UPDATE: Read Austin Beutner’s letter to DWP workers at OurLA.org.
It wouldn’t be make believe if anyone in their right mind still believed in Antonio.
He couldn’t even get more than one round of applause from his hand-picked audience of contributors at his State of the City speech, and that was for the one thing that has gone right under his watch, the reduction in violent crime.
The budget plan he outlined Tuesday night is nothing but a work of fiction by a mayor so desperate to save himself he is willing to destroy his city — a compilation of wishful thinking on revenue projections and fantasies of income from fire sales of assets.
It is loaded with one-time savings and revenues that even if they materialize will only help get through the coming year’s $484 million deficit while leaving the 2011-12 deficit of $775 million and the following year’s $1 billion deficit untouched.
He must be stopped before he harms us all.
Some people learn from their mistakes, not Antonio. He got us into this mess doing exactly what he is proposing to do again: Chasing numbers downhill and using smoke and mirrors to avoid reality.
He’s probably the only man in America who still believes the Obama economic miracle will lift the city’s ship back to normal. There isn’t going to be any economic miracle. Normal isn’t coming back. Fundamental economic changes are occurring.
We can no longer use City Hall as a jobs and social welfare program, as a bottomless pit of wealth for sweetheart contracts with unions, contractors and consultants and to subsidize developers whose projects make the quality of our lives and our neighborhoods worse.
Surely, De Facto Mayor Austin Beutner understands this as well as anybody. He made his fortune buying up distressed companies on the cheap, scaling costs to revenue, focusing on the core business and then selling them for spectacular profits.
As the mayor’s top gun, he has been given direct authority over every city agency that impacts revenue and. in a move that is extra-legal, has crossed the line and handed direct control of the Department of Water and Power as its general manager.
What does that say about the pretense of separation of powers, of citizen commission’s providing oversight on politicians and bureaucrats when as the mayor’s man Beutner is part of the authority that appoints the DWP Board and as general manager he reports to the board he appoints?
Is there a secret memo somewhere in the dungeons of City Hall that says martial law was declared as part of the fiscal emergency and the rule of law suspended?
The City Council must stop this abuse of power by rejecting Beutner’s appointment or at the least force him to resign as deputy mayor for appearances sake, if nothing else.
The same is true of the mayor’s budget. The Council is as much responsible for this crisis as he is and now has one last chance to put an end to these phony money games that are rapidly moving LA down the road to oblivion and bankruptcy and made our city the laughing stock of the world.
“I understand your utility is going bankrupt and your city with it,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Beutner at an exclusive Getty Center event Monday night during a visit presumably to scout around for some bargains in public assets to pick up for 10 cents on the Euro.
David Zahniser in the LA Times all but ignores the budget in his story on the mayor’s speech by focusing on the dizzying pendulum swings in direction and message that Antonio, Controller Wendy Greuel and the Council have engaged in for the last year, from early retirements to 4,000 layoffs to today’s “not to worry, we fixed everything” sound bite.
“When the information is that confusing and that contradictory, the
public doesn’t know what to believe — except to distrust anything
they’re told,” said Westside community leader Mike Eveloff, president of the Tract 7260 Homeowners Assn.
The mayor’s handlers regard all this as nothing but a public relations exercise in need of a “more consistent message.”
Antonio himself clearly agrees, deflecting all responsibility for the crisis he created by falsely claiming he’s gotten city spending under control during his reign of profligate hiring, wage increases and giveaways of the public’s money.
All that’s wrong is the fault of Wall Street and the global recession and some mysterious force that obscured Southern California’s eternal sunshine.
“Over the last several weeks, we have allowed darkness to cloud our
optimism. I think that you could even say that we have
allowed the strain of the challenges we face to undermine civic unity.”
Unity? He barely got a majority a year ago against Walter Moore and eight others with little money or name recognition despite his own fame and bottomless pit of dirty political money.
Maybe he means how he achieved the impossible and united the citizenry and public employee unions in opposition to his policies and politics and even gotten the business community to suffer a crisis of confidence in his leadership to the point that only the promises made to them by unelected mayor Beutner has kept them in line.
Antonio is right about a couple of things:e thing: This isn’t why he was elected to office and it is going to be “a tough time for everyone” — even him.