L.A. Council Once Again Puts Off Tough Choices

Surprise, surprise. The Los Angeles City Council on Friday put off a vote on the city's budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, opting instead to issue dire warnings while threatening to finally make a move on Monday that could result in hundreds of job cuts.

City Hall is facing $585 million in red ink for the new fiscal year, and more than 1,750 layoffs have been proposed, but the council today failed to come to a consensus on the matter. Instead it warned unions to make concessions and offered to put off 1,000 layoffs until Oct. 1, when revenues would be reevaluated.

Councilman Herb Wesson even went as far as to adopt the unions' stance and forward a (very unrealistic) proposal calling for no layoffs and increased "revenue-generating" measures.

City Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilman Bernard Parks, however, argued that the council would likely go ahead with 761 layoffs if city unions didn't offer up pay and benefits concessions by Monday.

"We would move forward with the 761 initial layoffs that are in place, but with the caveat that they can be negotiated away (by the unions),'' Garcetti said. "We would also have the furloughs ... continue to be there, but those could potentially go away.''

Even after receiving bad national press in Newsweek (George F. Will compared L.A. City Hall to Greece) and the Wall Street Journal over its inability to make tough choices on the budget deficit, the council continued to deny the reality that deep structural changes will be needed to fend off years of future deficits at City Hall.

A 5,000-worker hiring spree in recent years, pared with insane pension benefits for some workers that can reach into the six figures, need to be reigned in. But the council, once again, is hoping for a quick-and-easy fix.

It looks the website Not The Los Angeles Times had it right all along.

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us.


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