash fee with the promise of hiring more cops but put the money into the pockets of all city workers, used the DWP cash cow and its soaring power and water rates to fund useless poverty programs, allowed over-development to ruin the quality of life, bungled everything from billboards to pot shops, killed hopes for a new Children’s Museum and revived Southwest Museum while putting hundreds of millions of dollars into hands of billionaire Phil
Anschutz and his LA Live and Staples Center projects.
Their crimes against the people would fill an indictment dozens of pages long if each of the city’s nearly four million citizens were given the opportunity to list their grievances.
Now, the time has come for them to pay the bill for their failure. Their are many changes that need to be made to right the ship of the city but let’s start with making is simple and personal.
Let’s cut their salaries in half.
That means the Council members’ $180,000 salaries would drop to $90,000, which is more or less when other big cities pay their legislators. Cut in half, the Controller would get roughly $100,000, the City Attorney $110,000 and Mayor $120,000.
On Saturday, participants in the Saving LA Project’s Town Hall voted 23-1 to take the lead in organizing the campaign for a half-off sale at City Hall — something that might send our public servants the message that they have lost the confidence of the people..
To cut our elected officials’ salaries in half will only take a slight change in the City Charter’s Article II, Section 218 (a) (1):
“Members of the City Council shall be paid a salary equal to that prescribed by law for judges …The Controller shall be paid a salary that is 10% more than that of a Council member…The City Attorney shall be paid a salary that is 20% more than that of a Council member. The Mayor shall be paid a salary that is 30% more than that of a Council member.”
All that we have to do is insert the word “half” after equal and princes and princesses will be brought to the economic earth where the rest of us are trying to make ends meet.
Doug Epperhart of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council proposed the Charter Amendment and will head the organizing committee to mount what will require a massive public campaign to get the salary reduction measure on the ballot.
Some 240,000 valid signatures on petitions will be needed and we’ll have six months to gather them once the Charter Amendment is certified.
There’s a lot of things of greater importance in the grand scheme of things that need to be fixed but let’s start somewhere that everyone can understand.