City News

Is The L.A. City Council In Denial Over Budget Mess?

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Wed, May 12, 2010 at 3:54 PM

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We've been snickering about it for quite sometime, but the Los Angeles City Council's feet-dragging distaste for all things budgetary (the city is now looking to pare down a $585 million deficit) seems to be inspiring more-and-more late-night-style quips.

The latest (and perhaps greatest) comes from old L.A. Times colleague Roy Rivenburg and his Not The Los Angeles Times website, which proclaimed this week that "L.A. City Council passes resolution wishing budget deficit would go away."

Funny stuff. The language of the resolution: The council hopes the deficit will "go away really soon, like in the next three months or so."

It's true. This is a council (including the mayor) that likes to debate about boycotting Arizona, cat declawing and body-armor rules. Important stuff, all of it. But little of it is core to the day-to-day mission of running the nation's second-largest city.

The city has taken a beating in the national press, with the likes of George F. Will (in Newsweek) and ex-Mayor Richard Riordan (in the Wall Street Journal) weighing in with harsh words recently on L.A.'s budget quandary.

But budget work is no fun, and it can lead to little political advantage for the council members. That's because, in the real world, the council will have to lay off people -- lots of people -- in order to put that red ink in check. But those people belong to unions that fund campaigns and carry votes.

What to do? Blame the messenger! Because when you don't look good, it must be the mirror's fault.

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