On his way out the door of City Hall, Austin Beutner has finally spoken out about the budget calamity and the lack of any strategy to deal with the now $404 million deficit for next fiscal year — 10 percent of the entire general fund.
“We’ve just reelected half the City Council, and I’ve not heard one of
them propose a solution to a $400-million problem that’s 60 days away,”
Beutner told LA Chamber of Commerce members Thursday.
His comments come two days after the election and just days before the dollar-a-year deputy mayor quits his post to join a new foundation on urban issues being set up by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as part of his preparation to run for mayor of LA in 2013.
At least as reported by the LA Times, he made no mention of the fact that his own boss has provided virtually no leadership during the nearly three-year budget crisis or that he supported the re-election of the very same Council members who have failed to propose a solution to the budget crisis.
Despite the same old, same old results of Tuesday’s elections, we ought to be holding a parade down Grand Avenue for every one of the ordinary citizens who stepped forward and worked so hard to throw out the deadwood at City Hall and bring in new faces with new ideas and a measure of integrity.
Instead, the kibbitzers, second-guessers and bystanders are taking over the conversation, which is fair enough.
It would have been more helpful if they had spoken so forthrightly during recent months or even gotten involved in the election process and worked for the changes they believe are needed.
Hopefully, they, like Beutner, will keep speaking out from their hearts in the coming months as services are slashed and workers punished for the failure of the city’s leadership.
My own blog post on the election has drawn a record 53 comments, all of them whether praising or blaming are provocative and thought-provoking.
Ken Draper at City Watch LA today published some of the harshest criticisms of my own efforts with LA Clean Sweep.
Kevin Roderick, of course, delighted in the establishment’s victory and provided the mocking headline “Cancel the Revolution.”
Joseph Mailander at Street Hassle, more thoughtfully, surveyed the political landscape and offered his personal advice that I “take a month or so off” to clear my head.
Jay Handal of the Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates suggested in an email blast that LA Clean Sweep change its name and leadership
It’s all helpful if we are ever going to create a city government that respects everyone in LA, balances the competing interests, needs and values and does so in a responsible way.
The only goal I have — or anyone involved in LA Clean Sweep has — is to stimulate and inform a lively public conversation that will lead to a greater Los Angeles, a great LA in fact.
If anyone thinks that 88 percent of the electorate being nothing but bystanders is a sign of a healthy community, they are dead wrong.
When someone like Tony Cardenas can win re-election with 4,000 votes — little more than 1 percent of the population of his district — something is terribly wrong.
But let’s take a minute to pay homage to those who dared to run for public office and all the volunteers who walked precincts and staffed phone banks for them, even those who merely voted — they participated and deserve to be respected, not belittled.