Sunday, February 1, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Los Angeles politics remain in the sandbox

walters column sig

By
From page A8 | February 19, 2013 |

Los Angeles is the nation’s second largest city, but in political terms it’s more like a kindergarten sandbox than a grown-up municipality.

Its mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, was seen as a rising political star with national potential when he was elected eight years ago.

However, a series of tabloid-worthy exploits, unresolved budgetary crises and other negative factors appear to have short-circuited his political career.

A campaign is under way to choose Villaraigosa’s successor, but the aspirants exhibit no vision for the troubled city and are busily trashing each other in hopes of surviving the first round of voting on March 5 and making it into the runoff.

The City Council has placed a half-cent sales tax hike on the same ballot, and the city’s administrative officer warns that if it doesn’t pass, mass layoffs, including hundreds of cops, may be the city’s only option to close a budget deficit of more than $200 million.

But none of the candidates for mayor endorses the tax hike, while most back a cut in the city’s business tax that would widen the deficit, and most of the council candidates are running away from it as well. Villaraigosa finally endorsed the new tax after weeks of indecision, but only tepidly.

The two leading candidates for mayor, the ones most likely to make it into the May runoff, appear to be city Controller Wendy Greuel and City Councilman Gil Garcetti.

Neither supports the sales tax hike, but neither offers any reasonable alternative to the severe layoffs and other spending cuts that city Administrative Officer Miguel Santana warned last week would be required if it doesn’t pass.

Santana, in a 48-page report to the City Council, said a 500-officer cutback and other reductions “are the only options left” to close the deficit.

Greuel did offer a budget plan of sorts, backing the elimination of the $400 million business tax and pledging a big police department expansion, but has refused to say how the new spending would be financed. She’s drawn ridicule from Garcetti and other mayoral candidates, but they haven’t offered any alternatives.

The collective image of those running for mayor, especially Garcetti and Greuel, is one of political cowardice – refusing to endorse new taxes, calling for a tax cut, pandering to voters on taxes and unions on layoffs, and ducking questions on how the city’s immense budget deficit should be handled.

In other words, they want to be mayor of Los Angeles but don’t want the responsibilities that go along with the title – not unlike the man they hope to succeed, one might say.

Los Angeles is a deeply troubled city, with a moribund economy, rising ethnic tensions and deep fiscal difficulties. It needs bold and courageous political leadership, but hasn’t had it and won’t be getting it anytime soon.

Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee. Reach him as [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • G-ManFebruary 18, 2013 - 1:05 pm

    In less than 24months Tanks will be rolling in your streets..I just hope they're ours!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Fire Department honors top firefighters

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
 
 
4th annual Health and Wellness Fair a big success

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
 
Banish dry skin this winter

By Sarah Porkka | From Page: C4, 1 Comment

Chocolate: A long journey to deliciousness

By Karen Metz | From Page: C4

 
County board to consider DA reorganization plan

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Eurozone offers lesson in debt

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B7

 
Rodriguez graduate completes basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

From ocean to ocean, through the Panama Canal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C1

 
NASA launches Earth-observing satellite

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Los Angeles female-only mosque may be first in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California health care contract fight resolved

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Man arrested after body parts found in suitcase

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Scientist considered father of birth control pill dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
‘Rolled Sleeves Bandit’ tied to 7 bank robberies in custody

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Bay Area agency accuses former official of embezzling $1.3M

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Letter with suspicious powder received at Samaritan’s Purse

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Snails slither into spa scene in Thailand and around world

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
 
Kerry: ‘Enormous interest in new relationship with Cuba

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Drivers: Return to your dealers for a 2nd air bag recall fix

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Hatfields, McCoys make moonshine legally in southern W.Va.

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Airport authorities: Traveler beats homeless man with chair

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

From car lots to city budgets, cheap oil means change

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Africa agrees to send 7,500 troops to fight Boko Haram

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
5 given preliminary charges over jihadi network in France

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Fire devastates major Russian library, threatens rare texts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Swiss police: 4 dead after avalanche hits group of skiers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Fire at Bangladesh plastics factory kills at least 13

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Islamic State fighters admit defeat in Syrian town of Kobani

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
British actress Geraldine McEwan dies at age 82

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Greek leader tamps down rhetoric, vows to pay off debts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Civilians flee east Ukraine town as fighting intensifies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Iraqi libraries ransacked by Islamic State group in Mosul

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

Sound off for Feb. 1, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Good old days weren’t as good as we remember

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoon: Feb. 1, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Feb. 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Feb. 1, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Prayer, commonly misunderstood

By The Rev. Rick L. Stonestreet | From Page: C3, 7 Comments

 
Sundance doc pulls back curtain on Scientology

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscopes: Feb. 1, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Volunteer or visit because February is National Salute to Veteran Patients

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Review: ‘First Bad Man’ is Miranda July’s debut novel

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Lorrie Moore nominated for short story prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

New book to feature unpublished Hemingway conversations

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Mustangs win the whole Encalada

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Lowest prices on last-minute Super Bowl tickets near $9,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Super Bowl the final act of the NFL’s worst season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Seau, Bettis, Brown, Haley, Shields voted into Hall of Fame

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Rodgers wins MVP, Watt unanimous top AP defensive player

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Lydia Ko takes No. 1 spot at 17, Na Yeon Choi wins opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Laird takes a 3-shot lead in Phoenix Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

On the money: Low gas prices, incentives change math for electric cars

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Small talk: NFL players find second careers as entrepreneurs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Recalls this week: space heaters, orbital sanders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Sumptuous seaside hotel sells for record-shattering $360M

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Review: Open e-book format comes with headaches

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Obituaries

Anthony Neal Hunley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Frank Z. Perez

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Joe Lambert Robinson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Flora Mae Brooks

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Otilia (Tela) Quinn

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Lester Singer

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

WillIiam “Bill” Hunter

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Garry A. Britton

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics