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Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants you to play the city budget game
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is asking for public help as he prepares his final budget
By: Rick Orlov   |  Email: rick.orlov@dailynews.com

It raises questions dealing with long-term reforms on issues such as how much city workers should pay for health care and pensions, what the city should do on economic development and the increased outsourcing of work.

It also asks for funding priorities and whether there should be increases, cuts or status quo spending on core issues such as police and fire, the City Attorney's Office, parks and recreation, and street services, like the filling of potholes.

And, other portions of his budget challenge deal with potential tax increases and some of the mayor's plans to develop public-private partnerships for the Convention Center, the Los Angeles Zoo and city golf courses.

At the end, the survey totals up what the individual recommendations would cost and their impact on the overall budget. It is available at http://la.budgetchallenge.org.


Modernization of Los Angeles International Airport has haunted the last three mayors and it doesn't appear to be going away any time soon.

Settling a lawsuit involving the plans was one of Villaraigosa's first successes when he took office in 2005, allowing the plans - then estimated at $4 billion - to proceed.

As work on the Tom Bradley International Terminal is entering its final stage, the ongoing controversy over moving the LAX north runway is coming soon to City Hall and again placing the mayor in a tight spot.

The Airport Commission, all appointees of the mayor, approved plans to move the runway by 260 feet, but it still needs approvals from the city Planning Commission, the City Council and county officials before it can occur.

Villaraigosa will not say what he wants until the process is over and the matter sent to him.

"The mayor understands the need for a safe and efficient airport and he is weighing all the options," spokesman Peter Sanders said.

Residents around the airport enlisted the support of Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who believes a less disruptive approach is needed to help preserve the quality of life of neighbors.


The lawsuits against rating agency Standard and Poor's and the accusations that it rigged its ratings of risky subprime mortgage investments is a case of "don't get mad, get even."

With lawsuits from both the federal and state Departments of Justice, the city of Los Angeles doesn't want to be left out of any money that might be on the table.

Councilman Eric Garcetti, who is running for mayor, introduced a proposal last week asking the city to look at whether it can file its own action against the firm - which also was among the first to downgrade the city's credit rating during the height of the recession.

Garcetti's motion asks the City Attorney's Office to determine if the city can file a claim against Standard and Poor's for "alleged fraud that led to the current financial crisis which consequently reduced city revenues, increased budget pressures, and hurt L.A. families."

""These manipulations have real consequences on the streets of Los Angeles and I want to make sure Standard and Poor's is held accountable," Garcetti said.

"Analysis created by Standard and Poor's to benefit their clients has had crushing affect on Los Angeles, causing revenue shortfalls, a downgrade of our own bond ratings, and exacerbating the shortage of affordable housing."

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants you to play the city budget game
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is asking for public help as he prepares his final budget

By: Rick Orlov
Company Name: Daily News
Office 213-978-0390
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