Who woulda thunk that last year?
I cannot blame the mayor for pursuing pension reform, but why has he waited until recently to suggest even modest changes?
The first (and also one of the last) city budget days I attended was early in the mayor’s first term. He acknowledged the problems posed by the structural deficit created by the city’s inflexible compensation and benefit program, but that was it. He made no effort to deal with it until last year, and then only scratched the surface. Retirement and health benefits are still on the rise and swallowing more of the general fund.
Villaraigosa did not want to risk aggravating the public unions – it would have been devastating to his political opportunism.
Now that he is in the twilight of his mayoral tenure, why not take a chance and turn on his supporters? After all, a future cabinet post might be his if President Obama is reelected, but leaving Los Angeles on the road to bankruptcy without at least giving the appearance of doing something to prevent it would tarnish his image on Capitol Hill. And it’s image and appearance that defines the mayor; not substance.
I actually feel a little sorry for the civilian union employees of the city. A little sorry; not entirely sorry. They trusted Villaraigosa and had promise after promise broken. Villaraigosa was to the unions what Bernie Madoff was to his investors. He offered unsustainable deals and the employees fell for them.
It’s been said time and again – when a deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
It amounts to exponential naivety on the part of the unions. The members should also be asking whether their leaders were complicit.
I do have to credit the unions with their clever public relations campaign – “Villariagosa and Walker separated at birth.”
Maybe the DNC and Obama will get the message that their chosen gavel swinger in Charlotte is a Charlotte-tan.
The unions can do the nation a service if they knock the stage right out from under ‘the mayor who broke LA.”