LA WATCHDOG - When a majority of California voters chose the evil tobacco companies and their killer products over a world class cancer research center, it is a sure sign that the skeptical and cynical electorate do not trust the State to manage yet another bureaucracy in an efficient and transparent manner.
But what does this have to do with the insolvent City of Los Angeles and its four million beleaguered residents, who, through no choice of their own, have to tolerate the ”dirty deeds” and financial shenanigans of our corrupt city?
Over the next eleven months, the State, the City, and the County will each be asking Angelenos to trust them and approve increases in taxes and fees that will tap our wallets for over $1.25 billion.
In less than five months, Angelenos, who represent 10% of the State’s population, will vote on Jerry Brown’s and Molly Munger’s initiatives that are designed to raise an additional $10 billion to help fund the State’s chronic deficits and its seriously underfunded pension plans.
However, despite an out of control budget where escalating pension contributions are forcing reductions in basic services such as education, the judiciary, and public safety, and fostering the theft of badly needed funds that are due to our City, the Legislature refuses to put the Governor’s very modest Twelve Point Pension Reform Plan on the November ballot because of the strenuous back room objections of the State’s all powerful, campaign funding governmental unions.
As a side note, the November Presidential Elections are going to be an absolute three ring circus, not because we are a battle ground state, but on account of the vehement opposition of the same anti reform governmental unions who object to the provisions in the “Paycheck Protection” initiative that requires the approval of corporate and union employees if their dues are to be used for political purposes.
And next March, our City’s Elected Elite will be more than likely be asking us to approve increases in the parking, hotel, and documentary transfer taxes in the hopes of raising an additional $100 to $200 million.
But these are the same fiscally irresponsible gangsters that refuse to tackle the City’s four year, $1 billion Structural Deficit and its $20 billion Black Hole, instead relying on funny money and one time gimmicks and lots of hot air to “balance” the Budget.
Nor have these Occupiers of City Hall engaged in meaningful reform, including the Mayor’s penny ante Civilian Pension Reform Plan that cannot make it out of the super secretive Executive Employee Relations Committee.
Nor has the City Council (including wannabe mayor Garcetti), its Budget and Finance Committee, Controller Wendy Greuel (another wannabe mayor), or the Mayor even considered placing the “Live Within Its Means” charter amendment on the March ballot.
And in late November, the County will hold a protest hearing pursuant to Proposition 218 on its plan to levy a $276 million parcel tax to fund its Stormwater Program, subject to a majority vote of voting parcel owners in May of 2013.
However, the County and its Department of Public Works have not even provided the Supervisors, the public, or the property owners with any meaningful operational and financial information other than the promise to develop an “implementation plan.”
While this is a County tax, property owners in the City will be hit up for over $100 million, an amount consistent with the City’s 2009 proposal for its own Stormwater parcel tax. But the request by the City’s Bureau of Sanitation to the City Council was dead on arrival, and as a result, the City’s Stormwater / Urban Runoff Master Plan was dumped on the County.
From Sacramento to San Jose to San Diego to City Hall, voters of all persuasions are in no mood to approve any increases in taxes and fees without real reform. And here in Los Angeles, more and more Angelenos, including mayoral candidate Kevin James, are demanding the City “Live Within Its Means” as the price of any increases in taxes and fees.
Until there is meaningful pension and budget reform, the message in these hard economic times from the cynical and skeptical voters to the ethically challenged Elected Elite and their leaders in Sacramento, LA County, and LA City Hall is very simple: Drop Dead.
(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at: email@example.com) –cw
Tags: Jack Humphreville, LA Watchdog, elected elite, San Diego, San Jose, LA County, City Hall, Los Angeles, budget, budget deficit, budget black hole
Vol 10 Issue 47
Pub: June 12, 2012