It seemed like only yesterday that the city of Los Angeles was facing more than $500 million in red ink, the prospect of thousands of layoffs, and the dreaded "b"-as-in-bankruptcy word. Wait, it was only yesterday -- like last month. The City Council ended up balancing the budget, but only with the promise of income that hasn't really come in yet.
On Tuesday afternoon city administrative officer Miguel Santana warned that that financial woes would loom again if the council didn't approve a plan to lease out some of its cash-cow parking structures to private entities. (A dark financial cloud has been sticking to City Hall like the marine layer has been dogging the beach this summer: It ain't goin' nowhere). According to the plan ...
... those entities would give the city cash up front -- $53.2 million by October -- to get their hands on those money makers.
Now, why would the city give up control of such cash-generating enterprises? It sounds desperate huh? Like the $100 million lottery winner who sells his ticket for a few mil upfront so he can buy a new double-wide and a new Rolls-Royce Ghost for his baby mom.
If the deals don't go through city employees could be looking at 10 additional furlough days, Santana said. The City Council was expected to take up the matter Wednesday.
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"We need to end the year in the black and we already know we have this hole, so we need to mitigate it one way or the other,'' he said.
The garages include those at Pershing Square downtown, Hollywood and Highland Center and the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. Prime parking, that. The city, of course, would get a guaranteed cut. But it would give up main control of the lots for 50 years under the deal.
Some day you'll be able to explain to your grandchildren how this City Council gave up control of prime city property in order to make a (small) dent in its 2010-2011 fiscal budget.