Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Will Angelenos soon be trimming city trees? Budget cuts could bring big changes

The Los Angeles City Council could vote this week on whether to proceed with the elimination of 1,000 positions to address this year’s $208-million deficit and the city’s dwindling reserve fund.

But the city's top budget analyst, Miguel Santana, is also urging council members to focus on even more bracing financial challenges in the years ahead. By the 2013 fiscal year, the city could face a $952-million shortfall.

Santana accompanied his midyear financial status report last week with a “three-year plan to fiscal sustainability” to address the city’s structural deficit. The proposed changes would restructure a number of city departments and could significantly pare back the services handled by the city, which is already scrambling to patch holes left by the early-retirement program offered last fall to 2,400 workers.

Santana urged city officials to immediately begin seeking private operators for the convention center, municipal golf courses, city parking garages and the zoo. Other proposals, which would require the council’s approval, could shift responsibilities from city workers to private firms.

For example, a proposed pilot program in the parks department would contract out 20% of its landscaping duties. The General Services Department, which may lose 15% of its mechanics this year to early retirement, may have to outsource maintenance work on the city’s fleet of vehicles.

And L.A. residents could soon see some unpleasant changes. Santana’s three-year plan notes the city will need to rethink its street sweeping routes, which cover 13,000 curb miles, after 15% of its sweeper operators retire. 

Even tree trimming may no longer be a service that Angelenos can count on. Because of prior budget cuts, very few of the city’s palm trees will be trimmed this year, according to the report. In the future, the city’s top budget analyst is asking City Council members to consider reducing the costs of street tree trimming “to the bare minimum” and returning “responsibility for street tree maintenance to the abutting property owner,” as was the case before a change to city law in 1931.

Members of the City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee will discuss the proposals at their Monday afternoon meeting.

-- Maeve Reston at Los Angeles City Hall

More breaking news in L.A. Now:

Man claiming to be brother of former Mexican president arrested in financial scams

State Supreme Court: Sex offenders may challenge 'Jessica's Law' residency rules

Federal agents find 14 suspected illegal immigrants in Reseda 'drop house'

Son of alleged serial killer is suspected in Melrose Avenue stun-gun attack

Orange County fishermen angle for unusual catch: Giant squid

Comments () | Archives (28)

Regarding tree trimming, I would rather be responsible for it (and get it done) rather than wait for it to occur according to the city's inexplicable timetable.

Yea, we manage a budget like the feds do. I work for the city and they do some odd things. While giving away money to early retirement (irresponsible) they also approved raises for DWP. Interesting, and soooooo typical. I keep saying this is a taxpayer funded BUSINESS. Now start running it like a business, tighten the belt and stop fooling around. I would make more concessions if it was in the interest of the workers and the city. Instead we draft Early Retirement and help the senior Union members retire with extra perks :(

The link to this says "buget"

privatizing just means more people with our medical insurance.

If the number of mechanics is reduced 15% will the city reduce their huge fleet of expensive cars 15%?

But what does this have to do with the main page link, which stated ..."Buget cuts could bring big changes to Los Angeles"... I'm in favor of cutting the bugets. We have too many bugets and they are getting too tall.

so why is DWP still pushing for super-expensive, remote and destructive Big Solar power plants instead of LOANING us the money (free to them, cheap to us) so that WE can install solar panels and efficiency upgrades, and then BUYING clean power from us for a fair price?

More jobs, stimulates the economy, decentralizes stabilizes and democratizes the grid, hits our RPS fast and for FREE!!!

Expand net metering (no caps on system sizes or number of systems), dedicate the $500 million you were gonna waste on Green Path North to AB 811 loans for US, and implement a feed in tariff for 50 cents kWh for all power that we produce and do not use.

Everybody wins, it costs the city and ratepayers NOTHING to convert to clean power, we don't ruin more of the wilderness (including Owens Valley and Joshua Tree), and we set an example (based on successful models in over 50 countries already!) for the rest of America.

Top-down, oppressive monopoly power and water infrastructure is so 19th century!

I'll cut the tree down before I pay tto keep it up.

Are all the currently unfilled positions being closed? Any position that's been unfilled for 6mos is probably one that we haven't missed and don't need anymore.

I agree with Doug at 9:04 that we need to be careful about privatizing. If it just means lower wages and no benefits, then that will place a greater burden on city, county and state public services.

Maybe the city could save a few jobs if city employees didnt have fancy cars or cars period that they take home 7 days a week. That goes for police & fire dept. employees included!

I'm all for putting the responsibility of Tree Trimming on the property owners. Most people I know would rather do it themselves anyway. The city usually trims them too often, or not nearly enough. And if the tree doesn't need to be trimmed, the property owner should be allowed to let it be. Don't impose a mandate that says they have to trim them, which is more than likely going to happen. Also, is it really necessary to sweep the street every single week. I can see maybe sweeping once a month or so, but come on, it gets a little ridiculous to ban parking on one side of the street every week, oh wait, I forgot, that's so they can write people parking tickets which in turn brings in tons of money. Doh!

If residents and businesses swept up the streets in front of their homes and businesses, we could cut the expensive street sweeping services.

I really think it's time for the community to take care of their community. City and County money should be reserved for services such as Fire Dept, Police, Ambulance, and Animal control.

While outside operators may be American, their employees are often not. Outsourcing means giving jobs to subcontractors who hire illegals. It gives away American jobs and benefits.

Tree trimming?? No worries, they ruined a tree in front of my house that was already damaged from a storm by cutting it's top off when it needed NO trimming.. It is basically a totem pole with a couple leaves. They ruined it.

Street cleaning services run 35mph down the road and WISH they were cleaning the street.

Feral cats roam the neighborhood and you have to rent a trap for like $25 bucks. I say a sawed off shotgun would work better.

There's more but I don't have the time to type it.

Privatizing does not mean that people recieve the City's health insurance or other City employee benefits. It just means private vendors provide the services via contract and the City will layoff unneeded City employees. Often times they are rehired by the private vendor for less pay and lower benefits because they have a working knowledge of City routes and service requirements.

Departments are being asked to do more with less, staff & funding and also break union agreements and start contracting out of union labor.
Other cities and counties tried this tactic already and it lead to failure due to contractor waiting for city to lay-off its workers then jack up costs with in 2 to 3 years knowing city released its specific area of work force. The elected of this Corrupt Political Machine running the city with its Patron of a Mayor does not give a S*#T about what happens after they Term Out of office only the quick fix of political convenience.
Wise up Angelinos and re-call these leaders of this Corrupt Political Machine.

Time for SF Valley to crank up another secession initiative.

Here's a way to help the budget...

STOP with the financial backing of these "special event's" ...for example..Fiesta Broadway.

If a group wants to have a celebration/special event..let THEM come up with the funds that will cover ALL costs..that includes the city cleanup and the extra police that will be needed to maintain order!

How this city can give the DWP raises and we the taxpayers are getting less and less for our money is outlandish!!

And the business of giving retired employees raises when their working counterparts get one is WRONG. Non city employees get this should why should we pay for them to get it!

If the city impose a city sales tax on the Maraijuana Dispensaries, it would mean a couple of millons a year. I don't understand why the city voted to only tax the dispensaries for the cost it would take to regulate them. Can the city impose a City Sales Tax?

The problem is the union, they are ripping the tax paying citizens off. Union employees are over paid, have zero responsibility to there respective employer, are unproductive and inefficient compared to the private sector.

No elected official will dare say this, they simply can't win an election if they did, the unionization of America is destroying it.

The problem is the union, they are ripping the tax paying citizens off. Union employees are over paid, have zero responsibility to there respective employer, are unproductive and inefficient compared to the private sector.

No elected official will dare say this, they simply can't win an election if they did, the unionization of America is destroying it.

I agree with RL....

Pensions, Pensions, Pensions.

Take a look at the actual cost of pensions that are granted to police and fire employees. Reckless. Excessive. Lavish. Ridiculous. Offensive. These are all words that could be used to describe the pension benefits our lawmakers have agreed to pay the police and fire employees.

Who else but a policeman or fireman can retire at 50 with a six figure pension? "ooh, the job is dangerous," people say. Well, so is being a farmer, miner or marine, but their pensions pale in comparison. Its obvious that when hundreds of people apply for every fire department job opening that someone is being paid too much.


Some cities, like Glendale, are legally required to have city trees cut at the city's expense. The liability rests with the city where ever power lines require periodic (annual) clearing of vegetation (trees)to maintain required clearances. This is accomplished by low-bid contractors who go to work with a chain saw. Trimming of large trees is expensive, but does not usually need to be done every year. (Every other year is normally adequate).


By 1796, the French Assignat (paper currency) was over printed by the French Assembly (Federal government) and caused hyperinflation and food riots in Paris, France.

What about Los Angeles in 2015 A.D.?

1 2 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: