Radical Change Coming Soon?


L.A.'s fiscal crisis, with over $600 million in overruns, has voices across the board wondering if the L.A. we've known is on its last legs.

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Various City Council members expressed their disquiet over the situation the city is facing to the Daily News:

"I keep telling my friends that this year is awful and that next year and the next few years will be difficult," Councilman Greig Smith said. "And, I predict in five years people will not recognize the city of Los Angeles."...

[Herb Wesson says] "But I do think that this will be a defining moment for the city of Los Angeles. What we are going through will change this city."...

Councilman Bernard Parks, who chairs the council's Budget and Finance Committee, said the city has been living on borrowed time and is now being forced to make the changes it should have considered years ago.

"This has been a long time coming," Parks said. "We have been using one-time solutions for too long. Every time someone finds a pot of money we didn't know we had was just delaying the problem to the future. Well, now guess what? There are no more pots of money."

The City Council may bemoan the situation, but that doesn't relieve them of their responsibility for causing it. as Ron Kaye angrily relates. The Council is beholden to city workers' unions, he says:

That is why we are in trouble, why they are willing to sell the city's assets and mortgage its future, why they are drooling at the chance sock it to us from every direction with higher rates, taxes and fees, why they are for the third time in less than a year back at the bargaining table with the unions begging for help in this budget crisis charade.

They are protecting city jobs, city wages and city benefits at all costs because the unions, with help from developers, contractors and other special interests, put them into the nation's highest and most lavishly perked municipal elected offices.....

And as the crisis deepens by the day, they are moving forward at continuing those policies with what they hope will be $1.5 billion in federal money and, as much as they can, raise cash by selling the farm and borrowing against the city's future.....

This is a calamity in the making. That is not some dark vision of a doomsayer. It is the reality hidden in plain sight. It can be seen by anyone who will actually read the details of the failure of leadership and management revealed in the 1,000 pages of bureaucratic documents produced to support this budget plan...

Jack Kyser, economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp, summed it up to the Daily News:

"You can't just kick the can down the road because every day they delay just adds to the cost of the problem," Kyser said. "They have some very, very tough decisions to make and there are going to be a lot of unhappy constituents. But there is no getting around it."

The associated image was taken by Flickr user Nitro101. It was used under the Creative Commons license.

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