Somebody must have spiked the bottled water City Council members drink with IQ raising drugs, or maybe it’s just fear of voter retribution that has awakened them from their long, deep sleep of denial of the hell they have wrought.
All of a sudden, Ed Reyes is worried about how city policies are terrorizing the middle class and taking apart the mayor’s gofer Matt Szabo for the sins of his patron.
Tony Cardenas has become a folk hero with penetrating questions that expose the fallacies of city policies, exposes his colleague RIchard Alarcon’s abusive humiliations of bureaucrats and points the finger at the mayor, the rest of his colleagues and himself for the city’s descent into chaos and bankruptcy.
Who knew that within Jan Perry lurked the command of an army general and knowledge of a utility executive as she showed off Thursday when she left top DWP officials mumbling and grumbling in their endless sea of lies and deceits?
Even Paul Koretz and Tom LaBonge have had moments when they have strung together two sentences that actually make sense.
There are exceptions, of course.
Janice “Sunday Fun Day” Hahn stills sounds like she is better suited to cheerleading at a school booster club.
Bill Rosendahl is finding that ignorance of what he’s voted for, even in areas like public access TV that he spent his career in, cannot be concealed by how deeply he cares for everyone.
And Eric Garcetti has the faraway look of a man who wishes he were in Congress where nobody knows what they do or off on a battleship somewhere as a Naval Reserve officer. He even stutters when he talks about city workers taking huge pay cuts and looks at the sky knowing what hot air he’s blowing when he declares that giving overpaid DWP workers raises of nearly 20 percent actually saves $164 million because utility executives budgeted for even bigger raises over the next five years.
Strange things are happening at City Hall, providing at least faint hope that some, if not all, of our elected officials are getting the message that their day of reckoning is coming.
Nine months into the fiscal year, the Council is spending day after day learning how badly they mismanaged the city’s affairs and how they paid no attention what they were voting on or the impact on the budget and city services to the public.
They are in quicksand and their struggle to free themselves is only making matters worse. Not a day goes by that doesn’t show their strategy to chase declining revenue numbers downhill is failing.
They tried sweetheart deals to get senior employees to retire early, then a shotgun approach to budget cuts, causing nothing but chaos and confusion since both tactics were untargeted.
Then, they resorted to announcing 1,000 layoffs, then more layoffs while weeping for the impact on city workers and hardly noticing the 14 percent unemployment rate and the hundreds of thousands of people in the private sector who have lost their jobs.
Now, they are hoping against hope that city workers who do have jobs and haven’t gotten pay raises from cops to civilian employees will take huge pay cuts while those in the IBEW keep getting more and more in their paychecks.
The mayor is oblivious to all that is going on.
He prefers to live in a fantasy world in the faraway future so all that matters now is talking about spending billions upon billions of dollars to build a subway-to-the-sea in and purify the air with green energy instead of coal power plants.
He doesn’t even seem to notice that he has lost clout with the Council and would lose in a landslide if he faced re-election today.
He wants a blank check for his green energy trust fund but there is
no trust. And there is no money. Did he not hear the business community
tell him that massive electricity rate hikes will mean far more jobs
lost than he claims might be created over time, maybe, by going green no
matter how much it costs? Did he not notice that the downtown
Marriott Hotel sold yesterday for $60 million, half its value three
Living like a multimillionaire in Getty Mansion at
taxpayer expense surrounded by servants and bodyguards and sycophants he
probably doesn’t know homeowners like all property owners and
businesses and workers have lost huge chunks of their paper wealth and
If he had even a small shred of leadership ability, he
could marshal the political forces of the city into coming to grips
with problems and avert this crisis from becoming a catastrophe.
the vacuum of leadership is opportunity.
It is up to the
community and civic and business and labor leaders to fill the void but
time is running short. In a few weeks, the mayor will present his budget
for next year with its deficit approaching $600 million — 15 percent
more than revenue — and then the Council will take it up.
decisions they make change the face of Los Angeles for decades to come.
They will do no better than we deserve if we sit on the sidelines as if
we were spectators in our lives.