No catchy theme memorialized by Bobby Darin to this farce of a play.
While The Threepenny Opera featured characters who were corrupt or depraved, the Six Dollar Opera is an inflation-adjusted contemporary version featuring incompetent bureaucrats at Los Angeles City Hall.
The story began on March 20th. My wife and I attended a presentation by Food and Water Watch about the tunnels proposed to transport the California Delta water to Los Angeles. This plan could cost over $23 billion and adversely impact our already rising water bills here in Los Angeles.
To say the least, it is pertinent to the city and, therefore, the neighborhood councils.
As board members of Neighborhood Council Valley Village, we decided it would be worthwhile to attend. The venue was at CSUN and was free……except for the parking.
We did not realize until we arrived that parking would cost $6.00. We charged it on our personal credit card.
As Treasurer, I submitted an approved demand warrant to DONE for reimbursement. The expenditure was also reported to the entire board as part of my monthly public financial presentation. The report was unanimously approved.
A slam dunk to get reimbursed for $6? Think again.
We supplied the receipt and information about the presentation. We learned some weeks later that a redacted copy of our credit card statement would be required.
Then weeks went by. Nothing.
Finally, in early May, I received a voice mail that it was going to be rejected, but that message was rescinded within a day. It would be paid soon.
My wife and I traveled to New Orleans for a few days soon after that news. While in the Big Easy I received a call from a heretofore unknown person at DONE that the reimbursement was going to be rejected. Feeling frustrated, I asked questions as to why such a reasonable request would be rejected.
The DONE caller said the decision was based on a “motion.”
I wasn’t sure if anyone at City Hall had ever seen me dance and didn’t like my moves, so I asked just what did that mean.
She repeated, “It’s a motion!”
I realized I was up against an alien being from Remulac and asked her to elaborate.
According to her, the city passed a motion a couple of years ago that parking fees were unreimbursable.
I asked what employees did when they were on business and had to pay parking. She claimed that all parking fees had to be pre-approved.
So, I asked, if an employee was on business and had to pay an unexpected parking fee, he or she was out of luck? She could not answer that and was not even willing to look into it.
It wasn’t the six dollars – for that matter, I won $6.25 at the casino slots that night, so my net worth actually increased by a whole quarter! However, $6 could be meaningful to someone else.
It was just another example of the lack of respect the city has for its volunteers in the NC system. I was irritated by that to say the least.
I asked DONE GM Gracye Liu whether such a reimbursement could be formally approved by the board after the fact (keep in mind, it was part of the financial report they approved). Her reply was shocking – she would have to check with the City Attorney.
No wonder DONE cannot manage.