With the city listing precariously on rough financial waters, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is cruising rudderless with plans by the Port of Los Angeles to refurbish its VIP yacht, the Angelena II.
According to CBS2, the mayor said, “It’s not a yacht. It’s a boat.”
That’s like saying it’s not a tax, but a fee.
It was reported that thousands of people have been on board just in the last two years with as many as 48 at one time. The mayor claims the boat allows potential port users to tour the facilities. That explains why groups ranging in diversity from the Morongo Indian Tribe to the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council have been treated to cruises.
Maybe the Morongo Indians plan to construct a casino cruise boat. Perhaps Silver Lake Neighborhood Council was anticipating being reassigned to a council district in the harbor area.
It is difficult to imagine that many of the 4,000 who cruised on the Angelena last year were possible port clients.
Given annual operating costs of at least $300,000 per year, not to mention occasional overhauls such as the $689,000 for an engine replacement, would it make more sense to charter a sightseeing boat out of Ports O Call village? It could even be a dinner or luncheon cruise.
One immediate savings the city can realize is to let go of the two captains who draw $147,000 in pay and have Lt. Eric Garcetti, USNR, serve as the skipper.
Of course, if Mr. Garcetti’s ship handling skills are comparable to his performance as City Council President, Los Angeles will have its version of Captain Francesco Schettino in no time.
2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Let’s commemorate it by selling the Angelena, preferably with the mayor thrown in.
Even sinking it might be more cost-effective.