L.A. on a deathride to bankruptcy

by CalWatchdog Staff | April 9, 2012 11:40 am

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[1]:

“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 [2]left office 11 years ago. His successors, James K. Hahn [3]and the incumbent, Antonio Villaraigosa[4], 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 [5]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[6], 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.[7]

And the other city pensions, according to the L.A. Times[8], “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.





  1. Reported the Daily News: http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_20345108/specter-bankruptcy-raised-l?source=rss
  2. Richard Riordan : http://www.laalmanac.com/government/gl12_riordan.htm
  3. James K. Hahn : http://www.laalmanac.com/government/gl12_riordan.htm
  4. Antonio Villaraigosa: http://www.laalmanac.com/government/gl12.htm
  5. 841 retirees : http://projects.latimes.com/big-pensions/los-angeles/
  6. salary is $178,789: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/02/la-city-council-salaries.html
  7. for at least two years.: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/oct/14/local/la-me-dwp-pension-20101014
  8. according to the L.A. Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/10/hundreds-protest-possible-la-city-council-control-of-dwp-pension-system.html

Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2012/04/09/l-a-on-a-deathride-to-bankruptcy/