Comment on this post

Gamblers and Thieves: The City Council and the Library Tax

Like every loser at every gaming table in the world, the City Council just can’t stop placing bets against the odds no matter how much they have lost, no matter how little they have left in the bank.

On Tuesday, the Council moved forward to put a parcel tax of $39 a year on each of the nearly 800,000 properties in the city no matter how little they are worth or how much. It’s the most regressive tax there is, food on the table for a family struggling to survive in hard times.but not even close to the price of a meal at the mayor’s favorite restaurants.

But gamblers like our city officials can’t stop, especially when they are playing with other people’s money, which is the only money they play with.

These are people who are firing library workers by the hundreds, slashing library funding by 30 percent or more, closing the beautiful new libraries we haven’t even paid for one day and now two days a week.

And yet they moved forward to draft a ballot measure for the parcel tax on the November ballot for the most cynical of reasons: A poll that shows it has a better chance of passing with a two-thirds majority in the statewide general election than in the March city election.

The reason, they admitted, is turnout is lower and more conservative in March than in November. A poll paid for by the unions and the Library Foundation told them so, if there was any doubt.

The other difference, which ought to have been fatal, is it costs the city more than $4 million to put the tax on the November state ballot, nothing to put it on the city ballot in March.

If the tax actually passed, the libraries wouldn’t get a cent either way until the end of 2011, nearly 18 months from now.

Still, they left the March election open as a possibility although Chief Librarian Martin Gomez told them he opposed that because it would be defeated  for sure, the pollsters told him. He would rather wait until the November 2012 presidential election, putting off the revenue stream until nearly 2013. So much for urgency.

Gomez doesn’t even have a budget for the $30 million a year this tax would raise, beyond rehiring laid off workers at a cost of $10 million.

There isn’t even yet a provision to keep the Council from stealing the money, supplanting it, as they and the mayor did when they tripled the trash free to hire cops and then used most of the money to keep the city afloat. Jose Huizar asked for taxpayer protection, which has proven to be worthless in the past as is the vague “oversight committee” proposed for this tax.

Council members know they have lost all credibility by pushing the city to the brink of bankruptcy and failing to face the problems head-on. But they are junkies, addicted to other people’s money, and can’t help themselves.

They preferred to add to the financial burden by handsomely paying off 2,400 senior employees to retire early. They transferred more workers to the DWP, where they got raises up to 50 percent, than they have laid off two years into this crisis.

And now they want a segment of the public to pay for their failure with this tax.

It’s unthinkable but they are shameless. Only Dennis Zine opposed this while the supposed watchdog for the taxpayer, Greig Smith, stood silent except for a premature effort to cut off the discussion before all the facts were before them.

I’m betting when this tax comes back before them on July 14, the deadline for the November ballot, they will blink and back down because they don’t even have the courage of their lack of conviction.

Free public libraries are a vital and basic service of American society dating back to Benjamin Franklin but they chose knowingly and willfully to take away funding for one of the few quality services the city provides.

They made the wrong choice for the wrong reasons. If they decide to put this parcel tax on the ballot, they will have made another wrong choice for the wrong reasons.

And they will lose at the ballot box in November or March or whenever they put this or any other tax on the ballot until they fix what they have broken or are replaced by people who will.

This entry was posted in City Hall, Hot Topics, Los Angeles and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Gamblers and Thieves: The City Council and the Library Tax

  1. This will not make it to the ballot unless the Council feels that it has a chance of passing. And Eric Garcetti quoted Governoing Magazine saying that the odds today are much lower than they were in the past.

  2. Anonymous says:

    .0175% of property tax — read PARCEL TAX – already goes to paying for these exact Library Dept services by City Charter.
    Now they want another tax on the same parcels for the same services?
    What is wrong with this picture?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yes Gomez does have a budget – $30 mil is the difference between what the Mayor wants to give the Library Dept (the $75 mil he is forced to give them per the City Charter) and the Library Dept’s actual budget of $105 mil.
    The $30 mil will fill the gap… eventually. Someday. If Angelenos are dumb enough to pass a second tax on the same property for the same services.

  4. Anonymous says:

    All of this can be resolved if the City Council has the guts to layoff a thousand police officers.

  5. Anonymous says:

    They can’t possibly put a tax to fund the Mayor’s 100+ useless staff, the gangs or the unnecessary City Council staff, who seemingly never inform their masters of any legislation in front of them, or for countless other departments that are all overstaffed.
    No more taxes till each and every city department is restuctured, reduced and learns to do more with less. No more taxes till the Mayor keeps no more than a dozen staff and the Council half of that and no more taxes till they all lose their slush funds.
    The city has enough money. It is misused and wasted in the hands of politicians who have little interest in managing it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Let’s start the early campaign AGAINST IT NOW. Everyone start using the power of the internet to your groups to inform them VOTE NO. These losers on city council are clueless. They are the highest paid in the nation and the dumbest. THey prove the Peter Principle perfectly. You go through life getting promoted up and up and when you reach the top, you are clueless on what to do because you have been faking it for so long.
    The Peter Principle is the principle that “in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” It was formulated by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull. It holds that in a hierarchy, members are promoted so long as they work competently. Sooner or later they are promoted to a position at which they are no longer competent (their “level of incompetence”), and there they remain.
    That my friends is Los Angeles City Council, Failure of a Mayor, Failure of a Controller,

  7. Anonymous says:

    They think we are idiots. NO!!!!!!!!
    Did they read today`s horrific economic news? But again I forgot; they don`t know how to read.

  8. Anonymous says:

    6:10 p.m. that is the city bureaucracy filled with mid-level to upper echelons making over $100,000 and totally incompetent.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This Rose Bowl Concert GIVEs ME the Willies!
    The lights dim, and crickets begin to sing. Mr. Mayor stands on stage after the concert. Tripping over some musical equipment Lt. C. waltzes onto the stage.
    Lt: Good evening Mr. Mayor.
    MM: Good evening Lt.. I love your series.
    Lt: Well, it keeps me busy. Wait until you see the next episode, I think you’ll love it too. So how was the show?
    MM: U2 was awesome. Why do you ask?
    Lt: Well you see there is this small ticket matter that doesn’t follow the same pattern of how you acquired all the other tickets over a period of your impeccable civil service. You actually paid for the U2 concert….Is that correct?
    MM: Yes, I did.
    Lt: How many tickets did you purchase?
    MM: Two.
    Lt: How much were the tickets? Were they on sale?
    MM: $$$$
    Lt: When did you buy them?
    MM: The tickets?
    Lt: Yes…for the U2 concert.
    MM: I don’t remember.
    Lt: Where did you buy the “U2 Tickets”?
    MM: I don’t recall.
    Lt: Mr. Mayor do you happen to have a receipt for the tickets in question?
    MM: NO!
    Lt: “Just one more thing….Do you like U2?
    MM: U2 Rock n’ Roll!
    Lt: I’m sorry…”Just one more thing….Where were you sitting?…I mean approximately how close were you to the stage?
    Camera pans over to Mayor’s face….Mayor grins…..Now a word from Mr. Mayor’s sponsors….

  10. anonymous says:

    Scene opens with a child looking up at the library with a giant “closed” sign on the door.
    The caption reads: What will you do for their future? Vote Yes on the future of our children.
    Next ad:
    Chief Beck stands with a child before a library with a closed sign. Then we see flashes of young gang members walking the streets. Beck says: Vote Yes on the future of our chilren. Small print says: brought to you by Read LA a 501 C 4 coalition of unions.
    For every ten ads the union pays for there is one ad showing what you are really paying for (pensions, raises, pole dancers, etc). Ballot measure brought to you by the rate and tax payers of LA, against their will.

  11. Walter Moore says:

    Before we fire librarians, could we perhaps do without 11 press secretaries, two protocol people, and five census staff members in the Mayor’s office? And maybe his assistant could handle his calendar, instead of paying three people to do so?
    Read more in my essay which the Daily News, I am proud to say, published today:

  12. In Eagle Rock says:

    The City Council does what lots of political bodies do to slant the playing field when it comes to getting voter on their side for bonds and taxes- which effectively are the same product when it comes to the source for payment.
    Here, the libraries are hit by the Council’s cuts and libraries are one of the “positives” that the city provides. The tax sought is riding on the back of this sympathetic city service that will pull you to their side. It’s as a puppy would be in an ad for funding shelters to stop the killing of the pets that the shelter can’t accommodate.
    The Council COULD have cut some lower profile items that people WOULD want reduced, including staffers at all levels. A lot of opinion is that they are riding the gravy train and they need to be thrown off. But the Garcetti view of the city as “family” keeps all employed as they can, and then cuts into higher visibility, higher need expenses that people want to keep.
    So just a little bit to a parcel tax to fix this sounds reasonable, right? That’s what the Councll relies on. And concept of cutting spending based on addressing waste, fraud and abuse is foreign to them. Well, cutting it would be foreign to them, since they have all honed their skills at practicing, to varying degrees, waste, fraud and abuse. The Mayor is “Exhibit A” in that area, and maybe there will be a backlash affecting others in the Council. “When will sanity prevail in local government operations?” is one question that is generated by the actions of L.A. politicians.
    The Council has no credibility based on countless examples of shifting money and hiding funds and amounts, and any extraction of money from taxpayers wallets winds up financing things that we have no choice in selecting. The huge transfer of general-funded city workers (the “family”) over to be under the DWP’s umbrella got them raises, perpetual job security and heightened benefits above and beyond other city employees. It also pumped up IBEW membership a good deal, I believe. All at the expense to “ratepayers” who many at the DWP do not recognize as taxpayers. [Did anyone consider moving these employees with THE SAME kind of pay and benefits? After all, wasn't it the JOBS as the basic preservation goal and not an UPRGRADE? I think Garcetti was for one a very please CM over this possibly "intended" consequence.]
    So the Library is left out in the cold, unprotected with the parcel tax as the Council’s solution. How will literacy be improved by Summer Night Lights compared to wider access to library services? SNL is probably a finger in the dike for crime intervention with long-term improvement never faced.
    The focus is on short term goals, the first of which is to keep everyone in a political office, elected or appointed, and then comes attention to the city business that’s been more of a playground for the City Council and Mayor than a responsibility as they spend on themselves with an air of entitlement.
    But they sacrifice, too. Jose Huizar annouced at the last Eagle Rock NC meeting that he’s taken a 10 percent pay cut. So that makes his monthly gross- and it is that when you think of the work put out- to be $13,500 instead of $15,000.00. For people getting double of what they should be paid, the cut should have been more for them instead of a “token” or “symbolic” amount.
    And their short sightedness in handling the well-being of residents will hit the public more than than either their immediate or city “families.” Nothing changes.
    Clean Sweep them out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>