*Villaraigosa vs. Riordan

The current mayor isn't exactly thrilled with comments by the former mayor about the city's deteriorating finances. Earlier this week Riordan warned in a WSJ oped that L.A. would likely go bankrupt between now and 2014, and he took aim at Villaraigosa and the City Council for not coming to grips with a massive deficit. Now, Fox 11 News reports that Villaraigosa is preparing a rebuttal that would pin some of the blame on Riordan's policies when he was mayor in the 90s. Riordan conceded as much to John Schwada ("I'm not going to excuse myself," he said), but however the fault gets apportioned, it's hard to see what ulterior motives the former mayor would have in suggesting the possibility of bankruptcy. Asked by reporters about Riordan's comments, Villaraigosa started off with an inane and patronizing comment ("Well, Mayor Riordan is a great friend of mine. I'll just give him a big hug"), and then went back into his usual mantra of, "This city will never go bankrupt." Riordan was far from the perfect mayor, but watching these two guys side by side is a sad reminder of how far the city's leadership has sunk in just a few years.

*City budget officials have issued a three-page report that challenges some of Riordan's figures. They also point out that Riordan supported a ballot measure that allowed cops and firefighters to receive 90 percent of their salaries once they retire, up from 70 percent. Such a generous pension allowance is considered a contributor to the current budget woes. Riordan believes that the the current pension system should be replaced with a 401(k) plan for new employees. He also said retirement age should be increased to 65 (it now varies by job). (LAT)

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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