“A love cannot be an irresponsible love. It can’t be an easy love. where we say we’ll do whatever even if that’s going to hurt more next year and the year after because it feels easy now.” — Eric Garcetti, in “How They Saved LA, The Movie.”
The President of the LA City Council basked Friday in the warm glow of his love affair with his colleagues and the Coalition of City Unions, his preening humility fully on display.
The glory of making the city’s $405 million deficit vanish in an instant was his.
The unions made concessions, he said. The budget was suddenly balanced, the cash flow crisis eliminated and a new era of partnership born so that labor and management will be able to triumph together over any difficulty that might arise City Hall was just one big family.
It was so easy, such an easy lovefest.
So much is uncertain, so much of the pain put off for another day, maybe even all the way until spring when they have to overcome a shortfall twice today’s deficit, at $800 million — almost 20 percent of the city’s disposable revenue.
Living on credit for so many years — what they call a structural deficit – the city is in a money crisis.
It already was a year old when they finally cut a tentative deal Friday. At its heart, the deal did little but put off all the real decisions until yesterday’s problem that became today’s crisis becomes a shattering catastrophe tomorrow — an economic earthquake that will require rebuilding the political system and reorganizing the functions of city government.
In a phrase, your City Council gambled the city’s future.
They did it unanimously with the full involvement and support of a mayor dizzy from all his flip-flopping and twisting out of responsibility.
The city cut a deal that requires bigger but still small sacrifices from city workers to pay for the enhancement of the already lucrative pensions for some 2,400 of their colleagues who get to retire in the early- and mid-50s..
It depends for its success on the agreement of the unions to accept layoffs or furloughs, maybe even pay cuts as an alternative, if the situation deteriorates further.
The city’s hands are no longer tied. It’s the will that’s missing, the integrity.
But they put it on the line and said they had found a solution and that we the people of the city back them.
I think they are dead wrong on both counts. They have solved nothing and they could not win a vote of confidence of the people.
Let them put it on the June ballot next year: Do you have confidence in the mayor and City Council? Yes or No.
If they are right about what they have set in motion, I will happily stand before them and eat humble pie. But if I’m right and the people watch what happens to the city over the next nine months and decide they have no confidence in the leadership, then the mayor and council members should be declared ineligible to ever hold city office again when their terms are up.
These are people who take an oath of office to do right by the people, not the unions.
You never hear a meaningful word from them about how cutting city services as they intend to do, padding the payrolls of the DWP, AIrport and Harbor with regular city workers and doubling and tripling our rates for water and power is good for anyone other than the unions.
So I don’t expect them to willingly agree to my suggestion. But I intend to do all I can to build a political movement around it and the replacement of all of them by people who will do what’s right for the people, and not just the few.
Petitions to cut the mayor and council’s salaries in half will soon be circulation. Let’s add a “No Confidence” in City Hall measure to that.
The workers at City Hall chanted “Save LA” on Friday. I think they meant it. I know I mean it
If our city leaders really want to save LA, they will put their jobs on the line and let us vote up or down on their collective performance in June. It’s the least — the very least — the could do.
COMING: What are the terms of the deal and more