It did not take long for the credibility of the “Los Angeles 2020 Commission” to be seriously questioned as the 12 members (and one alternate) are all part of or dependent upon the City Hall establishment that is responsible for the City’s impending insolvency.
According to downtown attorney Mickey Kantor, a former Secretary of Commerce in the Clinton Administration, and City Council President Herb Wesson, over the next six to eight months, LA 2020 will review and make recommendations regarding the City’s economy, its ability to generate jobs and investment, and its finances. It will not make any recommendations or suggestions that will impact the upcoming budget and the projected deficit of over $150 million.
LA 2020 was to be totally independent of the Downtown Los Angeles (“DTLA”) political establishment.
But there are two former elected officials, Governor Gray Davis and Hilda Solis, a former member of the US House of Representatives, a former Secretary of Labor in the Obama Administration, and a rumored candidate for the County Board of Supervisors.
There are three union leaders, including two that run the City’s most powerful and generous unions, the 10,000 member Police Protective League and the 9,000 member IBEW that represents over 90% of the workers at our Department of Water and Power.
There are two DTLA lawyers, including Kantor, three others who have their offices in DTLA or nearby, a political appointee to the DWP Board of Commissioners whose employer, the University of Southern California, is looking for the City’s blessing on a billion dollar development.
More important is who is not represented on LA 2020.
There are no representatives from the entertainment, tourism, aerospace, real estate, construction, garment, toy, wholesale, automotive, or manufacturing industries. There are no representatives from the ever growing service industries or small to medium sized businesses.
Once again, the Valley is getting the shaft. There are no members of this blue ribbon commission that both live and work in the Valley, possibly in retaliation for the Valley Industry and Commerce Association’s strong recommendation to vote against Proposition A. Or maybe it was because Valley voters overwhelmingly rejected the job killing increase in our sales tax and in March of 2009, rejected Measure B, the Mayor’s Solar Initiative that was a payback to IBEW Union Boss d’Arcy for his generous campaign contributions.
Charter authorized Neighborhood Councils were not even considered, despite the fact that the Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates have made numerous money saving recommendations that have been adopted by Fernando Campos, the City’s newly appointed Inspector General for Revenue Enhancement. In addition, the NCBA’s met with Mayor Villaraigosa on Wednesday and outlined how the City could increase revenue or decrease expenses by over $250 million.
But the most significant omission was the next generation of leaders, those Angelenos in Generation X (born between 1964 and 1980) and the Millennials (born after 1980) who are going to be stuck with a never ending Structural Deficit and the $30 billion bill for unfunded pension liabilities and a broken infrastructure.
Unfortunately, the members of LA 2020 do not have the organizational and managerial experience or the financial expertise necessary to properly analyze the city’s operations and finances and make sound recommendations.
Rather, Herb Wesson and the rest of his cronies that occupy City Hall have created, to paraphrase Maxine Waters, an “unholy alliance” with the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce (which supported the permanent increase in our sales tax to a job killing 9½%), the public labor unions, and the rest of the DTLA ring kissers, where they will continue to bamboozle and fleece the 99% of the population as the profligate City continues to kick the can down our lunar crated roads to insolvency.
LA 2020 is an excellent idea. Unfortunately, it has been hijacked by City Hall.
The dozen members must gain our trust and confidence by reconstituting the membership of LA 2020, establishing their independence, and then by recommending and implementing real budget, pension, and work place reform.
Crossposted on LA City Watch