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Paying City Hall Officials What They’re Worth: How to Cut Their Salaries in Half

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.
half-off-sale-BLUE.jpg
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.

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20 Responses to Paying City Hall Officials What They’re Worth: How to Cut Their Salaries in Half

  1. Los Angeles City Council Candiate Frank Sheftel was in attendence and voiced support for the effort and voted with the others who passed it.
    Frank is the first candidate to take a position in support.
    Attention all you CD2 Special Election candidates, be ready for the questions.
    Do you support the effort to reduce the council salary by 50%?
    Will you provide resources to get it on the ballot?
    Will you campaign in support of the effort?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Slow down everybody. $90K is more money than these people have earned in one year anywhere else. The huge salary, pension, litttle work if any, a real opportunity for anyone.
    That is why these people worked so hard to get three terms instead of the two the people passed in a previous bill.
    What abouit a new job description? One office, one car. one secy, one deputy. And fewer
    hours for everyone on the city council. One meeting in 30 days???? Well, maybe they need more meetings than that to decide that they are all going to vote yes or no with no
    discussion., I doubt it. Committees could meet as needed in case they decide to solve
    one of our many problems. And that time could be on the time card.
    Do I sound sarcastic? Oh, dear. T. Howell

  3. Anonymous says:

    Let’s ask carpetbagger Paul Kerkorian who would be leaving his Assembly Seat to run for CD 2, if he would be willing to take $90,000 a year for the job which would be less than the Assembly seat! In fact let’s ask all that intend to run, the same question? I would be willing to bet they won’t be so interested in the job, particulary now that we are so aware of “deep pockets” or should I say “kick backs” for “special interests”! It depends on if they are looking for the money and/or the power. What happened to “serving the people”? That has never been the case with politicians Just B.S.!

  4. I am opposed to this effort. The people who are proposing it fail to see the forest for the trees. The salary of the City Council members is irrelevant. Even if they made 200K per year, the total of their 15 salaries combined would only be 3 Million/year.
    The Council makes financial decisions that affect BILLIONS of dollars of LA’s budgetary process. Their salaries are nothing compared to their financial power to make things happen…or not happen.
    I wouldn’t care if they made 300K per year….as long as they made Conservative decisions and eliminated higher costs and fees. If they would eliminate government departments and useless regulations…. and eliminate fraud, waste and abuse… they would deserve even more than they make now.
    Their salary level is not the problem.
    Their actions, votes, and ideologies are the true problem.

  5. The City Council should save everybody a lot of time and effort by placing this proposal on the ballot and letting the voters decide. This process is consistent with the logic used by the mayor, Controller elect Wendy Greuel, Council President Eric Garcetti, US Senate aspirant Bill Rosendahl, and many other members of the City Council in justifying Measure B being placed on the ballot in three short weeks. The difference: the 50% Solution will pass in a landslide. The question: will it out poll Prop 1F which was approved by 74% of the voters.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Why not let Carmen Trutanich, “the people’s lawyer,” push for this and offer to cut his own pay by half to set an example. He kept telling us he’s made so much money as a criminal lawyer he doesn’t even need the City Attorney’s salary, and is doing the job just on principle.
    If he makes a stand on principle here he’ll be putting his money where his mouth is otherwise he’s just another big mouth phony. If he does it he’ll start it rolling. (Of course he could offer to take just $1 a year like Arnold or Riordan but taking just half still leaves him with $110,000 plus all those perks and benefits like free cars and paid meals, travel, etc., more than enough for anyone.)

  7. Anonymous says:

    Rudy Monteil CEO of Housing Auth. 2600 Wilshire
    one of the Mayors coharts in crime makes over 450 a yr. and does nothing but pad his pockest and the pockets of the politicians and developers in this city. makes more than our President, this does not include the relocation package from Texas (DWN PAYMENT ON A HOME)the 0ther– bennies the cars, the monthly stipend (3,700)to spend as he pleases, and the fact that the employees are suffering daily afraid to work and afraid not to work. He lies, cheats, and robs the the tenants and the employees of their dignity and integrity just by working for him and or being forced to live in public housing or on section8. The owners in the city do not wish to contract the s8 program anymore because of his unfair tactics and total disrespect they have encountered when dealing with him. This is a situation that HUD has closed their eyes on and why????????????? If you want to stop waste stop it accross the board………….

  8. Anonymous says:

    3:45, are you Jsack Weiss? You sould like sour grapes!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    7:13 = Trutanich worried about losing his pay and perks. We all voted for you and now that you won will hold your feet to the fire, what’s unreasonable about setting the example you promised us?

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Los Angeles City Council, that includes Councilmembers Eric Garcetti, Ed Reyes, Wendy Greuel, Dennis Zine, Tom LaBonge, Jack Weiss, Tony Cardenas, Richard Alarcon, Bernard Parks, Jan Perry, Herb Wesson, Bill Rosendahl, Greig Smith, and Jose Huizar are DEVIANT. Councilwoman Janice Hahn also should be included with the bunch of self serving politicians because many times she is part of the problem instead of the solution.
    With a 3.8 million population, City Council should always allow the public to comment regardless if 100 committee meetings have been held. The United States of America, including Angelenos, like to think Los Angeles City Council wants to encourage participatory democracy at all levels, specifically at chambers. The Los Angeles City Council needs to be reminded that they are PUBLIC SERVANTS and are paid $178,789 salaries by the same people council is constantly shunning.
    Here are some examples of the Los Angeles City Council at work.
    1. The City Council claims that the item(s) before City Council have been fully vetted at the committee meetings, which many times this does not happen. Just take a look at the Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development where most often it is chaired by the solo/lone councilmember, Councilman Tony Cardenas. Where are the other Councilmembers Herb Wesson, Janice Hahn, Jose Huizar, and Ed Reyes? Is this what City Council calls fully vetted?
    2. The council constantly speaks on non Agenda items. June 9, 2009 at the end of public comment Alarcon spoke 50 plus words on a non agenda item and Council President Eric Garcettii, who should be setting the example, spoke over 90 words on a non agenda item. This is only one of many examples. Where is the deputy city attorney?
    a. For Mr. Zuma Dogg haters, many L.A. City employees attended this City Council meeting for the first time and were astonished to watch how council was not paying attention to the speakers, it happens to the best.
    3. The council never caters to special interest groups. When a USC representative came before council for a conditional use permit allowing a sign permit, he had a picture with him showing where the sign would be placed. He was directed to place the picture on the first pew. The cameras immediately zoomed directed at the picture while he spoke. Recently, a stakeholder brought a picture of the Autry Museum and was directed to place the picture in the first pew. She did as she was directed and never once where the cameras zoomed in on her picture while she spoke.
    4. March 4, 2009 Councilmembers, Jose Huizar, Eric Garcetti, Ed Reyes, Wendy Greuel, and Tom LaBonge, introduced a resolution supporting Fair Election in El Savador where Los Angeles City Council is to monitor the EI Salvador presidential elections taking place on March 15, 2009 to ensure they are fair and transparent, free of intimidation, and that the decision of the voters and results of the elections will be respected.
    The Los Angeles City Council needs to reevaluate their priorities.
    Link: http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2009/09-0002-s26_reso_3-4-09.pdf

  11. Anonymous says:

    The Los Angeles City Council, that includes Councilmembers Eric Garcetti, Ed Reyes, Wendy Greuel, Dennis Zine, Tom LaBonge, Jack Weiss, Tony Cardenas, Richard Alarcon, Bernard Parks, Jan Perry, Herb Wesson, Bill Rosendahl, Greig Smith, and Jose Huizar are DEVIANT. Councilwoman Janice Hahn also should be included with the bunch of self serving politicians because many times she is part of the problem instead of the solution.
    With a 3.8 million population, City Council should always allow the public to comment regardless if 100 committee meetings have been held. The United States of America, including Angelenos, like to think Los Angeles City Council wants to encourage participatory democracy at all levels, specifically at chambers. The Los Angeles City Council needs to be reminded that they are PUBLIC SERVANTS and are paid $178,789 salaries by the same people council is constantly shunning.
    Here are some examples of the Los Angeles City Council at work.
    1. The City Council claims that the item(s) before City Council have been fully vetted at the committee meetings, which many times this does not happen. Just take a look at the Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development where most often it is chaired by the solo/lone councilmember, Councilman Tony Cardenas. Where are the other Councilmembers Herb Wesson, Janice Hahn, Jose Huizar, and Ed Reyes? Is this what City Council calls fully vetted?
    2. The council constantly speaks on non Agenda items. June 9, 2009 at the end of public comment Alarcon spoke 50 plus words on a non agenda item and Council President Eric Garcettii, who should be setting the example, spoke over 90 words on a non agenda item. This is only one of many examples. Where is the deputy city attorney?
    a. For Mr. Zuma Dogg haters, many L.A. City employees attended this City Council meeting for the first time and were astonished to watch how council was not paying attention to the speakers, it happens to the best.
    3. The council never caters to special interest groups. When a USC representative came before council for a conditional use permit allowing a sign permit, he had a picture with him showing where the sign would be placed. He was directed to place the picture on the first pew. The cameras immediately zoomed directed at the picture while he spoke. Recently, a stakeholder brought a picture of the Autry Museum and was directed to place the picture in the first pew. She did as she was directed and never once where the cameras zoomed in on her picture while she spoke.
    4. March 4, 2009 Councilmembers, Jose Huizar, Eric Garcetti, Ed Reyes, Wendy Greuel, and Tom LaBonge, introduced a resolution supporting Fair Election in El Savador where Los Angeles City Council is to monitor the EI Salvador presidential elections taking place on March 15, 2009 to ensure they are fair and transparent, free of intimidation, and that the decision of the voters and results of the elections will be respected.
    The Los Angeles City Council needs to reevaluate their priorities.
    Link: http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2009/09-0002-s26_reso_3-4-09.pdf

  12. Kelvin says:

    Ron, if you think any councilmember cares about the level of their pay, you’re wrong. They make a lot more money with their pay to play buddies. Cut their pay to $1 a year and they’ll still be lining up to spend millions of dollars to get elected. If you want to start to get decent representation in Los Angeles, then send a few of them to the slammer for their pay to play crimes.

  13. Janet says:

    The fact is we are sending a very strong message to the politicans that we think they don’t EARN THEIR PAY. Its as Stephen Box stated “engaging the subject” and that’s enough for me. However, if we beat Measure B we can certainly be successful at this. People are fed up with these bunch of morons who do nothing and give political paybacks to their friends. We’re tired of them supporting illegal immigrants who have ruined our city taking over our schools, closing health care clinics, traffic and getting free services on our dime then demanding rights.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Let’s get this started! Where do I sign up?

  15. Anonymous says:

    It would seem to me that if community activists in Los Angeles are going to be engaged to circulate petitions to gather 230,000 signatures for a pay cut, they also should circulate a second petition at the same time: to recall the Mayor. We have three months before we can start the recall of the Mayor. Let’s spend those three months holding organizing meetings to mobilize people willing to organize their communities to gather the necessary signatures.
    Ron is so right. If the Mayor and Council is willing to sell out our parkland to the flat ass broke Children’s Museum and the grossly underfunded Autry Museum instead of pursuing viable private land locations that do not result in us subsidizing egos of Alex Padilla and Tom LaBonge, we have reached the total bottom. These museum issues seem small but really, if our Council is willing to sell off our parkland (land the City supposedly holds in trust for the people), how much lower can it go? These issues are symbolically important of just how sick our City Hall “politics as usual” really is.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is an awesome waste of time! Where do I sign up?!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Lets do it, seriously.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Seriously, you can’t be serious…

  19. Anonymous says:

    This is a counterproductive idea. Councilmembers are effectively the senior executives for one of the largest organizations in the United States, and they are paid middle manager salaries. The result is that they instead have incentives to earn money and benefits in other ways (Mayor Villaraigosa’s recent tickets to the Lakers game being the most innocent example). Let’s pay them like executives and watch the corruption like a hawk.

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