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Pray for LA: Only Fools Would Gamble It All on an Economic Miracle

The City Council will vote unanimously today to give final approval to deals with most of its work force that leave the future of the city seriously in doubt.

The pacts with the 22,000-member Coalition of City Unions and the 10,000-member Police Protective League at best put off for a year or two the day of reckoning in hopes that there will be an Obama economic miracle will get consumers spending freely again and fill the city coffers with dollars.

Leave it to Bill Bratton to put what is going on in clear perspective:

“The toughest issue will be the budget  We can survive
for a couple years on lean budgets without really stalling the
momentum, but if it goes on for more than two or three years, the
challenge for the chief will be how to deal with morale, how to deal
with aging equipment, how you deal with facilities that aren’t as
maintained as well as they have been.”

What he’s saying applies to all of city government, not just the LAPD.
prayla.jpg
City Hall’s strategy, such as it is, involved deferring payments of hundreds of millions of dollars,  borrowing every cent it can and spreading out debt repayment, putting off raises to employees, robbing one fund to pay bills in another, time off in lieu of overtime, furloughs instead of pay cuts and selling off revenue-producing assets like parking structures.

It all adds up one gamble compounded by another and there’s no certainty the strategy, such as it is, will even provide enough cash to get through the last eight months of this fiscal year let alone next year when the looming shortfall is twice the size of the $400 million currently facing the city.

“Yes, we are kicking that can down the road. We’re saving the money now
and hoping we’ll have the money to pay it off in the future,” Maritta Aspen, the city’s senior labor relations specialist, told the Times.in an article laying out to the public for the first time terms of the deal with the police union.

The two-year contract is supposed to save $72
million next fiscal year by cutting overtime to just $15 million — equivalent to more than 1 million hours, according to a confidential report
obtained by The Times.

For the 25 percent of officers, mainly patrol and homicide detectives, who work more than 400 hours of overtime a year — expanding their income by a quarter — that is a big hit. Expectations are rampant in the LAPD that many trained officers will jump to other police agencies to maintain their incomes.

What is amazing is that City Hall doesn’t have a clue even now what impact this deal or the one with the coalition for the early retirement of 2,400 workers to be named later will have on services to the public

They are merely buying time and hoping for an economic miracle no economist believes is going to happen.

They have lacked the political will to deal firmly with the problem that city government costs too much and delivers too little. They have soft-pedaled the truth to the public and city workers so when the bills come due, the repercussions will be severe.

For all the mayor’s happy talk about green jobs in the future, LA is losing more jobs than anywhere else in the country and our 14 percent unemployment is near the top. Storefronts and offices are empty, incomes are down, house are worth a third or more less than they were a few years ago.

None of that gives any reason for hope for years to come.

Yet, City Hall keeps on expanding social welfare programs and investing public money in luxury hotels, developments and entertainments.

Leaders of other cities are made of tougher stuff. They have imposed back-to-basics austerity budgets, protected vital services and put the public interest first instead of special interests. They have taken painful and often unpopular steps and jeopardized their political careers.

Only in LA would we tolerate leaders who take the easy way out for themselves no matter what the consequences to the city as a whole.

My only advice, like the wooden plaque with clasped hands on my office well says, is this: Pray for LA.

Pray that business and labor and the civic elite stand up one of these days with the rising tide of grassroots activism and we take back our city, hold those who have failed us accountable and bring some balance to our competing interests in the name of the common good.

Pray that we don’t see a breakdown in law and order as the lack of cops and the demoralization of the LAPD and the city work force sets in.

Pray there’s going to be an Obama economic miracle that makes us all prosperous and happy again.


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22 Responses to Pray for LA: Only Fools Would Gamble It All on an Economic Miracle

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ron, cops are saying the city will most definitely see the impact soon about the repricussions of the screwed up contract the Police Political League negoiated for them. Look to see crime go up, cops leave the dept., veterans retire sooner then everyone thought they would.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes, Ron, we need HIS HELP if we are to solve our problems – especially because we are not all on one side – yes, we have big problems.
    This squabbling serves no purpose. I wonder if we asked some of these important people in LACITY what they think will solve the problems – namely all the people who work for the city have inflated ideas about the economy and what should be their share. I wish they would go to their friends, family and neighbors and ask them what they earn. They are in for a big surprise – take the SFV – hardly one percent earn a six-figure salary with pensions and raises every year. There are almost 2 million people living here.
    I don’t know ANYONE who makes that much money.
    Yet, that is what many of the managers and city council and mayor make.
    If they want to go on strike because they do not get enough money, why don’t we let them? Then the rest of us could have a life.
    AFTER THE CENSUS, we may find we have 4 million people living in LACITY. And most of them are children, old people and people looking for work.
    I think there are less than 100,000 working for the city in every way possible. And they want it all without any problems!!! Yes, we need to agree – do we want a city or don’t we?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yes, Ron, we need HIS HELP if we are to solve our problems – especially because we are not all on one side – yes, we have big problems.
    This squabbling serves no purpose. I wonder if we asked some of these important people in LACITY what they think will solve the problems – namely all the people who work for the city have inflated ideas about the economy and what should be their share. I wish they would go to their friends, family and neighbors and ask them what they earn. They are in for a big surprise – take the SFV – hardly one percent earn a six-figure salary with pensions and raises every year. There are almost 2 million people living here.
    I don’t know ANYONE who makes that much money.
    Yet, that is what many of the managers and city council and mayor make.
    If they want to go on strike because they do not get enough money, why don’t we let them? Then the rest of us could have a life.
    AFTER THE CENSUS, we may find we have 4 million people living in LACITY. And most of them are children, old people and people looking for work.
    I think there are less than 100,000 working for the city in every way possible. And they want it all without any problems!!! Yes, we need to agree – do we want a city or don’t we?

  4. transparency says:

    “The blind guiding the blind.”
    Do you notice all the divisions that exist in our world? We are divided by parties, religion, race, status, etc.
    Parties: Instead to vote for the candidates that will serve with honesty and commitment to the people, most people vote for the party candidate they belong to even if they are wrong they must support their party. Instead to take time and educate themselves on the issues they vote for they are lazy and choose what the TV tells them to vote for.
    Religion is another one, must people are a shame to their religion they preach love, forgiveness, honesty and they are the worst for condemning others or pushing their beliefs onto others. They go to church on Sundays or confess their sins to the priest and they are forgiven. They leave the church and they are committing the same sins or crimes they just confessed to.
    Race is skin deep. Whether we like it or not that is the only difference.
    Status is just an illusion at any time it can be stripped away. Many have fallen from very high places.
    Only when we come together and have the same goal and work for that goal we will be able to save L. A and ourselves. When each one of us decides to give up our prejudice and our personal interests things will change for the better. It all starts within each of us.
    If you want to break away from the box your mind is in watch these videos. So what if some of them are republicans or democrats or whatever, we can learn from everyone if we are willing to open our minds. It is always our responsibility to investigate and come to our own conclusions.
    You Tube – President John F. Kennedy speech on Secret Societies
    Congressman Ron Paul
    Glenn Beck on Fox News
    “The Fall of the Republic” by Alex Jones
    David Icke
    In their own special style each one of them will give you a view of the world and an opportunity to wake up. Through them you will find how the dots connect. Pass this information to others.

  5. transparency says:

    “The blind guiding the blind.”
    Do you notice all the divisions that exist in our world? We are divided by parties, religion, race, status, etc.
    Parties: Instead to vote for the candidates that will serve with honesty and commitment to the people, most people vote for the party candidate they belong to even if they are wrong they must support their party. Instead to take time and educate themselves on the issues they vote for they are lazy and choose what the TV tells them to vote for.
    Religion is another one, must people are a shame to their religion they preach love, forgiveness, honesty and they are the worst for condemning others or pushing their beliefs onto others. They go to church on Sundays or confess their sins to the priest and they are forgiven. They leave the church and they are committing the same sins or crimes they just confessed to.
    Race is skin deep. Whether we like it or not that is the only difference.
    Status is just an illusion at any time it can be stripped away. Many have fallen from very high places.
    Only when we come together and have the same goal and work for that goal we will be able to save L. A and ourselves. When each one of us decides to give up our prejudice and our personal interests things will change for the better. It all starts within each of us.
    If you want to break away from the box your mind is in watch these videos. So what if some of them are republicans or democrats or whatever, we can learn from everyone if we are willing to open our minds. It is always our responsibility to investigate and come to our own conclusions.
    You Tube – President John F. Kennedy speech on Secret Societies
    Congressman Ron Paul
    Glenn Beck on Fox News
    “The Fall of the Republic” by Alex Jones
    David Icke
    In their own special style each one of them will give you a view of the world and an opportunity to wake up. Through them you will find how the dots connect. Pass this information to others.

  6. transparency says:

    “The blind guiding the blind.”
    Do you notice all the divisions that exist in our world? We are divided by parties, religion, race, status, etc.
    Parties: Instead to vote for the candidates that will serve with honesty and commitment to the people, most people vote for the party candidate they belong to even if they are wrong they must support their party. Instead to take time and educate themselves on the issues they vote for they are lazy and choose what the TV tells them to vote for.
    Religion is another one, must people are a shame to their religion they preach love, forgiveness, honesty and they are the worst for condemning others or pushing their beliefs onto others. They go to church on Sundays or confess their sins to the priest and they are forgiven. They leave the church and they are committing the same sins or crimes they just confessed to.
    Race is skin deep. Whether we like it or not that is the only difference.
    Status is just an illusion at any time it can be stripped away. Many have fallen from very high places.
    Only when we come together and have the same goal and work for that goal we will be able to save L. A and ourselves. When each one of us decides to give up our prejudice and our personal interests things will change for the better. It all starts within each of us.
    If you want to break away from the box your mind is in watch these videos. So what if some of them are republicans or democrats or whatever, we can learn from everyone if we are willing to open our minds. It is always our responsibility to investigate and come to our own conclusions.
    You Tube – President John F. Kennedy speech on Secret Societies
    Congressman Ron Paul
    Glenn Beck on Fox News
    “The Fall of the Republic” by Alex Jones
    David Icke
    In their own special style each one of them will give you a view of the world and an opportunity to wake up. Through them you will find how the dots connect. Pass this information to others.

  7. KK says:

    So, I have a question. Which police agencies are the LAPD members going to go to? It isn’t as though there are many positions open around LA in smaller towns, who are experiencing the same financial problem as the city of LA.
    For the first time in many years, the armed forces have fulfilled their hiring requirements with better qualified candidates. If we can find enough people willing to fight a war to get employment, I think we may have a pretty good chance of attracting good LAPD candidates if we need them.
    LA citizens need to stop allowing fear to distract them from the budget issue. Yes, some cops may leave. And, the city has just taken on even more debt and kicked the can down the road.
    So, I don’t think it in the range of the fanciful that, later this year or early next, the mayor will ask for a raise in Trash rates or Sewer Rates to fund–you got it–public safety.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Did y’all hear Parks act like a girl in council today whining? Memba, he’s the one who was saying the trash fee hike was illegal to go just for cops. I kinda feel sorry for the old fart. It must be horrible living in that skin.
    ……But Councilman Bernard C. Parks warned that a reduction in overtime would be felt keenly by residents in his South Los Angeles district.”Parts of the city with large numbers of street crime will suffer more,” said Parks, a former police chief who opposes the new contract.

  9. Hank says:

    Well, ERIP was passed today by the LA City Council, without the formality of a “second reading” – no one read jack!
    This was my first ever watching of the live telecast of the Council meeting. What an obnoxious display of power – these Council members are all firm believers in the attitude of “let them eat cake” – public commentary was completely ignored, never responded to, just a mere formality, the Council members vote occurred within seconds of the public comments as though the public was never heard – a complete waste of time. Examples: a speaker would point out the errors and omissions of a pending agenda item (it’s nice to require “X”, but you’ve not included any inforcement mechanism, or you just discussed having a multi-million dollar budget deficit and now you’re voting to give “Y” dollars to some Hallowe’en block party, etc….), but no Council member even feigned listening. Damn the facts, our minds are made up, we’ve got supporters to perform for!
    Throw all of the bums out, especially “Mr. Smooth” Garcetti – what a pompous ass!
    The CAO stated very clearly that ERIP is a temporary patch to this fiscal year’s budget problem and it won’t help next year’s budget problem, and the Council members all smiled and agreed that we’ll just look at it then!
    Other cities take very aggressive action to get the problem under control, like layoffs to match the rest of the civilian world, but not LA – the city owned by the unions and developers.
    New Zealand is looking better all the time…..

  10. Hank says:

    Well, ERIP was passed today by the LA City Council, without the formality of a “second reading” – no one read jack!
    This was my first ever watching of the live telecast of the Council meeting. What an obnoxious display of power – these Council members are all firm believers in the attitude of “let them eat cake” – public commentary was completely ignored, never responded to, just a mere formality, the Council members vote occurred within seconds of the public comments as though the public was never heard – a complete waste of time. Examples: a speaker would point out the errors and omissions of a pending agenda item (it’s nice to require “X”, but you’ve not included any inforcement mechanism, or you just discussed having a multi-million dollar budget deficit and now you’re voting to give “Y” dollars to some Hallowe’en block party, etc….), but no Council member even feigned listening. Damn the facts, our minds are made up, we’ve got supporters to perform for!
    Throw all of the bums out, especially “Mr. Smooth” Garcetti – what a pompous ass!
    The CAO stated very clearly that ERIP is a temporary patch to this fiscal year’s budget problem and it won’t help next year’s budget problem, and the Council members all smiled and agreed that we’ll just look at it then!
    Other cities take very aggressive action to get the problem under control, like layoffs to match the rest of the civilian world, but not LA – the city owned by the unions and developers.
    New Zealand is looking better all the time…..

  11. Anonymous says:

    Jan Perry, the other one who voted with Parks against the PPL contract, is also whining in the Daily News (her own editorial) that her district doesn’t get enough cops, that the next chief should (also?) resist political pressure from the areas with less crime and put more cops where the crime is greatest. Namely, hers and Parks. But she tells the next chief he’s got to learn to do more with fewer cops and resources, takes a swipe at Bratton for not doing enough to reduce violent crime in her district and making up stats to hide it, and like Parks she’s also been dissing the Chief (even though he’s taken a lot of heat from richer areas for doing just that, putting “cops on the dots” largely in SLA) and telling him how to run his dept. better in detail, and has supported drastically reducing the number of cops. Were these two separated at birth or is it something in the water or those SLA hamburgers they’ve been eating and want to ban?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Ms. Ghetto Queen Jan Perry needs to take a class in style. Will someone tell her its 2009 and get rid of the 50′s hairdo and drab clothes with all the money she makes. Ghetto Queen supports her pals Nation of Islam radical morons in her district. C’mon she even named a square after those fools and has one after Malcolm X. She never left the hood and behaves like a bafoon in drag. Thanks to Ron we all read about the corruption of the likes of Ghette Queen Perry and the rest of the imbeciles called council members. They are disgusting, uneducated, classless group ever in our city. They are a shear embarrassement. They all behave like thugs with the likes of Parks, Alarcon, Cardenas, Smith, Zine, Perry. All total losers in life.
    Read what the LA Weekly thinks of them.
    http://www.laweekly.com/2009-10-29/news/poor-ultrarich-tim-leiweke/

  13. El Quixotian says:

    Hank,
    Sorry, too late…everyobody from Seattle is already moving to New Zealand since they’ve born the brunt of Californication.
    You’ll have to wait for more Kiwis to similarly get tired of the newbies and decide to move to Latin America resorts.
    Hmmmm…

  14. Anonymous says:

    How much of our tax dollars are being wasted on felony suspects supported by city council. They supported felon Martin Ludlow, they support gang bangers, illegal vendors, and low lives in general. Today’s city council meeting was no different then last week. This suspect was denied bail this week. You can bet letters in support were sent by the clowns on council. They waste $1 million on caligraphy on crap like this. ARRESTED; Alex Sanchez on federal racketeering charges.June 09 non profit Homies Unidos Executive Director Sanchez has become a nationally-recognized expert in gang intervention–ran with the notorious MS-13 gang. Members from that crime outfit were also arrested by the FBI today.Sanchez has ties to powerful, local politicians who range from L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “Homies Unidos is exactly the kind of community-based violence prevention and intervention program Los Angeles needs to help eliminate its gang problem,” reads a glowing statement from Garcetti, which has been posted on the Homies Unidos Web site. (Note: The Web site has now been taken down.) a recent “Letter from the Executive Director” thanks Los Angeles City Councilmen Ed Reyes and Tony Cardenas for attending a November, 2008, banquet celebrating the 10th anniversary of Homies Unidos. Sanchez also commends staff members who work for Reyes, Cardenas, and Villaraigosa. The city of Los Angeles, with the help of the mayor’s office, officially recognized Sanchez’s work with a resolution that was passed by the L.A. City Council. “Silvia Beltran and George Magallanes from Councilman Ed Reyes office, Michael DelaRocha and Eduardo Hewitt from Councilman Tony Cardenas and Rafael Gonzales from the Mayor’s Office were instrumental in helping Los Angeles City Council pass a resolution for Homies Unidos 10 years of work in the city of Los Angeles,” Sanchez writes.
    Sanchez became a cause celebre many years ago when the LAPD unsuccessfully attempted to deport him, with progressive heavyweight and former California state senator Tom Hayden coming to his aid.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Again and again and again, have you heard the words “too big to fail”? Well, there you have it. There’s no problem here. It’s all a big con game. The banks, newly nationalized, will keep the spigot of money flowing as long as socialism, and the fleecing of the middle class in Los Angeles, rule the day. You see, a lender (the big nationalized banks) can lend out money to the City indefinitely, as long as our boss, The Presidente tells his department heads to keep away from the regulation stick.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Blah,Blah, Blah. Where is the outrage that this thug,otherwise known as D`Arcy. blackmailed the City Council to give him whatever he wanted. As a matter of record his negotiating MO with the Mayor and CMs was. “Take it or leave it. I`ll shut off your lights and water; and I`ll be around in your next election”. Shame, shame, shame! People will loose their houses as a result of this sweetheart deal, but the DWP employees will be sunbathing in the Bahamas sipping cuba libres. Don Corleone would be jealous.

  17. Anonymous says:

    BASTARDS!!!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS SHIT? What a bunch of screwed up corrupt idiots we have representing this city. These city council members all need to be recalled. Where is the outrage for this bullshit!!!! They keep crying the city is in the worst budget deficit, the cops get nothing, but they give A RAISE to the thugs who run city hall again. There has to be a grass root effort to put these bastards in their place. We should start a petition on job performance throughout the city and then publicize it throughout the nation. Although I’ve heard from Senators Washington alread knows about the lack of leadership and incompetence from Los Angeles.
    Los Angeles DWP workers to get pay raise
    October 30, 2009 | 5:34 pm
    Even as police officers go without raises in each of the next two years, the Los Angeles City Council moved ahead with a plan today to give employees of the Department of Water and Power raises ranging from 2% to 4% in each of the next five years. Three hours after it approved a two-year contract with the Police Protective League that offers zero pay increases, the council forwarded a package of five raises to International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Friday, council voted to cut 4.5% of the pay of exempt city employees with forced furloughs. The Unions went for their deal because at least they get the ERIP in return. Exempt employees get the same bad ends of the deal, but do not get the ERIP benefits in return, so while the unions got some carrot with the stick, the exempt employees are over the barrel getting nothing but the stick, ad the short end of it. “Exempt” in city hall terms means UNREPRESENTED. No union protection or benefits, no overtime, no nothing — and no vote on the entire issue. They’re worked like dogs for a single bottom line price and now that is cut out from under them with nothing in return. Nice job, City Hall.

  19. InsideOpinion says:

    Anonymous, Nove 1 at 1:25 pm.
    No, “exempt” does not mean non-represented. It means exampt from civil service, and there are exempt employees who are represented by unions. Being exempt from civil service means that you’re an at-will employee, among other things.
    You’re also wrong about the amount of the wage cut. The cut is 4 hours per pay period beginning Dec 6, for a total of 56 hours reduced in the fiscal year. That’s approximately a 2.7% reduction, not 4.5%.

  20. Anonymous says:

    InsideOpinion on November 4, 2009 2:54 PM
    You’re right what I should have written is that the employees being screwed the most are the exempt, unrepresented employees who have no union or union benefits behind them.
    Saying it’s only a 2.7% decrease is totally misleading. Yes, the fiscal year ends in July, which is six months from December, but on an annual basis, the reduction is greater than 4.5%.

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