Budget session goes too late for new late news section

Monday's 11-hour City Council budget session went too late into the night to be included in the brand-new late-news (ahem) section of the L.A. Times. (There was a 12-graf early story on page six.) But Zach Behrens of LAist was covering it and posted his final dispatch at 11:40 p.m. This morning's LAT blog post captured some of the tension that was evident as committee members grappled with the deep, deep fiscal hole the city has dug for itself with the help of a bad economy.

In addition to a $208-million shortfall this year, the city is facing a $484-million deficit in the 2010-11 fiscal year. The city’s top budget analyst, Miguel Santana, has warned council members that credit rating agencies are closely monitoring their actions and that the daily cost of delaying layoffs ($338,000) is equivalent to four more positions that will need to be eliminated to balance the city’s books....

Frustrations flared during the 11-hour session that ended after midnight. Rosendahl and Koretz led efforts to block the elimination of the city’s human services, environmental affairs and disability departments. At one point, Rosendahl warned city budget analysts that doing away with the disability department was “pennywise and dollar foolish.”

Several minutes later, when Rosendahl and Koretz again teamed up to oppose dissolving the environmental affairs department, Smith questioned whether his colleagues were ready to show leadership on the “tough choices.”

“I’m seeing an erosion of being willing to do the hard things that we have to do in the next few months,” Smith said. “We’ve talked about it a lot, and now we’re presented with those opportunities to do those hard things and people are saying, ‘I don’t want to do this; I don’t want to do that.’”

Kaye edging closer to the edge?: Editor-turned-angry political organizer Ron Kaye sounds more like a doomsday prophet by the hour. "The breakdown in our city government is so great that we can only do everything we can and hope and pray for a miracle. So let us pray together...," he says in his latest blog post. Here's his comment to the council committee meeting yesterday.

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