How would you like to be a Gold Card public library user contributing money entitling you to boast you kept 100 workers from being fired so the Central Library and eight regional ones don’t have to close on Sundays starting April 11?
Janice Hahn thinks it’s a great idea and can’t wait to declare “Sundays Fun Days” as the slogan for the honor of carrying the otherwise meaningless Gold Card. Maybe she’ll make it part of her campaign for lieutenant governor.
Or maybe you just would like to write a check for several million dollars from your trust fund to save all 73 city libraries from closing a second day next fiscal year. Bill Rosendahl thinks that’s a winner and is putting out calls to the billionaires who populate his wealthy district.
Their ideas might appear lame-brained considering the Council unanimously has abdicated its responsibilities for years and now has pushed the city to within $73 million of bankruptcy – if you believe the mayor and his pathetic attempt at blackmailing the Council into approving a blank check for rate hikes for the discredited management of the Department of Water and Power.
There’s an innocence to Hahn and Rosendahl that makes their sins somewhat forgivable. The same cannot be said about Richard Alarcon, suspect in a criminal investigation involving election fraud for falsely claimed he actually lives in the district he serves, allegedly.
Alarcon’s pretentious and deceitful posturing on behalf of the city’s unions puts him in a class by himself.
His increasingly frequent and vicious attacks on bureaucrats dealing with the budget catastrophe he and his colleagues created are shocking in their cruelty. His repeated expressions of contempt in public ought to prompt a censure motion if the other members of the Council truly had the bleeding hearts filled with compassion for their fellow man as they would have us believe.
His performance Wednesday when Martin Gomez, chief city librarian, explained the impact of having to leave 100 jobs vacant, losing 100 workers to the Early Retirement Incentive Program and facing 100 more job losses to looming layoffs — a 30 percent staff reduction — wasn’t as obnoxious as some of his grandstand plays. But it ranked high enough to be worthy of condemnation for his unseemly efforts at humiliating people trying to do their jobs.
Tony Cardenas did that shortly after Alarcon spoke, putting him down deftly by asking City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana who makes the decisions on budgets and policies.
“The Mayor and City Council,” Santana dutifully answered.
With newfound passion for the public interest, Cardenas then forcefully, made the point as he as done several times recently, that the responsibility for the city’s financial woes, layoffs of workers and drastic cuts in services are not the fault of the bureaucrats.
The decisions are those of elected officials and they are the ones who should be held accountable, he said.
Cardenas is a lone voice of reason among our city officials at a time when others prefer to blame the sun, the moon and the stars rather than themselves for the crisis facing the city. He reiterated his statement later when the Internet Technology officials described how Channel 35 and the small semblance of what’s left of public access TV and numerous support services were being sharply cut.
The library system, ITA, parks, cultural affairs, human services, Neighborhood Councils, planning, building code enforcement among many others that provide basic public services are suffering most of the cuts.
On Thursday, the Library Commission approved the April 11 closures unanimously and other commissions will soon be following suit.
The Council went into closed session on Wednesday after getting all the bad news from various department heads and came out and announced it was ordering Santana to meet with leaders of the Police and civilian unions to discuss possible cuts in wages and benefits to prevent the announced 4,000 layoffs.
Eric Garcetti seemed to stammer uncharacteristically as he announced the latest ploy — layoffs or givebacks — which itself amounts to the same sort of blackmail that the mayor and DWP are using on the Council to get massive rate hikes.