City unions say they gave back in June, they gave more in September and they’re not going to give back any more.
Neighborhood Council members say they too gave back and they have a right under the City Charter and city law to be fairly treated.
All through the city, the interests, special and not so special, are stirring to protect what they’ve got or in the case of the business community looking forward to profiting handsomely by creating jobs, presumably the poverty level jobs City Hall is so well known for, with subsidies worth three times what the workers are paid.
This is exactly what the mayor and City Council leaders had in mind when they ordered City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana to work so closely with them to develop a plan to stave off BANKRUPTCY– the 10-letter word that would forever be emblazoned on their political tombstones.
And so we get a hodgepodge of drastic cuts in staff and public services, huge fee increases, legally questionable raids on special funds, dumps of hundreds of city workers into jobs at the Harbor, Airport and DWP that they have no particular qualifications for but likely will wind up getting big raises for taking.
Most of all we get to see the city we love dismantled piece by piece, privatized to raise cash to get through this year and maybe next no matter how it perpetuates this financial crisis and imperils the city’s future for decades to come.
SEIU 721 leader Julie Butcher has come up with this list of what could be privatized under the CAO’s plan: Fleet services, Street Improvement projects, Street Sweeping, Trees, Printing,
Median Island maintenance, El Pueblo, Landscaping & maintenance, LA Zoo, Golf courses
20% of Recreation & Parks landscaping, 1 animal shelter, Animal license canvassing, Parking meters, Parking structures, Convention Center, Ontario airport.
There’s actually a lot more, nearly everything the city does except police and fire services would be gutted or sold off. And if we actually go along with Antonio’s Folly, it won’t be long before we are looking for buyers for LAX, the DWP and the 1,300 pristine acres of Chatsworth Reservoir, a developer’s dream.
This isn’t a plan to save LA. It’s a bill of indictment for the failure of the city leadership to provide efficient quality services at a reasonable price. Page after page proves their incompetence beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you have any doubt, I dare you to read through the 800 pages of documents CAO Santana and his staff produced to justify selling off our parking structures and even meters and the plan to restructure city government.
These reports are an admission of guilt, grounds to remove them all from office.
We would be better off breaking the city into many cities than exacerbate our problems by doing what the city’s leadership has proposed.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
We are not helpless children or powerless peons. They are certainly not lords and ladies, kings and queens.
We can stop being victims and patsies.
If unions want good jobs and good benefits that are secure…if ordinary citizens want a seat at the table of power…if business men and women want to prosper…if the unemployed want jobs…if the civic elite want a city to be proud of…then we have to stop thinking small and selfishly.
This is our LA, a city built out of great dreams of unlimited wealth and freedom, a city of grandiose ideas and ideals, a city of reinvention and hope.
Petty greed and arrogance have pushed us to the brink of bankruptcy and ruin. A strategy that amounts to every interest for itself will push us over that cliff.
There is only one way to save our city and ourselves.
We — the unions, the ordinary citizens, the business community, the jobless, the elite — must come together and seize this moment and dictate the terms of surrender to our elected leaders and the policies by which we will become solvent again and move forward for mutual benefit.
I am just one voice crying out in the silence of the Internet but I’ve seen this crisis coming for a long time.
I may be wrong about this or that but I believe with all my heart and soul that this is the moment in history when we become a real city that respects and values all its people and their interests or we become a city of rich and poor with glittery shrines to wealth rising up out of the misery in the slums.
All I can say is I don’t want to live in that kind of hellhole.
I want to be dancing in the streets and celebrating the greatness of the City of Angels in all its glory, the promised land where people from all over the world, from all different backgrounds have come together to create a beacon of hope to the world.