The Los Angeles City Council this week followed through with a proposal to give up control of some of the public's most lucrative parking lots when it voted 9-3 to start soliciting bids from companies that want to take over the properties based on 50-year leases.
In exchange the city expects to raise a sorely needed $53 million in cash plus a future cut of of income from the 10 city-owned lots, including ones at Pershing Square downtown, Hollywood and Highland Center and the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.
Of course, as it stands, the city essentially gets all of the profits from the lots. But these are desperate times. In spring the city faced more than $500 million in red ink and had to take extraordinary measures to balance the budget.
Unfortunately the $53 million won't go too far. It'll put a one-fiscal-year Band-Aid on an epic, structural problem with L.A.'s budgets, which are increasingly stressed by out-of-control pensions. But losing control of these lots for 50 years — that's hard time.