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ONE MOTHER'S PERSPECTIVE

  • WHO WE ARE-Women did it again. The annual Memorial Day tradition of placing flowers on graves of fallen soldiers was begun by women in the South after the Civil War. Who knew? Who now remembers that it was originally Decoration Day? Or that it is a day to decorate the graves of soldiers who fought for a better future. Memorial Day is a great deal…
  • 453 Days Later...

    Tom Rubin
    OFFENSIVE BUT PROTECTED SPEECH-Welcome news this week from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. By a vote of 11 to 1, the court overturned its injunction against the controversial video called "Innocence of Muslims" that it had ordered off YouTube back in February 2014. Here's the background. Actress Cindy Lee Garcia (photo below) was…
  • What LA Educators Should Learn From Bell Gardens High School’s Shocking Turnaround

    Jay Mathews
    VOICES FROM THE SQUARE-Bell Gardens High School in east Los Angeles County was a sorry mess when science teacher Liz Lowe arrived in 1989. It was overflowing with trailer classrooms and graffiti. More than 3,000 students crowded into school buildings surrounding a concrete quadrangle with patches of grass and some trees. Expectations were low. Not…
  • The Clean Sweep Election Finally Happened

    Bob Gelfand
    GELFAND’S WORLD- A few years ago, a group calling itself Clean Sweep argued that the voters of Los Angeles should defeat all the incumbents and replace them with fresh blood. On Tuesday, the results came close. There are two distinct lessons, one of which is quite ominous for elected officials. This election demonstrated the end of voter patience…
  • What Did Tuesday’s LAUSD Election Results Prove?

    Paul Hatfield
    PERSPECTIVE-Did the LAUSD election results signal a change for charter schools? Perhaps. Possibly. Maybe. You can make a decent case that Ref Rodriguez’s victory in District 5 points to strong support for charters. It was a battle between two well-funded candidates with diametrically opposed views on the issue. The effectiveness and fairness of…
  • (Train)ing Ourselves to Confront Modern Mass Transit

    Ken Alpern
    GETTING THERE FROM HERE-It's great to learn that Metro has an excellent new CEO with the hiring of Phillip A. Washington who comes to us from Denver. Following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Roger Snoble and Art Leahy, Mr. Washington has a first-rate reputation to maintain--but his first job will be to pass Measure R-2. Measure R-2 (perhaps…
  • City Controller’s Grandstanding DWP Audit is the Real Waste of Ratepayer Dollars

    Dennis Zine
    JUST THE FACTS-City Controller Ron Galperin’s Grandstanding DWP Audit results were finally released. Unfortunately, the conclusion and political spin that came afterwards from the controller was misleading. Here are the FACTS: The DWP’s Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute are administered by DWP managers and representatives of the…
  • A Place Where ‘Special Interest’ is NOT a Dirty Word

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-We need to have a new word to differentiate the villainous “Special Interest” that everyone is always complaining about and the “Special Interest” that almost all of politicians and civic and social activists have adopted as a cause. It is impossible to have passion about multiple issues. I know I have mentioned this before, but it seems…
  • Alert! America’s Small Businesses are Being Screwed by Big Business

    Robert Reich
    THE ECONOMY-Can it be that America’s small businesses are finally waking up to the fact they’re being screwed by big businesses? For years, small-business groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses have lined up behind big businesses lobbies. (Photo: small businesses in Studio City) They’ve contributed to the same Republican…

 

  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…




Memorial Day 2015- Freedom Isn’t Free

J. Cole raps on the Letterman show: “Be Free’

The Star Spangled Banner … like you’ve never heard it before

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

The Pols, the Hucksters, the City Hall Charlatans be Damned … Los Angeles Must “Live Within Its Means!”

LA WATCHDOG - The City’s very solvency is the most important issue facing the City of Los Angeles.  

And yet none of the five candidates for Mayor have presented any specific details on how they would balance the budget, finance the maintenance and repair of our lunar cratered streets and the rest of our deteriorating infrastructure, and fund the City’s two pension plans that are underwater to the tune of $10 billion, and that is based on overly optimistic rates of return.  
The Mayor’s Proposed Budget attempts to cure the structural deficit of $238 million that is the result of huge increases in salaries, benefits, and pension contributions. But that budget gap is more than $1 billion when adjusted for overly optimistic revenue projections, understated employee related expenses, and the failure to adequately fund our crumbling infrastructure and massively underfunded pension plans. 

And over the following four years, the City is forecasting a cumulative deficit of over $1 billion, and that overly optimistic projection is based on the same set of bogus assumptions as the Mayor’s Proposed Budget.

However, if the wannabe mayors detailed their specific solutions, the City’s special interest groups would go ballistic if they were the target of any budget reductions.  

But we can offer these five candidates an easy way out: endorse a charter amendment for the March ballot that will require the City to “Live Within Its Means,” an expression used on numerous occasions by Mayor Villaraigosa as he has crisscrossed the nation.

So rather than blathering on about “fraud, waste, and abuse” or speculating about the myth of millions in uncollected revenues, the candidates can endorse the “Live Within Its Means” charter amendment as outlined in the following Term Sheet.

This will allow the Mayor and the City Council to consider and develop the Budget for the year beginning July 1, 2013 in a reasoned way that addresses the City’s solvency and its $20 billion Black Hole.

Of course, the candidates for Mayor may tell us one thing and do another, especially after the lobbyists and special interest groups corner the Mayor and the Council in the polluted bowels of City Hall.

But without a charter amendment that requires the City to “Live Within Its Means,” the odds of Measure R being extended or any new taxes being approved by the voters are slim, very slim indeed.

No Real Reform: No R and No New Revenues.  

Here’s the plan.

THE “LIVE WITHIN ITS MEANS” TERM SHEET

The City will be required to develop and adhere to a Five Year Financial Plan (the “Plan”) for the General Fund, all Special Revenue Funds, and the Budget, excluding the three proprietary departments. The Plan will include detailed information, including, but not limited to, income statements, balance sheets, cash flows, and levels of outstanding debt.  

The Plan will also incorporate the financial requirements of the Infrastructure Plan, the Pension Funding Plan, and all other phases of the City’s operations.  

Each year, the City will be required to approve a two year Budget.

The Plan and the Budget are required to be balanced, where revenues exceed expenses, at all times.

The City will develop an Infrastructure Plan that will detail the financial requirements necessary to allow our infrastructure to be in a “good to excellent condition” by June 30, 2024.  Infrastructure includes, but is not limited to, streets, sidewalks and curbs, parks, street lights, buildings and facilities, sewers, storm water drainage, motor vehicles, and information technology systems.

The Infrastructure Plan will also include the budget for capital expenditures.

The City will develop a Pension Funding Plan that will detail how the City will fully fund its two underfunded pension plans (the Los Angeles City Employee Retirement System and the Fire and Police Pension Plans are only 72.6% funded) by June 30, 2024, using reasonable assumptions consistent with other pension plans.

After June 30, 2024, the City will maintain its infrastructure in a “good to excellent condition” and its pension plans will be at least 100% funded.  

The Plan and the Budget will require the City to have actual funding sources to finance any increases in spending or decreases in taxes.  

The Plan, the Budget, the Infrastructure Plan, and the Pension Funding Plan (collectively, the “Plans”) will be prepared based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

The Mayor and a majority of the City Council will be required to approve the Plans.  

The Controller and the City’s independent accounting firm will each be required to attest that the Plans have been prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

The Controller and the City’s independent accounting firm will each be required to attest that the Plan and the Budget are balanced, where revenues exceed expenditures.

Within 60 days of the end of each fiscal quarter (September 30, December 31, and March 31), and within 120 days of the fiscal year end (June 30), the Controller will be required to affirm that the Budget is balanced and is projected to be balanced in the future.    

The City Attorney will be required to attest that the Plan and the Budget meet all legal and regulatory requirements, including that all transfers involving City departments are legal, including those with the three Proprietary Departments.

The General Managers of all departments will be required to approve their sections of the Plans.

The General Managers of all departments will be required to notify the Mayor, the City Council, the Controller, and City Attorney if their department’s budget is not balanced at any point in time or is inconsistent with the Plans.

The Neighborhood Councils will be notified of all approvals and any notifications indicating that the Plans are not balanced.  

The City will have community presentations at least four times a year detailing the status of the Plans.

The Plans will be updated annually.

Beginning June 30, 2014, the City will be required to maintain a Reserve Fund equal to at least equal to 5% of General Fund Revenues.

The City will be required to maintain its existing bond ratings, and take all measures necessary to maintain such bond ratings.

In the case of a natural disaster, the target date envision by the Infrastructure Plan may be extended for one year.  

The City bears the burden of proof that the Plan, the Budget, the Infrastructure Plan, and Pension Funding Plan are consistent with a balanced budget, where revenues exceed expenditures based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.  
●●●
(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: Jack Humphreville, LA Watchdog, Live Within Its Means, City, Los Angeles, city budget







CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 37
Pub: May 8, 2012


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