From Walter Moore
Former Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles -- WalterMooreSays.com

L.A. City Hall budget BS and what it means

By Walter Moore -- April 10, 2010 [Note: Link to Villaraigosa archive added by American Patrol]

You know the big story about how the City was supposedly going to run out of money, then Villaraigosa was going to shut it down two days per week, then they miraculously found $30 million in a sofa cushion or jacket pocket or whatever, and now everything’s groovy again? It’s total BS.

Don’t take my word for it. Read the latest budget memo from the City Administrative Officer (CAO) -- well, the acting one, since the real one is in re-hab after his drunk driving arrest. [You can see the memo here: http://web.mac.com/waltermoore/PDF/BudgetMemo.pdf.] In it, you will find the delightful "Table 2," which is noteworthy for several reasons.

First, the CAO’s table shows that City Hall expected to have a $211.7 million deficit BEFORE the DWP withheld the $73.5 million transfer.

Why, then, did the City Council act as though the DWP had caused the "budget crisis?" There was always going to be a massive deficit due to City Hall’s overspending, with or without the transfer.

Second, the CAO’s table shows the City now expects to have a $222.4 million deficit. So why in the heck are Villaraigosa and the City Council acting as though everything’s hunky dory?

Third, CAO’s table and the discussion following it showCity Hall has not received an unexpected $30 million windfall in property tax revenues. What the CAO has actually said is that he now estimates that the City will receive an additional $26 million. That’s not the same as having actually received $30 million, is it? And yet, the Los Angeles Times quotes Villaraigosa as follows:

"'To all of our surprise, we've gotten an increase in revenues of $30 million more from property tax than we expected,' Villaraigosa said Thursday, two days after announcing the move might be necessary as soon as Monday to prevent the city from running out of money."

So what’s going on?

What’s going on is an elaborate faux drama is to dupe voters into accepting DWP rate hikes and the sale of street parking, public golf courses and other valuable public assets -- assets that belong to the taxpayers of Los Angeles. Watch. In coming weeks and months, you will be told that, gosh darn it, they really hate to raise fees in a recession, but they have to do so in order to hire enough police and keep the libraries open. Likewise, they tell you it’s really best for everyone if private companies "operate" our parking facilities, golf courses, convention center, etc.

But you and I know it’s BS. Don’t fall for it, and don’t let your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers fall for it, either.


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