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Dancing for Dollars — Pratfalls and Missteps of the Budget Ballet

Hour after hour, department after department, the worst show on earth — City Hall’s Dancing for Dollars Budget Ballet — is playing out on Channel 35 this week.

Just as they have for the past 10 months, City Council members are breaking the public’s legs doing pathetic pratfalls and spastic missteps falling all over themselves with their top priority protecting city workers’ jobs — and their own, of course.

Forget tree trimming and sidewalk repairs — those are now the responsibility of property owners with the intent to shift liability and costs away from City Hall. Forget pothole repair. Forget there is just anything your tax dollars get you.

Your money is solely for the benefit of the system itself. Anything that most people get from city government falls under the category of “full cost recovery” so you get to pay twice for it.

There is no vision of a better city — let alone a great city — that drives the mayor and Council’s budget plan, just the preservation of the system itself by papering over the problem through transfers of money from one pot to another — every one of those transfers representing a city job saved, a public service eliminated.

It is survival of the un-fittest, this desperate attempt to protect themselves no matter how much damage they do to the quality of life of the four million residents.

Over and over, all they want to know is how they can protect the jobs of those who bring in revenue from the city’s people and businesses and how they can find other jobs for those who actually provide services directly to the public.

They don’t have a plan to actually fix what’s broken — wages and benefits that are no longer affordable, inefficiencies and low productivity in too many departments.

They only have their prayers and hopes for an Obama economic miracle.

It will take a miracle because their long-term inattention to how the city is run, their corrupt sellouts to special interests, their transformation of city government from a services provider into a jobs program are the back story for this unending crisis.

They don’t even know at this point whether the DWP will deign to give them get the $73.5 million promised to bail out this year’s deficit or the $257 they budgeted for next year.

Once again, we are facing a hypothetical budget, relying on the same plan to sell parking structures and other valuable assets that didn’t deliver a single dollar this year. CAO Miguel Santana gives them hope, they are better off now with $80 million hole based on optimistic projections for 2010-11 than they were when they passed this year’s budget with a $300 million hole before revenue projections turned out to be hopelessly optimistic.Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for prayla.jpg

They are living in a fantasyland while the rest of us live a nightmare with libraries and parks open only part-time and the infrastructure deteriorating and our rates, fees and taxes soaring.

In the end, they will cover the nakedness of their shame with the fig leaf of their pompous posturing and trust the public will remain apathetic and ignorant.

They are living in the past and unable to see winds of change are blowing hard, that hard times are waking people up and TV news’ sudden interest is filling their distracted minds’ with facts for a change.

In the name of saving LA, they are destroying it.

They think Neighborhood Councils should be out there trimming the trees and helping out in the parks even as they kill the Neighborhood Empowerment department, and refuse to share power with them.

It’s only a matter of time before it all falls apart — unless, of course, you believe in miracles. So we either need to throw these political bosses out and replace them with genuine public servants or get down on our knees with them and pray for LA.

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12 Responses to Dancing for Dollars — Pratfalls and Missteps of the Budget Ballet

  1. Anonymous says:

    You complain about the Council when they chase funding while also complaining that general funded services will be cut. Ignoring special funds will not stop the reduction in those services. What is it you want them to do?
    Will you be satisfied only when you see tearful jobless city employees? Do you want all City employees to take a permanent 5%, 10%, 40% pay cut? Fire all general funded employees (except Police & Fire) and contract out their work? Contract Police work to the Sheriff’s department or private security firms? Declare bankruptcy (which still leaves the problem of what is to be cut and the existing pensions likely to remain in place)?
    What exactly is your plan?

  2. Sandy Sand says:

    I suggest we vote the off Dancing With the Council!

  3. Anonymous says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous @ 4:46 PM. Responsible journalism doesn’t have to propose a ‘plan’ or a ‘fix.’ Ron has brought to our attention substantial information we might not have access to otherwise. If you have a plan, post it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    WTF???? I have never heard so many pissed off Angelenos in this city about the cowards on council and failure to do anything right. I can’t remember one issue recently any of them have tackled that was in the best interest of the people. They cut the 1st responders budgets with no raises, cut the City Attorney’s budget, and various depts. how in the hell can they sit there and not say a word about spending close to $1 MILLION for Saturday’s march for illegals immigrants??? The Politicians are supporting and standing up for illegals but we have been speaking out and asking ONE OF THEM TO SUPPORT US THE TAX PAYERS and nothing. They are trying to move the issue away from their INCOMPETENCE. Hahn went to San Francisco news is saying. Who paid for that trip and did she take her staffers on our dime?

  6. Anonymous says:

    7:52, Ron is not responsible journalism. Give me a break. He’s too lazy to research half of what he publishes on this blog, which is why it’s full of misinformation. When he writes about politicians he alternates between hero worship and vilification for the same politicians (IE Jan Perry) because he can’t be bothered to look at the facts or consider the context. Same thing happens with policy – which is what 4:46 was pointing out. And his writing style consists of milking dry a logical fallacy called emotional appeal.
    If his goal is to use this blog to mobilize a little army of dumb white conservatives to protest local politics without any rhyme or reason, he’s succeeding. I used to think there was some type of platform he was advocating. Then I noticed the inconsistency in his views. Now I realize Ron and his buddies are just a rich version of the Michigan Militia.

  7. Walter Moore says:

    I think there’s a typo in your posting.
    The part where you demonstrate that Ron has actually misstated any facts? You accidentally left that part out.
    I look forward to seeing you document your assertion that he hasn’t researched his facts, and that his essays are full of misinformation.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Moore, go dig through his archives. Posters have pointed out inconsistencies and misinformation many times. He just ignores them and keeps repeating his assertions like a broken record.
    For starters, here’s one
    - Back in Feb, he was ranting about how the mayor is transferring city workers under threats of layoffs, and then he posted a chart with names, salaries and transfer dates of city workers as evidence. Only problem is those transfer dates are from 2008-2009. Causality problems?

  9. Anonymous says:

    9:14, the city was aware of the impending doom in 2008 that was kept hidden from the public till all of them were safely elected. The transfers were a result of that inside information. DWP like all departments in the city are subject to qualifying civil service exams which clearly were ignored in this situation.

  10. Anonymous says:

    10:24, that’s not what Ron was arguing. He was arguing that the mayor, after his Feb 2010 threats, was now transfering city workers to DWP to cut costs without layoffs. Then he cited as evidence, a list of transfers that predated Feb 2010 consisting of employees who actually did go through the proper exam process. Like I said, causality problems.

  11. Anonymous says:

    1:15, it is amazing that you take issue with Ron’s reporting but none with the thieves and crooks you work for in City Hall who rip-off the LA citizens daily.

  12. Anonymous says:

    1:47, please explain to me how complaining about the lack of integrity in this blog’s journalism automatically means I work in City Hall? Your logic is amazing.
    And here’s another one – For last 2 years Ron has been railing against the city for using DWP as a cash cow (AKA transferring $73 million from the DWP fund to the General Fund). But when his buddy Patsaouras filed a lawsuit against the DWP a month back, trying to use the courts to force the transfer, Ron treated the money as if DWP was stealing it and treated Patsaouras like a hero. So which is it? Is it righteous for the DWP to transfer money to the General Fund, or is it righteous to withhold it? I sure as hell can’t tell, because Ron flip flops his position depending on what type of article he feels like writing.

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