Although the April 20 deadline looms for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to present his proposed 2012-13 budget for Los Angeles to the City Council, community representatives who assist the mayor in this vital exercise have yet to receive any public comments in response to a “budget solutions” document that was unveiled March 29.
That was the message communicated to the at its monthly board meeting Tuesday night by Heinrich Keifer, one of the 28 Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates for L.A.'s 95 neighborhood councils. Keifer represents both Eagle Rock and Highland Park in budget negotiations with the mayor and has been a budget advocate for the past three years.
“It’s amazing,” he said, waving a copy of the so-called white paper on budget solutions as ERNC board members looked on. “This has yet to generate even one comment from the public.”
Titled “A Culture of Excellence: Recommendations for a Sustainable Future,” the 33-page document is the result of more than 15 meetings with City departments, bureaus and labor unions as well as numerous Budget Advocate Committee discussions aimed at developing what Keifer calls “a united voice.”
The document offers a 21-point “summary of recommendations” designed to bridge a $220-million gap in the City’s budget that has already been reduced from a high of $250 million. (See attached PDF for document details. And click here to read our March 21 story about L.A.'s cost-cutting challenges.)
Among the Budget Advocates' proposals:
• Declare a fiscal emergency that allows the mayor to reduce City salaries for one year.
• Begin pension plan reform by raising the retirement age from 55 years to 65 or 67 years.
• Fund a comprehensive information technology system that improves City services and enhances government interaction with the public.
Tuesday night’s event was held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at , which replaces the , as the new and permanent venue for future ERNC board meetings. (The move enables the ERNC to save the $50-per-hour rental fee, plus $75 cleaning fee, that the Center for the Arts charges for community meetings. As an extension of the City Council, the ERNC is entitled to use Eagle Rock City Hall for meetings free of charge.)
Do you wish to comment on the Budget Solutions document or propose your own solutions? If so, contact Heinrich Keifer at HKeifer101@sbcglobal.net.