Is it time for a change in how Los Angeles is managed and governed?

Dennis Zine
Former Los Angeles City Councilman and Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant.

Is it time to change the form of government in the City of Los  Angeles? Or do we continue to let the City of L A fall farther into the HOLE of DECAY and DARKNESS with increasing Homeless living in tents on city sidewalks and in cars in our neighborhoods; massive traffic congestion on our local roads and freeways; exploding residential developments to house those that can afford thousands of dollars to rent an apartment or pay hundreds and thousands of Dollars to purchase a Condo or House in the City of L.A.? 

Think of where we are as far as a model city. 

The Mayor is facing a recall and two separate FBI Investigations are active reviewing possible criminal activities at City Hall. One centered on elected member(s) of the city council and the other on the Office of the City Attorney in connection with the Department of Water and Power. 

Additionally, the City of L.A. is known as an unresponsive government for the business owners and residents of the city. 

Other associated troubling factors that cause concern for both the residents and business owners include the following:

  • Trees not being trimmed in neighborhoods;
  • Homeless camps established and continuing to spread throughout Los Angeles including more and more into residential neighborhoods. 
  • Elected officials earn nearly $200,000 a year with multi-million-dollar taxpayer office budgets and taxpayer funded automobiles.
  • Appointed office personnel at City Hall and all district area offices with rents paid to commercial property owners. 
  • A $10-plus billion dollar ever expanding city budget with no improvements in quality of life.
  • It is reported in official city documents that the city spends:
  • $5,180,371,443 on “A Livable and Sustainable City.” 
  • $2,745,704,048 on a “Safe City,”
  • $1,337,395,826 on a “Well Run City.”
  • $798,569,616 on a “Prosperous city.”
  • $648,036,910 on “Not Categorized.”
  • Sidewalks and Streets crumbling along with alleys falling apart. 

Is this enough for you to want to make a change in the way the City of L.A. operates on your hard-earned tax dollars? 

If you are fed up and want to see a change, I have one for you. 

Establish a part time City Council and empower the local elected neighborhood councils to do the routine tasks currently directed and performed by directions and orders from city hall. Provide adequate funds for them and let them decide how to spend the money in their respective neighborhoods. 

Where will the money come from and what will the part time city council do? 

The money will come from the $10-plus billion dollar city budget. The money will be saved from current operations in a number of ways. First of all, the elected city council members will become part time elected officials just like they are in many cities across America and cities surrounding Los Angeles. Their current salary hovering around $200,000 and perks will be reduced with the funds going to the Neighborhood Councils to be used in the various communities of L.A. 

A Bit of Los Angeles History….. 

When the San Fernando Valley attempted secession from the City of Los Angeles in 2001, the voters defeated measure F by 63% to 33%. The measure only passed in the San Fernando Valley by 50.7%. While the measure failed, it brought about some significant changes in the way Los Angeles was to run. 

The pressure to make Los Angeles government more responsive to the people resulted in the establishment of the Elected and Appointed Los Angeles Charter Reform Commissions. The two Commissions ultimately came up with a new Los Angeles City Charter and established Neighborhood Councils throughout the city and the pressure was off for a while. I was one of the elected Charter Reform Commissioners and represented the 3rd district of the San Fernando Valley. That was in 1999. 

While the Neighborhood Councils would gain support and organization from the diverse communities throughout Los Angeles, their scope of authority and funding were and remains very limited with the strings being tightly held by city hall. They were and are still provided with “crumbs” from the city council to operate in their respective 99 local neighborhoods. 

Here we are today. Like I previously stated, the city is not on the right track for most residents and business owners. All the issues I mentioned are a real concern for thousands of Los Angeles taxpayers. 

I have a very reasonable solution for this situation and will present it in detail in my next and future RantZ and RaveZ column. Stay tuned…… 

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