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Love-Hate Relationship on the South Lawn: Choir of L.A. City Workers to Present Mayor With Loaded Valentine

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Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge City Hall and L.A. employees: Their love wasn't strong enough for furloughs - SUMTHINBLUE.COM
  • sumthinblue.com
  • City Hall and L.A. employees: Their love wasn't strong enough for furloughs
Don't be fooled:

The bestowing of red jumbo Valentine cards by L.A. city workers upon L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his City Councilmembers this February 14 outside City Hall (that is, if any of them show up; they've been known to have a problem with that) will not be an act of love.

The cards are printed with the words CITY WORKERS ARE THE <3 OF L.A. -- which is to say, try to hand us more furloughs and you'll quickly regret the day you were born, you greedy politicking bastards.

The SEIU Local 721 union has invited "anybody that has any say in being able to determine budget decisions in L.A. city" to the South Lawn spectacle, where they'll receive their dodgy Valentines. In particular, union spokeswoman Tracie Morales mentions Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, who proposed additional furloughs for city workers this January even after a 10 percent hour cut last year.

Not cool, say L.A. firefighters, engineers, librarians, trash-truck drivers and street-service crews, many of whom will show up Monday at 11:30 a.m. dressed in pink and red, waving <3 OF L.A. signs to match the Valentines. A real-live church choir will even be present for the opening honors.

The workers' gripe:

In recent weeks, City budget officials have repeatedly called for more service cuts, furloughs, and layoffs as the "only" fiscal solution. But there are viable alternatives that will not cause harm to the City we love:

• Cutting unnecessary spending

• Collecting money from companies that owe the City millions

• Ending expensive private contracts for services that City workers can provide for less money

Hmmm. Tricky. As ruthless (yet impossible not to adore) Governor Jerry Brown would say, and as he did say to the L.A. Community Redevelopment Agency last month: "If not you, then who?"

Workers-union spokeswoman Morales argues that the city is wasting millions "by contracting out to other [more expensive] workers," instead of just bringing city employees back on full time. By next Tuesday, all the rainbows and hearts will be booted from the V-Day act, and SEIU Local 721 will present a report to the Employee Relations Committee "that details some of the costly contracts that the city uses to provide services."

Until then (and surely after), they'll just keep doing this hate-that-I-need-you, you'll-never-change, think-we-need-to-see-other-people push and pull, where everyone's selfish and no one's happy, like most average couples -- and if that gets tedious, there's always elephant porn at the L.A. Zoo.

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