Using the language of our headline earlier this week, KNX 1070 Newsradio asked Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Wednesday if he indeed "Has The Biggest, Most-Expensive Mayor's Office In Decades." Of course, he denied it, but he didn't really answer the question.
Rather, Mayor V., ever slick, noted to the station that his office, including staff salaries, has taken a 10 percent cut this fiscal year, and that his people have seen more furlough days than those of any other city department. That's nice. Seriously. But it doesn't address the point: Villaraigosa's office has spent more money than either of his predecessors, Jim Hahn and Richard Riordan. On that point he was mum.
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Our report simply pointed to the good work of Isaias Alvarado at La Opinion (English translation), who found that the mayor at one point had a decades-high office budget of $9 million. Even after recent cutbacks, Mayor V.'s operations employ 173 workers versus 121 for Hahn and 114 for Riordan, according to Alvarado.
Mayor V. has 12 deputy mayors, 10 financial advisers, eight communication advisers, seven energy-and-environment advisers, six transportation advisers and three international-trade advisers.
La Opinion found that personnel managers make as much as $170,000 a year, legislative leaders make up to $160,000, and deputy mayors go as high as $148,000. Remember, here, that the city is facing a $212 million-and-counting deficit as well as the specter of 4,000 layoffs. Police staffing is already suffering as a result of the budget crisis.
Oh, and by the way, Villaraigosa told Fox 11 News Tuesday night that if you want a pothole fixed, you're on your own: The city doesn't have the money to expedite road repairs.