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L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's 2011 Budget: Nobody Fired, But 1000s of City Workers, Mainly LAPD, Must Choose Between Furloughs or Blows to Benefits

LAPD-City Hall relations are about to get a lot hairier
LAPD-City Hall relations are about to get a lot hairier

The city budget is here! The city budget is here! (Much like the Royal Wedding. Almost.)

It's not the finalized budget for 2011-2012 -- many grueling meetings separate us from that glorious summer day -- but we have before us the mayor's ideal vision of it, at least. And if L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants his cash (er, our cash) lined up a certain way, his City Councilmembers seldom fail to deliver via nice, happy unanimous vote to keep the city family at peace.

But we digress! The first draft of the city budget is here...

... and one cannot call onself a true Angeleno if one does not take a second to appreciate this colossal 389-page stack of mayoral blood, sweat and tears.

Peruse the entire PDF here. The major impacts it would have, from a quick skim:

No one is getting laid off. This is a huge relief for city workers fearing the pink slip a la Los Angeles Unified School District -- but it does come at a price. See next.

L.A. city employees must choose between about a month's worth of furlough days or paying into some of their own benefits and deferring cost-of-living raises until 2014.

This will hit the LAPD the hardest. It's the most expensive department, sure, but a $100 million cut to salaries and overtime in one year is not what police officers were hoping for. Nor the Los Angeles Police Protective League, who notoriously opposed re-funding a barebones fleet of city libraries in fear police would take these kind of pay trims. LAPPL head Paul Weber said of pro-police-cuts City Councilman Bernard Parks' election opponent at the time:

"The LAPPL endorsed Forescee Hogan-Rowles because like us, she believes that government's top obligation is public safety. The Mayor and the current Chief of Police correctly credited the historic lows in crime to years of dedicated work by LAPD officers and adequate public safety funding. We support candidates who share this point of view."

Well, that didn't really work out for Weber. Mayor Villaraigosa abides by Measure L, a baseline for library funding that voters decisively passed in March, by reopening the facilities on Mondays -- and the LAPD shoulders that weight. The L.A. City Fire Department takes another $51 million in cuts.

We'll continue trying to unpack the 2011-12 budget proposal, but here's the mayor's proud statement on the thing, which he calls "Moving Toward a Sustainable Future" (however slowly):

"This budget reflects my steadfast commitment to making Los Angeles a city where neighborhoods are safe, parks and libraries are open, streets are paved, and there is a healthy reserve fund that ensures the city is financially stable for generations to come. In order to preserve these services and priorities, this budget makes long-term structural changes to move Los Angeles towards a fiscally sound and sustainable future.''

Heck. By the sound of that, you'd never guess we're facing a $400 million-plus deficit to fill by July.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]


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