Now that he's out of the race for mayor, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky warned — as ex-mayor Richard Riordan did earlier today — that whoever does get the job will be faced with an immediate financial crisis. From an interview on the LA Weekly's website with reporter Gene Maddaus:
In an interview with the Weekly today, Yaroslavsky warned that the next mayor will have to grapple with a union contract that gives a 25% salary increase to most city employees over the next few years.
"That's not something that's being discussed by anybody," Yaroslavsky said. "The first day the next mayor takes office they're gonna have a financial tiger by the tail... Whoever is elected is gonna have to say no to some friends."
Yaroslavsky argued that the county had done a better job of managing its labor negotiations, giving only a three-year contract with 3% increases, compared to the five-year contract with 5% increases signed by the city in 2007. When the recession hit, the city laid off workers and deferred the increases, but they will begin to come due this year.
Whoever is elected, "That mayor has to make that his bully-pulpit-issue number one," Yaroslavsky said. "Fiscal issues drive everything in the city. If you don't deal with the financial tailspin, it's going to end up sending you over the cliff."
Yaroslavsky said the unions don't have to emasculated, only brought in as part of the solution, and he questioned whether the 10,000-officer LAPD goal has to be sacrosanct. "The LAPD can do a great job with 9,750, just as they do with 9,950," he said. Finally, former congressman Mel Levine said his friend didn't have the fire in the belly to run for mayor.
Yaroslavsky is scheduled to be interviewed tonight on "Which Way, L.A.?" on KCRW