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.
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.