L.A. on a deathride to bankruptcy

L.A. on a deathride to bankruptcy

April 9, 2012

By John Seiler

City of Angels. City of Dreams. City with a “Holy wood.” City that’s Tinseltown.

City driving off a bankruptcy cliff.

Los Angeles and the state of California are racing in a Chicken Run like the one in “Rebel Without a Cause.” One is going off the cliff first.

Only this time, the other one is going off as well because there’s no James Dean to save us. Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo are gone, too.

Reported the Daily News:

“Offering a dire warning about potential bankruptcy, Los Angeles City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said Friday the city will need to raise taxes, clamp down on employee pay and consider layoffs in order to keep solvent.”

They always seek to raise taxes. Government spends wildly, and they want to raise taxes. Businesses and jobs leave, crashing the tax base. And they want to raise taxes even more. Los Angeles is the most anti-business city in the most anti-business state in a country with a highly anti-business federal government. Yet the L.A. bosses blame the taxpayers, already anemic from previous extractions, for not donating even more blood.

L.A. officials are like the “adults” in “Rebel”: totally clueless about what’s going on in the youth culture around them, even with their own children.

L.A. hasn’t had real adult supervision since Mayor Richard Riordan left office 11 years ago. His successors, James K. Hahn and the incumbent, Antonio Villaraigosa, have been spendthrifts who never saw a wasteful program they didn’t embrace and expand. And under both Hahn and Villaraigosa, the city’s pension crisis has grown and grown.

The city currently sponsors 841 retirees in the “$100K Pension Club,” those making $100,000 or more a year. The top ones:

$317,876 — Donald F. Drayton, Department of Water and Power (why isn’t it privatized?)

$290,707 — Frank Salas, DWP

$265,090 — Bernard C. Parks, ex-top cop, currently a city councilman. He was the police chief for less than five years, yet still gets this mammoth pension. And he’s one of 15 council members, whose salary is $178,789, plus numerous perks, the highest for any council members in America — as they have been riding L.A. into bankruptcy. Total for Parks from taxpayers: $443,879.

$217,843 — Kathryn E. Lane, DWP

$207,891 Thomas C. Hokinson, DWP

Let the good times roll! (Off a cliff.)

The DWP pension system has been in crisis for at least two years.

And the other city pensions, according to the L.A. Times, “are rising so quickly they could consume nearly one-third of the city’s general fund budget by 2015.”

So any tax increases just would go to the bloated pensions.

What L.A. should do is declare bankruptcy. Then it would come under the control of a federal bankruptcy judge, who can renegotiate city contracts to reduce the plush pay, perks and pensions of city workers. He also should cut all pension payments above $100,000 a year to that number.

And city council members’ salaries should be cut to zero. The city still would find hundreds of eager candidates for the offices, any of them, even winos from the alley, more competent than the current bankruptcy bunch.






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  1. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 9 April, 2012, 12:23

    I don’t think Bell, Ca was an anomaly. My guess is that if honest independent auditors looked into the affairs of LA and it’s burbs that 75% of the cities have played the same games that Bell played. Those people in Bell city government weren’t smart enough to think up all those scams. My belief is that they were copycats and it’s been going on for a long, long time. The only reason Bell got exposed is because they couldn’t hide it anymore. They were good copycats but couldn’t execute.

    Some would say that municipal bankruptcies would be disastrous. Not me. IMO it would be a beautiful cleansing phenomenon and couldn’t happen fast enough. It would practically be a spiritual experience. Like a baptism. I say ‘bring it’.

    Reply this comment
  2. queeg
    queeg 9 April, 2012, 19:14

    no government shall look backward……turn to salt!!

    Reply this comment
  3. Bob
    Bob 9 April, 2012, 21:36

    Now, now, Mr Queeg, we will have none of that.

    After all, your government masters love you and everything they do is “fer da childern” as their apologists always tell us.

    After all, who’s gonna love you more than Barrack Hussein Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Blowsi, Dianne Crimescene, Barbara Boxer and John Boehner and Mitt Romulen? And an army of goverment bureaucrats and other government “workers” and their unions?

    With a big gummit that loves you what can possibly go wrong?

    Reply this comment
  4. Hondo
    Hondo 9 April, 2012, 22:30

    My brother and sister are public employees, my sister a teacher and my brother works for a San Bernardino county. They both think their pensions are guaranteed. They are small in compared to the ones that are 75 thousand and up. I haven’t the heart to tell them they may get a fraction of what they are promised. I tell them to come to this blog or to the flashreport and look around. This scares my because I love my brothers and sisters and I wish their future was secure. There are very real people who didn’t cause this problem who they will go down the tubes with the rest.
    All those public workers better come around for there is no more money left to steal. 2015 seems to be the year. No amount of wishfull math pay the bills. That’s the year the hockey stick graph turns to the ceiling and no amount of screaming, yelling and finger pointing will make the math work.
    I pray for my family and for my beloved state.

    Reply this comment
  5. Roy Reynolds
    Roy Reynolds 10 April, 2012, 11:12

    DWP should be privatized, but any viable candidate to take it over (obviously, Southern California Edison which surrounds DWP’s service area) would never assume its debt, pension obligations or want its union.

    Reply this comment
  6. queeg
    queeg 10 April, 2012, 11:45

    geesh….some guy painted on a pony tail for me and believes I’m a welfare check collector…

    Reply this comment
  7. Bob
    Bob 10 April, 2012, 13:45

    Ah heck, Mr. Queeg, I don’t think that at all. In my book you’re a good egg.

    Reply this comment
  8. YJ Draiman for Mayor of LA
    YJ Draiman for Mayor of LA 22 April, 2012, 09:33

    YJ Draiman for Mayor of LA
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Are LA voters angry enough to change the current administration at Los Angeles City Hall???

    LA voters in the March 2011 Elections voted for incumbents – People do not care, why???

    Why do we think LA city election on March 5, 2013 will be any different???

    I would think with the poor performance and dismal track record by the current administration, the voters would demand to change the current administration at LA City Hall.
    4 of the current LA Mayoral candidates are mostly recycled LA City Council members who have proven themselves unworthy by their repeated failure to solve the City’s problems and Council staff members who have demonstrated their loyalty and obedience to their pockets, like well-trained dogs.

    The performance of the current administrations borders on criminal neglect.
    In order to move forward, we must educate the voters, let them know that the current administration goals are business as usual, there will be no significant changes and the city will be heading into bankruptcy. The escalating costs of pensions and benefits will drain most of the city budget as we head into 2020. The increased taxes and fees on residents and businesses will push people and businesses to leave the city. This again will reduce revenues to the city.
    The city must initiate an austerity program. Cut salaries and benefits across the board, increase efficiency and performance. The Police Department should utilize civil service employees for clerical work, not Police Officers. The city must tighten its belt and reduce taxes and fees, streamline bureaucracy. Promote the health of existing businesses and actively go after new businesses. Any city employee who is not performing his job to standards should be put on suspension without pay or benefits and if such action has not improved the workers performance, the worker/employee should be terminated. The city must utilize its most expensive resource, its employees more efficiently, promote a good work environment and reward exceptional performance. People must realize that if they do not do their job, they will have no job and no means of support. The city must streamline management and reduce management costs. A high administrative cost is not prudent and not sustainable. LA’s employee costs are one of the highest in the country. We need a change in attitude, and that starts at the top. As they say in good leadership, “follow me”.

    The main question is, why LA voters don’t care, why they are resigned to accept failure and diminishing LA city services.

    Can we not find a leader who will motivate City Hall and initiate hard choices to bring the city to financial health?

    City elections should be held on the first Tuesday of November with all the other elections to Federal, County & State.
    It will reduce costs and increase voter turnout.
    The peoples brigade for honest government

    YJ Draiman

    “The choice we face in Los Angeles and as a nation is simple: Do we want the clean energy and conservation technologies of tomorrow to be invented in America by American innovators, made by American workers and sold around the world, or do we want to concede those jobs to our competitors?” Asks Energy Specialist YJ Draiman. “We can and must compete for those jobs.” In Los Angeles, we have the technology, the climate, the resources and the manpower. Let us proceed with conviction.

    YJ Draiman


    Paid for by Draiman for Los Angeles

    Reply this comment
  9. YJ Draiman for Mayor of LA
    YJ Draiman for Mayor of LA 26 June, 2012, 21:28

    A Public Servant’s Commitments

    Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.

    As professionals, public servants play a vital role in society. They are committed to the highest degrees of integrity. They are committed to deliver the best administration possible. They are committed to fair and transparent governance, to delivering high quality services, to a stewardship of government funds that will maximize cost-effectiveness and for accountability. Public servants are committed to the improvement of the policy-making and service delivery abilities of the state.

    Public servants are committed to reflecting on their roles and responsibilities. They are committed to test and measure their values, their ethics, and their actions as they serve the government and the public.

    It is in this context that IPAC offers this declaration of a public servant’s commitments.

    i. A strong Commitment to Personal Integrity
    To maintain and broaden public confidence, public servants are committed to perform all their responsibilities with the highest sense of integrity. Public servants must resolve any conflict between their personal interests and their official duties in favour of the public interest.

    The public servant is committed to exercising conscience in the defense of democracy, peace, order and good governance.

    The public servant is committed to ensuring that sensitive information is treated with discretion and responsibility in order to protect the privacy and security of the public and the efficiency of government.

    The public servant exercises some level of discretionary authority in the daily course of activities, but is committed to ensuring that discretion never results in discrimination. The public servant is committed to treating all members of the public with equality and fairness.

    The public servant is committed to exercising courage in the fulfillment of duties: the courage to take a position, to speak objectively, and to take responsibility before political authorities.

    ii. A strong Commitment to Democratic Governance
    Public servants accept the obligation to act to serve the public interest through time, to promote the public trust in the democratic system, and to demonstrate commitment to professionalism.

    The public servant is committed to working with the government of the day and to the stewardship of the state.

    Ensuring Transparency through Better Reporting
    The public servant is committed to reporting accurately, clearly and comprehensively on the activities of their administrative units.

    Providing accountability for public consultation
    The public servant is committed to the promotion of dialogue, consultation, and engagement of the public.

    Public interest
    The public servant is committed to understanding the public interest as it is expressed through time. The public servant fulfills the public interest by service to the elected government.

    iii. A strong Commitment to Respectfulness
    In carrying out their responsibilities as professionals, public servants must exercise sensitive professional and moral judgments in all their activities.

    With the elected
    The public servant is committed to serving the elected government and parliamentarians with dignity and respect.

    With the public
    The public servant is committed to communicating with the public in a respectful manner that acknowledges the centrality of the citizen. The public servant is committed to making the experience of dealing with government as congenial, satisfying and constructive as possible.

    With colleagues
    Public servants are committed to making the workplace a productive and healthy environment. Fellow civil servants are always treated with respect, tolerance and courtesy.

    With fellow Public Servants
    The public servant is committed to creating trust and common purpose. The public servant is committed to building strong networks and partnerships with counterparts in other departments, governments, agencies, both at home and around the world.

    iv. A strong Commitment to Continual Learning and Innovation
    A public servant is committed to monitoring the profession’s evolution and to strive to continually improve competence and the quality of services.

    Enhance democratic governance
    The public servant is committed to a continual process of learning and innovation through constant study and thoughtful, measured experimentation in order to enhance governance.

    Improve performance
    The public servant is committed to the learning and innovation necessary to enhance the delivery of policy and service.

    Responsible assumption of risk
    The public servant is committed to the continual learning and innovation necessary to understand the nature and degree of risk.

    Personal improvement
    The public servant is committed to a life-long pursuit of formal and informal educational endeavours to elevate the overall quality of the public service.

    v. A strong Commitment to Critical Reflection on Ethics and Values
    A public servant is committed to observing the highest ethical standards, to maintaining objectivity and be free of conflicts of interest in discharging professional responsibilities.

    Critical Reflection on Ethics
    The public servant is committed to the process of personally evaluating commitments and whether they are adequate for evolving circumstances.

    Critical Reflection on Actions
    The public servant is committed to a critical reflection of personal actions in light of past practices, government objectives, and the perspectives of peers.

    Critical Reflection through Dialogue
    The public servant is committed to cultivating a dialogue among peers and colleagues on values, ethics, actions, and inactions.

    Critical Reflection through Reason
    The public servant is committed to a continual process of re-evaluation of the existing conditions of democratic governance and the roles and responsibilities of the public service within that context.

    Reply this comment
  10. YJ Draiman
    YJ Draiman 25 September, 2012, 13:43

    Is the year 2013 Los Angeles Voters must kick the bums out of City Hall

    2013 is the year Los Angeles Voters can change City Hall and kick the bums out of LA City Council, with a Mayoral election and eight of fifteen seats up for re-election. That could be an opportunity to field a slate in opposition against the incumbents and to band together behind a big issue, like land use reform. Land use is how the city can accommodate growth and even boost the economy. Fiscal responsibility, Education reform, Public transportation expansion and reduced bureaucracy, we need credible new candidates with a strong backbone to stand up to the current administration and bring about the change to improve conditions in the City of Los Angeles.
    I fill confident, that if people want change they’d just vote for it.

    After all this is supposed to be “Government by the people for the people”. Let us exercise our right as citizens and vote the bums out.

    It is the destiny of the people of Los Angeles to take back their city in 2013, provided they vote their conscience.

    What we need is a Statesman – Not a Politician

    YJ Draiman


    A Statesman or Politician, What is The Difference?
    A politician is only focused on reelection.
    A politician is willing to sacrifice his principals if it will help them get reelected. This leads to the waters of their character becoming muddied. When a person’s character becomes tarnished it takes a lot harder to clean it than it is to clean tarnished silver, and even if you do clean it, it will st…ill have lost some of its luster.
    Politicians want their name in lights.
    Politicians want fame and recognition, and will do almost anything to get it. To quote a great mentor of mine “there are those people who want to be somebody, and then there are those who want to do something.” Politicians are the people who want to be somebody; they want to see their names on TV and on news papers. This also can lead to a tarnished character.
    A politician’s vote can be bought.
    A politician is in it for the money, they will vote your way for a price. This opens the door for your character to become tarnished.
    A statesman is principled.
    A statesman always puts his principles first. He does not care about the political implications of a decision he cares about whether or no it is the right thing to do.
    A statesman wants to make a difference.
    A statesman doesn’t want to see his name in lights, he want the right thing done. He doesn’t care is his name is ever on the front page of the Dallas Morning News.
    A statesman is unshakable.
    A statesman cannot be bought. He is feared by lobbyist and his opponents alike, but respected by both. He holds fast to his principles and never tarnishes his character.
    A Politician or Statesman?
    What this country needs are not more politicians who campaign one way and vote another. What we need are more patriotic, principled, steadfast, prudent, statesmen.

    YJ Draiman

    Reply this comment

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