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Antonio’s Budget Fairy Tale –

It is a sign of the times that the mayor has actually been forced to engage the public in discussions, preliminary as they might be, about how LA is going to survive as a city even as it brings spending into balance with revenue for the first time in years.

A sign of his own weakness and the failure of the city’s leadership, to be sure, but a positive step toward actually coming to respect the public and share power with the civic, business, labor and community leaders.

Deputy Mayor Larry Frank, assigned to co-opt and calm the anger of Neighborhood Council members, was assigned the unenviable task of meeting Saturday with Budget LA, the group that has been brought dozens of community activists together every Saturday for weeks to try to develop a strategy for saving the Charter-created civic empowerment movement from destruction.

The mayor has fired the head of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and plans to eliminate the department entirely with the full support of the City Council to reduce this year’s $212 million deficit by $2 million.

It is Frank’s job to make it look like this is being done in the name of efficiency and cost saving, to hide the truth that it is being done because they fear the growing influence and organization of community groups across the city.

Frank, in a lengthy and detailed explanation, laid out the mayor’s plan such as it is to fix the massive budget deficit as if he were talking to fourth graders.

But it’s nonetheless instructive because it’s the first time anyone from the mayor’s office has actually tried to explain why nearly 7,000 jobs of people who run the parks and libraries, do the community planning and building code enforcement, and provide dozens of other basic services to the general public are proposed for elimination.These are more than half the jobs in those positions.

I know most of you will not actually watch these videos and see for yourselves what a fairy tale Frank spun for the Neighborhood Council people on Saturday, a fairy tale that does not have a happy ending.

So here’s the takeaway: Setting aside the obfuscations and outright false statements, the mayor’s plan is to slash basic services, sell off valuable assets like parking structures and the Convention Center to his pals, and borrow billions of dollars just to get through this year and next.

He has no plan to deal with the $775 million deficit the year after or the more than $1 billion deficit equal to more than 25 percent of the city’s operating budget the year after.

If you believe in miracles, economic miracles in this case, everyone will live happily ever after. If you don’t, maybe you better watch these videos and know for yourself what is going on.

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16 Responses to Antonio’s Budget Fairy Tale –

  1. Anonymous says:

    Why aren’t they going after the millions owed to the city in back taxes from businesses and parking structures?? A simple solution for these clueless morons.

  2. Bob G says:

    I tend to disagree on one point, which is the argument about folding DONE into CDD. I’m not aware that DONE has been doing anything useful except writing checks for at least the past 4 or 5 years. We certainly don’t need them to make up lots of inane rules for us to follow on everything from civility to election procedures. All they have to do is get out of the way and leave us adults to our work. The check writing can go to an outside organization, which seems to be the plan.
    There are issues about funding neighborhood councils, but at least half of the funding is used for making small grants to neighborhood organizations, street fairs, school libraries, and so on — in short, the kind of funding that should have been made by the city anyway. We’re just the folks who decide which needy groups get the crumbs.
    The political power of neighborhood councils, such as it is, does not depend on DONE’s tutelage or oversight. Quite to the contrary actually. It depends on the number of people who participate, attend meetings, or listen to our advice, both individual and institutional.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Neighborhood Councils should show some “political leadership” of their own, and refuse the $50K for next year’s LA City budget plan. One year only, let see there are about 92 NC’s at $50K per council…that would be almost $5 million that the Mayor can squirrel away for another rainy day…I hope my figures are correct…then the following year the NC’s should only request for $25K…the year after that only ask for $10K….in other words give the monies back…when City employees are being asked to take a 15% cut in pay….the NC’s should follow the “leader”, or at least take the lead…Remember it is only for one year…unless we can get the Fed’s to bail US out…you know…like they did Wall Street…

  4. Anonymous says:

    7:44…Along with the Neighborhood Councils taking a pay cut how about the City Council taking a pay cut. They make $178,000 a year each. The City Council’s motto is “DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO.” It is time they share some of the burden and set an example for this city!

  5. Anonymous says:

    One word-INEPT!
    Hope Caruso or Hertzberg are looking to run.
    If we knew one of them would, then we should push for the recall.
    My guess is Caruso is more likely to than Hertzberg.
    Think-
    Money management
    Planning
    Vision
    Efficiency

  6. Bob G says:

    There is a way to force the issue. The scenario might go something like this: The City Council and the mayor are going to have to face the issue of cutting the city budget, and eventually it’s going to come down to the employees taking pretty substantial pay cuts or watching one-fourth of those 13,000 employees get fired. Either way, the City Council have been horribly negligent.
    Curiously, it’s a lot easier to get a recall on the ballot for a City Council rep than to recall the mayor. For some of the districts, it’s as little as 10,000 signatures. For one or two districts, it’s as much as 24,000 signatures. At the point that the city has to face this difficult reality, the members of the City Council should also have to give up, say, 30% of their own salaries. We can’t force them to do so short of that “half-off” ballot initiative, but if they don’t make a substantial self-sacrifice, for a few thousand signatures we can get recalls up and running for many of them. At that point, the deal ought to be, “give up half your salary or get recalled.”

  7. Anonymous says:

    8:28, you’re delusional.
    People wouldn’t vote for Walter Moore because he was a lawyer for billboard companies but you’d prefer Caruso who is a DEVELOPER. These fat cat developers are the ones largely responsible for the mess LA is in. They buy & own politicians and only care to line up their pockets. This is their vision — to make as much money as possible & the hell with the citizens.
    What’s Caruso’s claim to fame — the Grove? Pleeeeeeeeze

  8. Anonymous says:

    In regard to February 28, 2010 9:08 PM’s comment:
    The problem is not the Developers or the Billboard owners, its the City Council, Mayor, and the FORMER City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo for giving those special interest groups the key to the City.
    Regarding Caruso, I too have a tendency not to care for Developers, however Caruso does have a history of being the DWP Board President and Police Commission Chair and was respected in both positions except for Bernard Park’s supporters.
    I personally would take Caruso over our current Mayor. But then again, I also like Walter Moore.

  9. Anonymous says:

    And now ladies and gentlman…the Mayor’s Fairy Tale as told by the Mayor’s Little Fairy: Larry Frank. Larry and his minions have been screwing over communities in LA for the last year. Thanks Larry!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’d be careful about trying to drill down to details, and frankly, given the size of the deficit, 4,000 (or whatever the number de jour is) is practically a detail.
    The way the politicians and special interests derail arguement is to continually take the overriding concept (we spend more than we make) and invite often specious comparisons.
    An example is the incessant focus on the 13K-odd employees who are not tied to a proprietary, etc fund.
    Even if a technically accurate point, how can ignoring the totality of the problem create anything but failed “solutions?”

  11. Anonymous says:

    7:44 & 7:55 LAYOFF THE CITY COUNCIL….RECALL THEM ALL!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Recall Greuel if she does not audit DWP.

  13. Anonymous says:

    In your very own words, Mayor:
    “THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE”
    …you are not acceptabe!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Feel sorry for this man. If he has any integrity he should quit working for Mayor Moron. His explanation that he tried to present in a serious and believable vein was nothing less than a witches brew.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Larry Frank has been peddling witches brew for many of our neighborhoods for sometime. He sends his staff minions out into the neighborhood to spy and then, based upon what they report back, Larry develops a strategy to push through whatever the MAYOR wants — even over the objection of the community. We there an awful smell of corruption in the room when Larry finished his presentation?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Antonio:
    You can keep your promises to your wife, your children or your familly. You manage your familly life as well as you manage our City.
    Have a concept for you, proactive Vs reactive. This budget crisis was anounced a couple of years ago and neither you or City Clowwn-sol has done anything till everything has gotten out of hand. GREAT JOB GUYS!!!!!

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