This picture tells the story of what the Los Angeles City Council is facing as it tries to pare a $492 million deficit projected to hit for the new fiscal year in July. Is the council serious? Because this chart, presented to the city in recent weeks, shows that deficits will only get worse, largely as a result of sweetheart deals with unions that include rich pensions.

The council's Budget and Finance Committee actually added to the projected budget this week by discounting Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's income projections, reducing cuts to the City Attorney's office, and reinstating furloughed emergency dispatchers. The result? A July 1 deficit of $585 million.

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The committee is endorsing chief legislative analyst Gerry F. Miller's observation that at least 1,761 layoffs have to happen in order for the city to take a good swing at that red ink. But what's really needed, as the chart points out, is deep, structural change. This council, and this mayor, don't have the cajones to face that fact.

The council is expected to take up the committee's recommendations Friday.

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