Ignore, if you can, Richard Alarcon’s arrogant and despicable treatment of an honorable public servant in this video and focus instead on the ignorant and despicable point he is making.
What Alarcon is saying that he wants to take the nearly $8 million in federal stimulus money the city was awarded to buy computers for poor neighborhoods to reduce the digital divide and use it to retain city workers in the current jobs.
In other words, this labor union stooge who talks endlessly about the injustices the rest of us commit against the poor is willing to protect some of the nation’s highest paid city workers and cheat kids and families in the city’s most impoverished and under-served communities out of the chance for access to the modern world.
For my money, that’s a crime against humanity and ought to be recognized as such.
Alarcon is not alone in this skewed view of the world.
For whatever lip service the rest of his colleagues on the City Council may pay to rhyme and reason, they share his sensibility and vote with extraordinary unanimity to put the city’s workforce ahead of the city.
That is why we are in trouble, why they are willing to sell the city’s assets and mortgage its future, why they are drooling at the chance sock it to us from every direction with higher rates, taxes and fees, why they are for the third time in less than a year back at the bargaining table with the unions begging for help in this budget crisis charade.
They are protecting city jobs, city wages and city benefits at all costs because the unions, with help from developers, contractors and other special interests, put them into the nation’s highest and most lavishly perked municipal elected offices.
They no more care about the poor than they care about the rest of us. If they did, poverty in LA would not be getting worse year after year, unemployment would not be among the highest in the country, there would not so much substandard housing, or many sweatshops.
Their programs to help the poor, the disabled, the disadvantaged are as much a failure as virtually every other thing they do from rotting water and electrical systems to 75-year backlogs in sidewalk and street paving, from the proliferation of digital billboards to the proliferation of marijuana shops.
The mayor is no less guilty.
Together, they have used City Hall to enrich their friends and allies.
They have turned City Hall into a jobs program instead of a services
And as the crisis deepens by the day, they are moving forward at
continuing those policies with what they hope will be $1.5 billion in
federal money and, as much as they can, raise cash by selling the farm
and borrowing against the city’s future.
The critical elements of the Mayor’s three-year budget plan come before
the Council on Tuesday. It is not so much a plan as an outline of how
to eliminate a vast array of basic services other than police and fire
without anyone in what they call the “City Family” actually losing
their job or the cost of pensions and lifetime health benefits
Don’t blame the bureaucrats whose names are on these plans. They were
just following orders in proposing the closure of numerous parks, sharp
scaling back of library services and hours, elimination of the
inspectors who provide health and safety protection along with planners
who could preserve the quality of life in our neighborhoods.
This is a calamity in the making.
That is not some dark vision of a doomsayer. It is the reality hidden
in plain sight. It can be seen by anyone who will actually read the
details of the failure of leadership and management revealed in the
1,000 pages of bureaucratic documents produced to support this budget
It is visible to anyone who is not walking around with eyes wide shut.
But it is not inevitable.
City workers need to look at the hollow promises the Mayor and Council
have made them over the last year. Again, they are being told there
will be transfers, not layoffs, and if they give back a little more
now, they will be rewarded handsomely in a few years.
They can promise the workers anything but they can’t deliver. Their own
budget experts do not expect full recovery for as long as a decade.
They believe pressure will force more reductions in the general fund
within a few months when no more transfers are possible, when no more
cooking of the books is possible, when borrowing more has become
There is another way to save LA, to protect vital services, provide
long-term job security to city workers, change the culture of failure
of City Hall into a culture of success for LA.
It requires extending City Hall’s definition of “family” to the four
million people who call LA home, to the thousands of businesses
operating in town, and bringing all the constituencies to the table
with the unions and city officials.
City workers need to take a step back financially and the public has to
pay its share in a tightly-written and tightly managed three-year plan
that actually puts LA on a sound financial footing.
We cannot save LA by destroying it. That’s what our elected leaders are
planning to do, that’s why we have lost confidence in them.
City workers need to wake up and realize the empty promises of the
politicians jeopardize their futures, The public needs to wake up and
realize they have to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
We are all in this together. After all, it’s our LA — not theirs.