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Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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stories along The Way

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Guest editorial: Looking for that elusive pot of gold

"True Grit" sent us their personal musings on the current budget situation. True Grit could be just about anyone, but we're gonna publish this anyway because:

1. their photo is fantastic! (click it to enlarge)

2. we completely agree with True Grit's description of the Mayor's performance at City Hall yesterday. It was a terrible performance,  full of embarrassing pauses like someone was feeding him tag lines through an earpiece. When he did speak, it was in sound bytes from his speech last week about layoffs.

3. there is a hit list element to the layoff choices. Our gut feeling is that most of it appears to be punitive in nature, aimed at a General Manager or three for non-compliance. 

As for the rest of the content, we'll let y'all argue with "Mr. or Ms. Grit" as to whether they've hit the mark.


Looking for that elusive pot of gold

While the Mayor and Clowncil were busy thanking each other for "working together" and making "hard decisions" about nothing, they missed the one opportunity to get the city out of the financial mess they created - they all should have jumped into their city cars and headed a few blocks north of City Hall to end of this magnificent double rainbow that miraculously appeared in the late afternoon somewhere in between Philippe's and Home Boy Industries. There, they could have found the pot of gold that would have solved the impending bankruptcy that Villaraigosa will do anything to avoid, lest it blemish his legacy.

Of course, even if the Mayor and the 15 Clowncilmembers had found the pot of gold, they would have wasted it on boondoggles.

The irony of today's Clowncil session that saw the Mayor stammer and stumble over his prepared speech of catchphrases and irrelevant platitudes, was that the people who caused this mess have the audacity to believe that they now have the answer.

The Clowncil all asked questions of the Mayor of Failure, each thinking they had something magical to suggest in the form of finding anything, anything at all that would prevent the City from having to fire one employee, let alone 1,000. The one question that nobody asked was "What will the effect of firing 1,000 employees be on the $212M deficit?" According to CAO Miguel Santana's 1,000 person hit list, it will save the City $22.7M in 2009-2010. In 2010-2011, it will save the City $66.4M. In other words, it won't make a significant difference, it might just stave off bankruptcy so the Mayor can claim he's steered the City through difficult times, and thereby rely on the public's general ignorance of reality and somehow allow Villaraigosa to move on to some other political office.

Does anyone else see just how phony baloney the Mayor's 1,000 hit list is? 4 years ago, the City employed 26,000 people, today it employs 30,000. The City's revenue has now fallen to the level it was 4 years ago. So if we're to balance the budget, the City needs to cut 4,000, not 1,000. But the Mayor cannot hide 4,000 jobs in the DWP, Airport and the Port. He can hide 360, and rely on early retirements to take care of the other 640. That's where the magical number of 1,000 comes from, and it's just as illusory as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.