Put aside for the moment, if you can, City Hall’s well-documented mismanagement, its failure to respond to its budget crisis until it was completely out of control and its sweetheart deals with unions, contractors, consultants and developers.
A good case can be made that our elected representatives are guilty of both misfeasance and malfeasance in office and should be recalled or rejected by voters for what they have done.
Over the last two years, I believe I have made a plausible case in those regards. But the more important question is how we are going to get out of this mess with the quality of our lives without suffering permanent damage, without destroying our own economic futures.
I suggested the only way out is for all city unions to take a step back financially and the public to take a step forward financially, something that can only be engineered by sharing power with business, labor and the community since our elected officials have lost all credibility.
But that clearly is not City Hall’s way judging from the plan that has been put forward to destroy the Neighborhood Council movement, slash services, eliminate nearly 7,000 jobs and give tax breaks and incentives to businesses that can leave town or set up in town while burdening those stuck here along with the four million residents with higher rates, fees, taxes and penalties.
It’s crazy when you think about it, insane since it shows they don’t know the difference between right and wrong, insane since they have lost touch with reality.
All of the measures being undertaken by City Hall depend on the economy returning to “normal” within a few years, “normal” being as it was in the boom years of 2006-07.
When, then, is the economy going to return to “normal”?
Apart from all else that City Hall has done, and is doing, wrong, that is the fatal flaw.
My friend Mark Barnhill made that point as a panelist at a conference on the private equity landscape in Beverly Hills last week.
He made the point that this is a transformative moment in history, that the “old normal” is not coming back, a “new normal” is evolving in uncertain ways.
Globalization, technology, overpopulation, environmental change are all factors but perhaps the most important for America is the loss of manufacturing capacity. We no longer own the means of production. We no longer create wealth, we consume it as evidenced by our long-term staggering trade deficits and borrowing.
Los Angeles faces serious challenges of its own: Its boom-and-bust and growth-at-any-price economic patterns, its loss of financial institutions and manufacturing, its high poverty and jobless rates, its dramatic loss of TV and film production.
Even in comparison to other cities in the county, LA is at a serious disadvantage because of its high taxation policies and high rents for housing and commercial space.
city report last week that was used to justify an 80 percent tax
reduction for Internet service companies demonstrated just how
Only Santa Monica is even in the ball park with LA
when operating costs and rents were tied together.
basis of operating costs alone, every city investigated
for this report offers substantial potential savings over the City of
to the city’s report, here are the operating fees for these types of
business — small, medium and large –
in nearby cities and in
City Small Medium Large
$294 $913 $2,563
Beach $737 $1,986 $5,316
Clarita $0 $0 $0
$470 $1,689 $4,939
where do think businesses are setting up shop, LA or Santa Monica? Or
the other cities for that matter, all of which have healthier economies
fewer financial troubles in running their city governments.
Will LA be any more
attractive in the next few years as library and parks close and there’s
little left functioning except maybe the police and fire departments and
taxes, rates and fees for captive businesses and residents go even
This isn’t child’s play, yet our city leaders are acting like
children intent on shielding themselves from accountability and
protecting their political careers.
We cannot let this happen but it will unless the civic, business
and labor leaders recognize there is a “new normal” and step forward
with the community leadership and put an end to this nonsense before it
is too late.