Just back from its latest vacation, the City Council looked as naked today as if they were being broadcast through the lens of a full-body scan camera.
They were done with the city’s monkey business thanks to Council President Eric Garcetti emulating the great John Ferraro and limiting his colleagues to just three minutes to fill the air with their malarkey and whatever pat responses they got to softball questions of various bureaucrats.
Garcetti & Co. may not have much respect for the law but they sure are devoted to order.
Homage was paid all around to City Treasurer Joya De Foor for winning the grand prize at the Association for Financial Professionals Pinnacle Award.– no doubt an achievement that is borderline miraculous considering the city is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and she has less money to manage due to losses in revenues and investments.
The occasion was the Council’s belatedly accepting delivery of her monthly financial reports for May, June, July and August and filing them in the never-looked-at, never-to-be-looked-at depository of useless information, which may explain why the city has been operating illegally with a budget deficit for the last six months after ignoring all reason and prudence for the previous two years.
Right on cue, she dutifully talked about her commitment to put the city treasury’s investments into the hands of local firms to help create at least a few dozen jobs. And that was the point since the goal was in the act of taking steps to usurp the authority of the bureaucracy to dole out the lucrative financial advisor contracts to friends and contributors.
It is hard to say for sure exactly why they were doing this except for the fact that the pension fund scandal has some of their former friends and contributors headed to jail so new ways of greasing the skids of their corruption needed to be found.
Then, they found another million dollars in ratepayer money for a consultant to tell the DWP how to fix the Owen Lake Dust Bowl so it can be paved with hundreds of millions of dollars of solar panels that presumably will be bought from friends and contributors and installed by their No. 1 friend and contributor, DWP union bully boy Brian D’Arcy.
It will be interesting to see how well D”Arcy gets along with the newest Councilman, Paul Krekorian, whose election despite D’Arcy’s heavy spending was certified today so he can take the oath of office and make his inaugural appearance on Wednesday.
Krekorian’s role in getting huge tax breaks for Hollywood to try to slow runaway movie and TV production was duly noted when Richard Alarcon’s proposal to re-create the LA Film Commission was up for consideration.
Strangely, no mention was made about how the city;s slashing Hollywood’s business taxes failed to slow runaway production or what the Film Commission is going to do. Nonetheless, Alarcon received universal and effusive praise as if he had actually saved thousands of good-paying jobs.
All that was foreplay to the climax of the day’s quickie session — endorsement of the Obama Administration’s proposal to create the National Infrastructure Development Bank.
This was the real news despite the meaninglessness of he vote itself and the bewilderment of Ed Reyes that his LA River Project isn’t the on the mayor’s fable about what a great job he’s doing.
It showed how the subway to the sea, the Westside light rail extension and the downtown rail connector will all be built in 10 years. You can take their word on it.
The National Infrastructure Development Bank will arrange for MTA to bond against the $40 billion that was supposed to be raised over 30 years from the sales tax increase and get the money in just 10 years.
The problem is that the tax is now only expected to generate a little more than $30 billion and there’s no guarantee LA will get a bigger chunk of federal money than every other city in the country — especially when it has always gotten far less than its fair share in the past.
Strangely no mention was made of how much of the transit tax will be eaten up by interest charges from the borrowing or how much all the fiinancial advisors and various other middlemen will take of the proceeds.
Maybe it isn’t so strange when you think about it. The last thing City Hall wants is openness and transparency, an informed debate and an honest public conversation.