We came as beggars and peasants pleading with the lords of the manor for mercy and they dispensed meager favors according to their whims.
Hundreds of people with disabilities, the deaf and wheelchair-bound, Neighborhood Council volunteers, environmentalists, lovers of art and culture, all hoping somehow to protect what they have.
It was as if this was a medieval time and the black plague was ravaging our world, or in this case a plague of red ink caused by the failure of those masters of fiefdoms to tend to their flock.
It went on for 12 hours and harsh decisions were made, however tentatively, long after the beggars and peasants had gone back to their huts to pray some more.
In the end, it was clear enough that only a miracle could prevent the death of our city.
They called for reducing the Police and Fire departments, slashed funding for NCs in half to $22,500 while gutting their support staff, shied away from eliminating what little help they have given the disabled even as they proposed taking away from them and the elderly the 100 percent subsidy 58,393 of them get in subsidized trash collection.
As much as they hemmed and hawed, quibbled and wrung their hands, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana relentlessly pursued his agenda of laying off 1,000 city workers, transferring 500 others into protected jobs, selling off assets like parking structures and downsizing every part of city government except, of course, the DWP, Harbor and Airport — the designated cash cows.
Even if all the dozens of cuts and finagles are actually executed, they still won’t be enough to do more than get the city through until July when even more layoffs and cuts will be needed since the $208 million deficit we have seven months into the fiscal year will balloon to $485 million and keep on soaring for years to come, five years, maybe 10, said Santana.
The Red Plague that has visited us was years in the making, Santana said, years of bad policies and poor management and sweetheart deals and giveaways to the rich and influential. He put it more gently than that but there was no mistaking his meaning.
The breakdown in our city government is so great that we can only do everything we can and hope and pray for a miracle.
So let us pray together — or better come together and change the conversation from one of death by a thousand cuts to one that ends this charade and overthrows these lords, resurrects the city and gives birth to a new spirit of LA.