It turns out Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was more bark than bite Tuesday when he announced that he would pursue putting most city services on a three-days-a-week schedule to take a bite out of Los Angeles' deficit. (And, uh, we told you so).
The city's chief legislative analyst, Gerry Miller, said Wednesday that the mayor doesn't have the power to enforce such work furloughs — that the City Council would have to vote on them. ” … The City Council will have to adopt an emergency resolution that lays out and authorizes the furlough plan,'' Miller said.
Meanwhile the second Wall Street credit agency this week has downgraded the city's credit. This time Moody's Investor Service knocked L.A.'s general obligation bond rating down a peg as a result of continued foot-dragging on balancing its budget and getting out of its $212 million deficit hole.
The mayor has made big pronouncements about what he wants done to deal with the budget — thousands of worker layoffs, three-day work weeks, but so far little of it has been done because he does not have the authority to undertake such measures. Most city union workers are safe from layoffs until July.
Villaraigosa's ace in the hole was to be a steep hike in Department of Water and Power electricity rates, but that was rejected outright by the council, leading the DWP to withhold a promised and much-needed $73 million payment to the city's general fund.
What's the next move? So far it's been all talk. Business as usual at City Hall.
-With reporting from Weekly wire services. Got news? Email us.