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 'A PROMISE IS A PROMISE'

Special to CityWatch: Can Jorge Ramos Save The American Immigrant Dream?

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA- President Barack Obama’s disappointing failure to champion immigration reform, what The Washington Post called his “immigration train wreck,” may be the consummate example of the failure of the Obama presidency on Latino issues. It is also a tell-tale sign of the potential trouble the Democratic Party could find itself in…

Museum Row’s Billion Dollar Block Party

Tim Deegan
EXCLUSIVE TO CITYWATCH--City planners, developers, community members and other stakeholders are having a block party in the Miracle Mile: no champagne but plenty of stress served to order, depending on who you're aligned with. Issues with development: take a seat. Raising hundreds of millions of dollars for development, take several seats. Here…

What Is It About The Homeless That Makes Us So Angry?

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD--It was a long public hearing at my neighborhood council the other night. Outraged, obviously frightened homeowners were pitted against advocates for the homeless. At least that's how it started, but it's not how it ended. It's curious, but in this contentious culture of ours, it turned out to be possible to have a meeting of the…

Kill the Transit Tax, Kill the Olympics

Ken Alpern
ALPERN AT LARGE-You know, it's indeed possible that there will be enough voters who won't remember (or care about) the current shenanigans and budget games in the City of LA--enough to allow a 2/3 vote to pass a new sales tax measure in November 2016. Then again, maybe enough voters will remember, and the initiative will (like its predecessor…

Headlines Don’t Lie – LA Needs Leadership

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-I’m talking to you as a man who policed Los Angeles streets for over 30 years and established policy for another 14 years -- two years as an elected Charter Reform Commissioner and 12 years as an elected Los Angeles City Councilman. Take a look at the latest Los Angeles News and Breaking Headlines. They tell a frightening story…

Airbnb Just Floats by the PLUM Committee

Tony Butka
THE CITY-I was going to do my usual flip and cynical kind of a piece on the Airbnb hearing, but the issue is too important, and just maybe, all is not lost. The Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee hearing was scheduled in the Public Works Hearing Room, but so many people attended that they had to move it to City Council Chambers…

Bikeshare Comes to Los Angeles … Sort Of

Richard Risemberg
WAITING ON LA--Here’s photographic confirmation that bikeshare has arrived in LA: Not the City of Los Angeles, though; not quite yet. That’s a live bikeshare station in Santa Monica, on Main Street, next to one of the two bike corrals that grace the block south of Ashland. (There’s another and very busy bike corral two blocks north.) This is a…

The Summer of My Discontent ... LA Version

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN--I think there is such a thing as the "Dog Days of Summer" since my usual sunny disposition ... glass half full demeanor ... seems to be out of sorts of late. There is a litany of things that are annoying me, aside from the heat. I am disappointed in our local government ... not all of them, but a majority. Like many of you I studied the…

Marilyn Who? Ask Councilman Krekorian or Mayor Garcetti

Richard Lee Abrams
PRESERVATION POLITICS-Who doesn’t like Marilyn Monroe? Councilmember Krekorian, that’s who! Why else would Councilmember Paul Krekorian support the demolition of one of the most significant homes of Marilyn Monroe? With the blessings of Mayor Garcetti, who believes in eradicating as much of Hollywood’s history as possible, and with the support of…





Record Breaking! Josh Groban sings Trump


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

Asia on $30,000 a Day

LA WATCHDOG - Our peripatetic mayor is now on an 11 day, $295,000 junket to China, Japan, and South Korea designed to build and nourish important relationships with the movers and shakers so as to “increase investment, trade, and tourism” in the City of Los Angeles.  This “trade mission” is being financed by the Port of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles World Airways (“LAWA”), two of the City’s three proprietary departments. While there is no doubt that the commercial relationships with these Pacific rim countries are very important to the well being of Los Angeles and its economy, is this an appropriate use of the resources of the Port and LAWA?  Are they the sole beneficiaries of this expedition?  Are first class travel, luxury suites, and sumptuous dinners appropriate given the dire conditions of the City’s finances?  And are these type of expenditures even permitted under the travel policies of these two proprietary departments?

But the inappropriate use of LAWA funds by the City is nothing new.  In the past, LAWA funds have been diverted to help balance the City’s budget and fund the City’s marketing efforts.  On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times revealed that the Federal Aviation Administration is reviewing a complaint filed by the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association that the Los Angeles Police Department is seriously overcharging LAWA for police services, a clear violation of federal law and Proposition 26. (Link)

The utter disregard for the appropriate use of government funds appears to be rampant.  Just this weekend, KCET’s award winning show, SoCal Connected, revealed that massive expense account abuse is still rampant at the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (“HACLA”). (Link) This included over $14,000 spent at Harold & Belle’s Creole Restaurant, one of Herb Wesson’s favorite watering holes, and the beneficiary of a highly questionable $2.6 million loan to finance the son’s leveraged buyout of his family’s business.

And while the City was digesting this fraud, the Los Angeles Times disclosed that HACLA’s politically appointed Board of Commissioners quietly approved a $1.2 million severance package for Rudy Montiel, the former head of HACLA who was sacked back in March.  This agreement also has a clause that neither party will disparage the other.  However, that might be very difficult since HACLA may be under criminal investigation.  

Of course, the real sin is that these abuses are surely an indication of a mismanaged and corrupt organization that is failing to serve those that are least able to help themselves.

But there is another good reason why the Mayor Who Broke LA left for Asia.  

On December 2, the City Administrative Officer released the Second Financial Status Report which revealed that the City is projecting a $72 million deficit for the current fiscal year that ends on June 30, 2012.  Underlying this projected deficit is higher than budgeted personnel expenses related to the Fire Department, Workers Compensation, and retiree healthcare, issues which should have been addressed through the development of a long term operational and financial plan that is standard operating procedure for any $7 billion organization.

This report also stated that the Four Year Outlook has not changed, meaning that next year’s budget gap will be in the range of $250 million and that the four year cumulative deficit will be in the range of $1 billion as personnel costs will increase by $750 million.

No doubt a smiling Mayor Villaraigosa will return from Seoul, the last stop on his trip, with plenty of great news on how this trade mission will benefit Los Angeles and its economy and create numerous jobs.  

But while the Mayor is gallivanting around the world and no doubt indulging in the world’s finest wines, he and the City Council have failed to address the ever increasing corruption in our City, its inefficient operations and out of control personnel expenses, its deteriorating infrastructure, its underfunded pension plans, its bureaucracy that is trashing local businesses, and its impending financial crisis.

We are in for one horrible hangover.

(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:  lajack@gmail.com) –cw

Tags: Asia, Asia trip, Mayor’s Asia trip, Mayor Villaraigosa, Herb Wesson, LAWA, Port of LA, Rudy Montiel, Jack Humphreville, HACLA, Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association







CityWatch
Vol 9 Issue 97
Pub: Dec 6, 2011



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