Sunday, June 20, 2010
LA End Game
"Los Angeles is facing a terminal fiscal crisis: Between now and 2014 the city will likely declare bankruptcy. Yet Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa [AV] and the City Council have been either unable or unwilling to face this fact. ... Even if [AV] were to enact drastic pension reform today--which he shows no sign of doing--the city would only save a few hundred million per year. ... Five thousand is the number of employees added to the city's payroll during [AV's] first term as mayor. According to California's Economic Development Department, when [AV] took office there were 4.73 million jobs in Los Angeles and 252,000 unemployed people. Today, there are just 4.19 million jobs in [LA] and over 632,000 unemployed people. ... How have city leaders responded to this crisis? Pension officials have played accounting games, like smoothing the investment return over seven years rather than five years. ... And most egregiously, rather than laying off employees, city officials have shifted certain workers to agencies like the Department of Water and Power and the airport, which have their own funding. ... He continues to insist that bankruptcy is not an option for [LA] even as anyone who can count understands there is no other option", Richard Riordan & Alexander Rubalcava (R&R) at the WSJ, 5 May 2010, link:
Riordan is a former LA mayor. Rubalcava is an investment advisor. Yes, R&R, LA's bankruptcy looks inevitable. Got muni bonds? Sell!