He’s no Austin Powers.
LA’s new job czar Austin Beutner sat down with LA’s old column czar Steve Lopez of the Dog Trainer recently to reveal how he was going to reverse the city’s downward economic spiral with all the talents at the disposal of a billionaire willing to work for $1 a year.
Unless all of us are willing to work for $1 a year, I wouldn’t get your hopes up.
Lopez said the idea to hire Beautner sprang from a meeting of Dick Riordan, Eli Broad, Michael Milken and Steve Soboroff, or what you could call the “Been There, Tried That Gang.”
Remember, it was not that long ago that at least two of these guys, Riordan and Soboroff, actually ran Los Angeles (Broad runs the world and Milken, well, that’s a whole other story), and if you haven’t figured it out yet from reading my master’s blog, our troubles didn’t start yesterday.
At its core, and without going into the entertaining but sometime stultifying detail supplied by my master, the city’s problems stem from its contracts with public employees.
That’s a problem for our elected city officials – who, by the way, make more than $1 a year — since their campaigns receive huge contributions from labor unions, many of which represent our pubic “servants.”
“He’s going to have to confront many, many special interest groups who have controlled the mayor of the city and council of the city — developers, unions, you name it,” Riordan told Lopez. “And I think it is a smart move on the mayor’s part to let somebody who does not have political aspirations make the tough moves.”
Then Lopez – who makes way more than $1 a year — added his two cents:
“You could call it politically smart, sure, the mayor standing clear of the dirty work he wants done, including likely confrontations with city employee unions that have bankrolled his campaigns in the past.
“Or you could ask yourself why he didn’t step up himself, long ago.”
Ask yourself? Jeez, why doesn’t somebody from the Dog Trainer ask him? Oh, that’s right, it did have a long profile of the mayor recently. Unfortunately, it concentrated on the mayor’s diet – meatless Mondays – his new yoga regimen, his girlfriend and her dog, Monkey.
Riordan and Soboroff obviously didn’t brief Beutner on the stuff they tried – mostly dealing with the port and airport – that didn’t work. He’s going to try it all again.
The job czar did tell Lopez he had a great idea to lure a Chinese car manufacturing plant to LA.
“Beutner might promise that he’ll get Villaraigosa and an A-list celebrity to show up at the Academy Awards presentation in the company’s electric cars, a great promo for all the world to see.”
And maybe the mayor can bring his girlfriend and her four-legged pal Monkey.
I’ve got a better idea. Ron recently started to “retrain” me, as if I was ever trained in the first place. It involves lots of new commands, increased discipline – and an electric collar that looks like it was designed by a dog-hating sadist.
Maybe the next time the Been There, Tried That Gang get together at one of their mansions, probably after Beutner realizes as a $1-a-year volunteer he won’t get anything done and quits, they consider a similar regimen for our mayor, in addition to the meatless Mondays and yoga, of course.
I wonder if Armani makes an electric collar?