BREAKING NEWS: Alarcon says grand jury indictment coming down today over his residence problem, LA Times reports.
Dr. Keith Richman, a man I admired who was elected mayor of the City of the San Fernando Valley in the secession election, died last week after spending the last years of his life crusading for reform of the public employee pension systems that threaten the future of our city and state.
Forthright, honest and sincere are words that come to mind in my long relationship with him. He was not a hypocrite.
After listening to the LA City Council spend hours getting what they called an education in pension reform — Pensions 101– and hours more debating whether to outsource collecting bills for ambulance services to raise millions of extra dollars, I fumble for a word that can quite describe what I heard.
What word can describe the hypocrisy of the nation’s highest paid municipal officials who quote their past hypocrisies as proof of their current honesty, who are such phony impostors that they pay lip service to truth why lying through their teeth about what they have done, are doing and intend to do?
There is no other word except hypocrite, spelled large HYPOCRITE.
There was Paul Koretz audaciously demanding to know why the city’s financial, policy advisers and pension experts never said a word about pension costs will soon eat up 40 percent of the general fund.
His question should have filled the Council Chamber with such derisive laughter it would still be echoing through the hallowed halls of City Hall.
But he was told gently, as is the custom when dealing with fools in the City Hall family, that there have been repeated warnings for a decade, endless studies and reports and numeous lengthy Council debates on the astronomical increases in the cost of pensions and health care for city workers.
Nothing was ever done about any of this so the city faces pension bills for as much as $2 billion a year in coming years — costs that will force the city to offer the public little more than basic police and fire services unless something is done about it.
If there was a point to Bill Rosendahl’s setting up the Pension 101 educational event, it was to make sure the Council and the public understand that there is little or nothing that can be done about it.
City staff explained patiently for the umpteenth time that state law and contracts with city unions require that any changes to the pension system can only be implemented if the unions are given roughly equivalent value for any concessions they make.
It wasn’t mentioned whether actually guaranteeing job security for city workers now facing layoffs and furloughs is equivalent value for agreeing to pay a greater share into the pension funds or moving the full retirement age from 55 to 60 or even 65.
There was no indication Council members were any more likely to take any action on what was discussed than they were during the last decade.
Then, the Council moved onto the no-brainer issue of approving contracts to outsource billing and collection for ambulance services.
The Fire Department currently operates like a mom-and-pop store in the Great Depression, leaving $100 million of $150 million in ambulance bills going uncollected.
It’s tough to run a business when you don’t collect two-thirds of the money customers owe you so city officials have goofed around for several years to get rid of the 52 people who have failed at their jobs so miserably — failed because the mayor and council didn’t give them the training and computer equipment needed to do a decent job.
The unions naturally are opposed to this since thousands of workers jobs would be at stake if cost and efficiency became priorities. Since they have such a significant ownership stake in the Council, they have prevailed in blocking contracting out this service which would reduce costs and add tens of millions of dollars in new revenue to the general fund.
Fire Chief Millage Peaks found a perfect solution: Despite a “no hiring” policy and being forced
to cut fire services to the public, he magically found jobs for everyone now involved in billing and collection.
It was an offer even the unions couldn’t refuse, or at least resist with any great passion.
But the union lackeys on the Council stood tall, showing for all the world to see that they care more about serving the unions than the public, more about getting union campaign support than bringing a fortune to keep workers employed and preserve public services.
Koretz tried to renegotiate the contracts, displaying his ignorance and indifference to all business practices. Cardenas, Hahn, Huizar and Zine all lined up with the unions in opposing the deal. Alarcon took it a step further and showed his utter contempt for the deal, and his colleagues by not even bothering to vote..
HYPOCRITE Definition: Person who pretends, is deceitful
Synonyms: Pharisee, actor, attitudinizer, backslider, bigot, bluffer, casuist, charlatan, cheat, con artist, crook, deceiver, decoy, dissembler, dissimulator, fake, faker, four-flusher, fraud, hook*, humbug, impostor, informer, lip server, malingerer, masquerader, mountebank, phony, playactor, poser, pretender, quack, smoothie, sophist, swindler, trickster, two-face, two-timer, wolf in sheep’s clothing.