A day after the Los Angeles' bumbling municipal government hit bottom with bickering between the City Council and the Department of Water and Power over a relatively small amount of cash, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Thursday that an unexpected rise in revenues could at least temporarily save the day.
Ever masterful at finding the easy way out of things (often with undo-able pronouncements that rarely pan out), Villaraigosa on Thursday said the unexpected infusion in tax revenue would at least prevent the city from going broke by May 5, as the City Controller has predicted.
“We're hoping the added revenues will put us in a position where we don't run out of cash,” Villaraigosa said. However, the city is still “developing contingencies to make sure that in the event that we do, that we have the wherewithal to make the cuts that are necessary.”
The mayor didn't say exactly why there's a bump in revenue or exactly how much there is. And he said he still wants the DWP to hand over $20 million that it could generate by tightening its own belt.
The City Council yesterday demanded that the department hand over a promised payment of $73.5 million to L.A.'s main coffers. The utility had refused after the council rejected any electricity rate hikes. The city is facing a nearly $700 million deficit, and all the bickering created a diversion from the real issues of payroll, pensions and government largess that need to be tackled in order to deal with the red ink.
The mayor backed DWP electricity rate hikes as high as 28 percent as another way of avoiding the deep cuts necessary to set the city's ship straight. He didn't get them. The mayor's announcement Thursday seems like just another temporary side show as the deficit continues to add red ink.
-With reporting from Weekly wire services. Got news? Email us.