Friday, May 15, 2009

Neighborhood Council Funding Restored

Following testimony by nearly 100 neighborhood council leaders, an L.A. City Council committee voted to restore most funding to the local panels. The Budget and Finance Committee on Wednesday approved a package that includes $45,000 a year for each council. The figure represents the 10-percent budget cut that all civilian departments and agencies are taking under Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s call for “shared sacrifice” amidst the worst deficit L.A. has faced.

The full City Council is expected to vote on the budget next week. Meanwhile, the mayor has declared a state of fiscal emergency, enabling the city to impose employee furloughs and layoffs without union consent. L.A.’s financial crisis promises to worsen as the state announces plans to withhold funds for cities to close a budget gap of at least $15.4 billion and the city looks ahead to a deficit as high as $1 billion in 2010-2011. The state deficit is forecast to reach as much as $21.3 billion if the revenue-generating ballot measures fail in the Tuesday election.

See the news-analysis piece below for more insights about the neighborhood council funding debate.


Anonymous said...

Two Days Left For Special Eletion.

Don’t Be Fooled By The Wolves Dressed In Sheep Clothing!

Vote NO on Propositions 1A through 1E on May 19, 2009.

Prop. 1A will raise taxes on all Californians and extend these taxes for one to two years, taking another $16 billion from you! The already approved tax increase will cost a typical California family $1,100 annually.

HIGHER SALES TAX! Proposition 1A will extend the sales tax hike for an additional full year. California taxpayers already pay the highest sales tax in the nation. This is a direct attack on all working families, especially low-income residents.

HIGHER CAR TAX! Proposition 1A will extend the DOUBLING of the car tax. This affects every California car owner.

HIGHER STATE INCOME TAX! Proposition 1A will extend an income tax increase for two extra years. Californians already pay the highest income tax rates in the nation. Under Prop. 1A, you’ll pay even more.

REDUCTION OF TAX CREDIT FOR DEPENDENTS! Californians with children will see a reduction in the tax credits for dependents, costing them $200 per child. Prop. 1A will extend this attack on families for an extra two years.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is urging a vote of "NO" on Prop. 1A, which DOUBLES the tax increase!

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

IronHead433 said...

Does any of the jarvis jibberish have any thing to do with the "Neighborhood Councils"....?? Just another soapbox to stand on and bellow out their garbage...

Anonymous said...

State Ballot Measures
34.2% ( 5,941 of 17,393 ) precincts
partially or fully reporting as of May 19, 2009, at 10:14 p.m.

1A “Rainy Day” Budget Stabilization Fund
Yes Votes: 910,752 (36.5%)
NO Votes: 1,578,207 (63.5%)

1B Education Funding. Payment Plan.
Yes Votes: 994,485 (40.0%)
NO Votes: 1,487,144 (60.0%)

1C Lottery Modernization Act
Yes Votes: 947,590 (38.2%)
NO Votes: 1,527,721 (61.8%)

1D Children’s Service Funding
Yes Votes: 928,772 (37.5%)
NO Votes: 1,543,478 (62.5%)

1E Mental Health Funding
Yes Votes: 910,981 (37.0%)
NO Votes: 1,547,734 (63.0%)

1F Elected Officials Salaries
Yes Votes: 1,894,253 (76.4%)
NO Votes: 586,818 (23.6%)

John Mattson said...

If the City of Los Angeles is serious about balancing the budget, here is an easy way start. Return the running of the Neighborhood Council elections to the Neighborhood councils and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE). DONE budgeted about $300,000 for the elections, and the rest was paid for by the NC's out of their budgets. The city expects to spend $4,000,000 each year on the elections. Here is a clear savings of $3,700,000.

Jana Oto said...

Wanted to say how much we appreciate all the effort that goes into SP News and all the other neighborhood council-related work. How could anyone be against their existence! I can't imagine any council constituency being opposed! We moved from Orange County and can't help but observe that, though our towns and neighborhoods tend to "run" together in most of Southern California, there is a total lack of cohesiveness within most of these communities.

People remain alienated from everyone around them, and may not even know more than a few people on their own street. The council efforts here bring everyone together in a neighborhood and give those areas a sense of "small town" America, that I grew up with in the midwest. My husband and I were so impressed with the energy that moved the City Council to ban the 20th Street condo project (after the needless destruction of McGowan's market). Since we live just a few doors away, it was a great way to start our association with the area!

Regarding the financial crisis the NC's are experiencing, wanted to make a suggestion. Perhaps it wouldn't be practical, but considering that so many people are experiencing employment difficulties, would there be any sense in starting a sort of "classified" section in Coastal Currents et al? With the increasing demise of print papers (aided by the very high price of classified ads in those papers), we are without much of a local source for jobs. With these trying times, maybe a "goods for services" section would be useful, too.

Maybe the NC's could implement such an ad service for a very nomimal fee, allowing local businesses to solicit local workers. Most people would prefer to work nearby (especially with gas going up again) and it would save employers from having to pay the higher rates for employment agencies, newspapers, pennysaver, etc..which are all very expensive. It's true that Craigslist and Caljobs list for free (I think?), but they cover a much wider area.

If this service was cheap, employers might be encouraged to try and fill positions locally, either first, or concurrent with those other outlets. At that, one common San Pedro-wide listing could be shared by all the NC publications. (Don't know if Coastal Currents is the only print publication put out by NC's?) Know that fewer jobs are even available these days, but it would help everyone involved, I'd think. Once upon a time, getting the local paper and checking out the "want ads" was the only way to find a job or anything else you needed! Kind of miss that convenience.

A few years ago, when I lived in OC, I worked in Los Angeles. One day, while shopping near my home, I met someone who was working in OC..but lived in Los Angeles. This is truly insane, I thought. Both of us were spending hours and dollars on commuting, only because we went "where the jobs were". Though it would have to be a small fee to advertise, it might help pay for some NC project or supplies, at least? Well..just a thought. Thanks again for being a lifeline to the community!

— Jana and Rodney Oto

Anonymous said...

L.A. Weekly – Thank you for the REMARKABLE journalism in reporting the FACTS related to issues that are important to Angelenos.


They can't bear to give up those record-high $178,898 salaries

May 20, 2009

As the budget drama unfolded in City Hall over the past several days, it became clear that the 15 Los Angeles City Council members, who earn 400 percent of local median income — more than members of Congress earn, more than federal judges are paid — are trying hard to avoid taking any personal hits to their growing wealth and freebies.

There’s nothing like this City Council in America’s other big cities. Not Chicago, not New York, not San Francisco. Los Angeles City Council is steeped in huge paychecks, gigantic staffs, eight free cars per council member, $100,000 personal slush funds with virtually no strings — even a special clause that lets them get out of their parking tickets.

Meanwhile, in great contrast to L.A., San Francisco has 11 elected city/county representatives who in that very pricey city earn $98,660 per year, compared with L.A City Council’s $179,789. And unlike the vast personal staffs Angelenos are paying to provide to L.A. council members even in this fiscal disaster, San Francisco’s representatives employ just two paid aides, at $77,922 to L.A.’s $94,718 a year each. Each supervisor gets an extremely modest expense account — $5,000 per year.

“That $5,000 is for lawful government expenses of public funds like letterheads, envelopes and cell phones,” said Madeleine Licavoli, deputy director of the clerk to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

What a contrast to L.A. Here, politicians like Janice Hahn, Richard Alarcon, Herb Wesson and Ed Reyes employ about 20 full-time aides — and that’s apiece. And the council has fought off efforts to take away its controversial and very unusual slush funds of $100,000 apiece, given to them every year with virtually no strings — and hidden from the public in plain sight under the disingenuous budget title “General City Purposes Fund.” (See accompanying story, “Council Tries to De-Fund Its Critics.”)

Licavoli in San Francisco chuckled when asked if that city’s 11 councilmembers-supervisors enjoy anything like the eight free cars financed by L.A. taxpayers for each council member here.

“No, of course not,” she said. Well, what automotive perks do they get in San Francisco? “They each get a reserved parking space.”

In San Diego and San Jose, also very expensive cities in which to live, city council members earn about half what Greig Smith, Wendy Greuel, Jack Weiss and the others make yet somehow get by.

In San Jose, Mark Gerhardt, administrative manager for the city clerk, said the 10 council members earn $90,000, and each has four or five personal staffers.
They get a $600 monthly car allowance — not a small fleet of eight cars.

In San Diego, the eight council members earn even less than in San Jose or San Francisco — $75,836 — and each gets only five to eight personal staffers.

L.A. Weekly