By now it's common knowledge that Los Angeles City Council members love their perks and holidays. Just read the L.A. Weekly cover story “Los Angeles on $300,00 a Year.” But now they're taking time off from dealing with important city business — it's officially called a “recess” — for a major conference they don't even attend.

Alice Walton, KPCC's political reporter, notes that only two council members are attending the National League of Cities conference this week in Boston — while everyone else is running for another office, taking trips elsewhere, or just laying low. And it's not merely a one-time occurrence.

Walton also reveals that the vast majority of City Council members skipped the League of California Cities conference in September, even though they took a recess. Back then, council members Bernard Parks, Mitch Englander, and Joe Buscaino made the trip to San Diego to do whatever they do at that thing.

This time around, only council members Ed Reyes and Mitch Englander flew to Boston for the National League of Cities confab.

Props to Englander for at least following through and attending the conferences.

When council members actually do work, they seem to have an unnatural obsession over protecting elephants. Yes, elephants.

It wasn't too long ago that they fretted for months over the fate of Billy the Elephant at the L.A. Zoo. Now the City Council will consider banning the use of elephants at circus shows.

Federation of Labor boss Maria Elena Durazo famously told the City Council during a fight over pension reform last month, “You have spent more time saving Billy the elephant than considering the retirement of workers, human beings that collect the trash, clean the sewers, inspect our buildings.”

Maybe council members should come up with legislation that says if they don't use “recess” time for the exact reason given to the public, they gotta show up at L.A. City Hall and work.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at

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