Los Angeles facing financial Armaggedon

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

12 comments

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Los Angeles City Hall is starting to shut down due to a lack of funds

For years the California economy was the envy of the world. Hundreds of thousands of people were moving there every year seeking fame and fortune. As the largest urban centre on the West Coast, Los Angeles was growing exponentially and the sky was the limit. Boy how the mighty have fallen in such a short period of time.

Yesterday Antonio Villaraigosa, the Mayor of Los Angeles, held an extraordinary news conference where he basically announced the city was broke. He told the media that Los Angeles will begin implementing a series of austerity measures which will dramatically reduce the amount of civic services available to local residents. The Mayor's budget chair was even on CNN this morning indicating that cuts to the police and fire departments are not off limits.

For the public servants working at LA City Hall, these must be very dark days. The Mayor is proposing to shut down all city services (with the exception of public safety and revenue-generating positions) twice a week beginning next Monday. Villaraigosa told CNN:

There are no easy decisions or simple ways to solve this budget crisis. But as the CEO of this great city, it is my responsibility to make these difficult, but necessary, decisions to steer the city out of this crisis and onto solid financial ground.

The Mayor may sound brave now, but it will be interesting to see how he reacts to a possible public backlash when services are cut and libraries are closed. Unfortunately for him, he has few options to work with as there are no new sources of funding he can tap into in the short-term.

When you watch what's happening to so many US cities, it's hard not to feel empathy for our urban neighbours to the south who are struggling to make ends meet. Their debates are no longer about issues like how they will secure the remaining $400 million for a new rapid transit line. Rather, it's about whether or not they can keep the lights on city hall and pay their staff.

Although Canadian cities are also impacted by a slowing economy, there is no city that I'm aware of facing the same kind of financial Armageddon as Los Angeles. It's something that anyone living in our major urban centres should be grateful for as we begin to watch one of the biggest cities in America begin to shut down over the coming weeks.

12 Comments

Angelenos have no one to blame but themselves. They voted for politicians who promised smaller government and tax cuts and this is the result.
You want services? You have to pay for them and that means taxes. If you go into deficit (like Canada, BC and CofV)to pay for them it means even higher taxes down the road to pay for the services and the borrowing.
People who have forgotten Bill Vander Zalm's political career long enough to jump on his anti-HST bandwagon should keep this in mind.
I don't understand Mr. Vander Zalm's problem with the HST. As far as I know cash payoffs from Taiwanese billionaires are still tax-exempt.

don't forget the carbon tax the NDP opposed. If you want to fund government, you need tax revenue. I totally agree with you regarding the fact Angelenos have done this to themselves by continuously cutting back on the size of government. If you don't want new taxes, you can't pay for new or existing services.

"Their debates are no longer about issues like how they will secure the remaining $400 million for a new rapid transit line. Rather, it's about whether or not they can keep the lights on city hall and pay their staff."

Actually, the debate (or discussion) is how to implement their 30 year plan in 10 years. Taxpayers approved $40 billion in sales tax revenue over 30 years to pay for 12 new transit lines. The mayor wants to do it much faster.

While they don't have their act together in other ways, they seem to be faring well on transit.

How about the politicians reducing their pay to minimum wage? I'm sure they'd LOVE to hike up the minimum wage.

The problem is that politicians promise smaller government and then never deliver. We need to employ more people in creating wealth and less in the business of re-distributing it or we will be facing the financial problems that over socialized countries like Greece and Great Britain are facing today.

This is just a preview for State of California and eventually the USA.

Socialists love spending other people's money.

Eventually they run out of other people's money and at that time the fecal matter hits the air moving system.

That's when real ordinary folks get whupped up side their heads. Too bad theses are the same people who voted for the "you can have lotsa free sh#t that we can't afford but someone else will pay for" politicians in the first place.

Call it election Kharma.

Considering Obamassiah is running a deficit 2.5 times larger than Harper's Conservatives or Gordo's "Liberals", this is just a preview for what a socialist educated and friendly POTUS is doing to the USA.

Ah, yes, taxes and amenities. And the people who won't pay either(including those with deep pockets who don't want to pony up in exchange for the opportunities that are rained down on them by our political leaders). (Sorry, I am reposting this as it has just as much relevence here).

So, in considering the following film noir---how much is too much---in development? In promises? In expectations? AND when does "improvement" mean "despoiling" a la LA? Is there such a thing as "enough!?"

For your consideration:

Cautionary tale or latest documentary on Vancouver politics? I just had to post this YouTube about how things really work at City Hall these days. Watch and listen to it carefully, and you will find many, many lessons...

George: Mayor Moonbeam
Seymour Noodnick: Developers (Condos, Casinos)
The Commissioner: Aaron Jasper
Ape: The Angry Taxpayers
Hippies: Hollyhock supporters

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExuuycfXwF4&feature=fvw


Yes, the Secret Weapon is indeed, Dumb Luck.

Los Angeles, sure.

What about right here in Vancouver? Let's be generous and say the average university-educated Vancouverite pulls in $70,000. Today we hear that the average house price in Vanquiver is at $1 million?? Does the concept of a financial bubble mean anything to Vancouverites? I guess not.

See you at the collapse.

Well (@landlord) the Zalmer didn't have his drunken mug shoot flashed all about the place with his DUI in Hawaii.

Nor did the Zalmer have the RCMP raid the legislator, when he was in office. In fact with Campbell and his mutinous crew, the Zalmer is beginning to look good.

Now isn't that FANTASTIC!

On another note, it just isn't the socialists that like to spend other peoples monies, the rather blue-blood Conservatives make it 'gospel' to spend other peoples monies, without any scruple.

Not only LA, but the State is also bankrupt. Comes from years of living on unfunded social programs and huge pay raises for union staff. Of course all the non tax paying illegals just compound the problem because they are large consumers of the free social programs.

1. Um, the Zalm is back?

I always knew he would be somehow. Like a zombie movie sequel. :-)

2. Depending on how you count them, several large and small cities across America are facing similar crises. I think the difference that's keeping most of them from complete disaster is that most of them took severe action earlier than L.A. did, plus most of them are in states where the State government is in a position to at least work constructively with the troubled cities.

Did it all begin with a drop in the bucket $34,000 party for civic employees after the LA Olympics?

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