Fun and games as City Council considers $6.9-billion budget

Clueless, bumbling, parochial, grand-standing - those are just a few of the words that come to mind after catching bits of this morning's budget session. The City Maven's Alice Walton, who had the initiative to live-blog the deliberations, might be looking for the nearest open window or razor blade. Among her dispatches:

10:01 a.m. Um, public comment has now taken a turn toward the strange. This guy is not talking about the budget so much as the benefits of air travel and dangers of nuclear power. "We have to stop being killed by our own houses ... I will provide the blueprints." OK!

10:13 a.m. Garcetti says deleting positions in LAFD is the wrong way to balance the budget. The deployment plan has been a major source of contention.

11:12 a.m. Councilman Janice Hahn, fresh from yesterday's primary, is questioning why there isn't more money for summer youth jobs. It costs $1 million for 500 jobs.

11:16 a.m. Jose Huizar says summer jobs for kiddos is about public safety. This is a good example of why there needs to be a conversation at some point about core city services.

11:24 a.m. LAPD's Gerald Chaleff is also testifying on funding youth jobs. Hahn asks for $1 million from the Police Foundation. A million? Why not a bajillion? Where is this money coming from?

11:32 a.m. Tom LaBonge is sharing with all of us the details of his first job at the Greek Theater; assures the crowd that the city is magnanimous enough to hire people who were not so fortunate as to go to Marshall High School.

11:33 a.m. There are some big spenders in council today. Hahn just threw in another $200,000 for summer jobs. A few waves of the hands and $600,000 has magically appeared.

12:09 p.m. Council has moved on to tree trimming issues.

12:12 p.m. I'll be honest, folks. This budget hearing is pretty boring. The most exciting thing to happen so far is I discovered a granola bar in my purse.

So much for urgency. So much for dealing with chronic nine-figure deficits. So much for any discussion of what city priorities should be in light of the pension shortfalls. Anyone on the outside who is thinking about running for mayor should check out Channel 35 and get a good look at what he or she would be dealing with.

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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
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